Probiotic preparations are usually defined as: “Live microorganisms, indigenous to the human intestinal tract, which when consumed inadequate improve the intestinal microbial balance and positively affect the functioning of the human intestinal tract and general health”
Prebiotics are dietary supplements containing non-digestible food components that selectively stimulate the growth and activity of probiotics microorganisms.
Symbiotics constitute a combination of probiotics and prebiotics and are used as functional food ingredients or supplements.
There are two major groups of probiotic microorganisms, ocurring naturally in the intestines of a healthy person, generally acknowledges as being able to exert beneficial health effects, namely Lactobacillus (microaerophilic lactic acid bacteria), resides predominantly in the small intestine and Bifidobacterium (strictly anaerobic), resides in the large intestine.
Bioflora Doctors Table
Major health benefits of probiotic microorganisms:
- Replenishment and maintenance of the beneficial intestinal flora
- Prevention and treatment of bacterial and viral diarrhoea
- Prevention and treatment of of intestinal disorders
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
- Spastic colon
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Stimulation of the the immune system
- Prevention and treatment of Candida albicans overgrowth
- Enhancement of mineral absorption
- Alleviation of lactose intolerance symptoms.
Factors affecting the disappearance of naturally-occurring probiotic microorganisms
Numerous factors can affect the composition of the intestinal microflora. Among the factors responsible for the depletion of beneficial bacteria are stress, frequent use of antibiotics, incorrect diet, diarrhoea, impaired peristalsis compromised immune system and the process of ageing. If the decrease in the numbers of the bacterial bacteria is large enough, the balance in the intestines is disturbed and pathogenic microflora may become dominant.
Required properties of probiotic products:
- Should not possess virulence characteristics
- Should not be capable of transferring antibiotic/drug resistance to pathogens
- Should not become passively (through the process of lysis) a source of antibiotic resistance.
Microorganisms contained in probiotic products:
- Should be of human origin
- Should colonize the small and large intestines
- Should be acid and bile resistant
- Should have antimicrobial properties (to eliminate pathogens)
- Should modulate the immune system