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Comphensive Guide to Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils


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Meschino Health Comprehensive Guide to Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils
Accessory Nutrients and Essential Oils
Probiotics
General Features
Probiotics is a term used to describe supplementation with the friendly bacteria of the large intestine; the most
important of which are lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacteria. The official definition of the term probiotic (as
defined by Havenaar and Huis In’t Veld) is described as “microorganisms in sufficient numbers, which alter the
microflora (by implantation or colonization) in a compartment of the host and by that exert beneficial health effects in
this host.”
The health effects attributed to the use of Probiotics are numerous. Well documented effects include lower frequency
and duration of diarrhea associated with antibiotics, rotavirus infection, chemotherapy, and to a lesser degree
traveler’s diarrhea; stimulation of humoral and cellular immunity; and decrease in unfavourable metabolites in the
bowel that are linked to colon cancer development (ammonium and procarcinogenic enzymes). Other health benefits
are also related to the use of Probiotics as reviewed below.1,2
It has been shown that lactobacilli inhibit the growth of less desirable organisms in the large intestine through
competition for nutrients, alteration of pH and oxygen tension to levels less favourable to pathogens (disease-causing
organisms), prevention of attachment of pathogens by physically covering attachment sites, and production of limiting
factors such as antimicrobial factors.1,3,4
The gut microflora (normal bacterial population) is an important constituent in the intestine’s defense barrier, as
demonstrated by increased antigen transport across the gut mucosa in the absence of an intestinal microflora. The
gut microflora also elicits specific immune responses at a local and systemic level. A healthy composition of microflora
has also been shown to tone-down hypersensitivity reactions involving food allergies, infant atopic dermatitis,
autoimmune conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis), and inflammatory bowel conditions.
In general, evidence exists to show that probiotic supplementation reduces the entry of pathogens and antigens from
reaching the bloodstream. Supplementation with probiotics tends to stimulate and enhance systemic immune function
in healthy individuals, while toning-down (down-regulating) the exaggerated immune reactions that contribute to food
allergies and inteolerance, atopic dermatitis (eczema), certain autoimmune diseases and inflammatory bowel
conditions such as Chrohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, as noted above.
In one placebo-controlled trial, patients with pouchitis (inflammation of the ileal pouch-anal anastamosis after
colectomy) had fewer episodes of clinical relapse when treated with Probiotics, and had clinical outcomes as good as
those treated with the anti-inflammatory agent mesalamine.
Probiotic supplementation has also been shown to reduce the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines (particularly,
tumor necrosis factor alpha) from white blood cells that promote inflammatory responses in conditions such as atopic
dermatitis. At the same time, Probiotics stimulate the release of interferon gamma which has positive effects on the
gut, preventing inflammation, and providing systemic benefits as well.5,6
One researcher states “these data point to the conclusion that Probiotics can be used as innovative tools for treating
dysfunction of the gut mucosal barrier, including acute gastroenteritis, food allergy, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Many of the probiotic effects are mediated via immune regulation, in particular by control of the balance of pro-
inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines.5
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