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an in depth look at enzymes and why they are so important for good health!
and Immune Health
Lisa Helffrich, RD
human body is host to as many as 1,000 different species of bacteria.
Some are considered friendly or neutral while others pose a potential
threat to our health. The goal is to keep the upper hand and maintain
higher numbers of the beneficial bacteria compared to pathogenic ones.
Under ideal circumstances this goal is easily obtained. However, the beneficial
bacteria naturally present in the healthy GI tract are often depleted
by poor diet choices, environmental lifestyle stressors and the indiscriminate
use of antibiotics.
of the most common factors present in our everyday lives that can negatively
impact the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut are:
such as antibiotics, steroids, birth control pills and hormone replacement
Poor dietary choices such as processed foods, lack
of fresh foods/fiber, antibiotics found in animal products, artificial
sugar and alcohol
Stress – mental, physical and emotional
the effects of these factors have been become more evident over the past
10 years, the use of supplemental probiotics has grown
in popularity. This is because they help restore the bacteria that often
become depleted by antibiotic use or imbalanced by poor diet and lifestyle
beneficial bacteria are proven to be non-pathogenic and have a long history
of safety for human consumption. There is a growing body of research revealing
that probiotics support the healthy balance of native
bacteria, benefiting digestion, elimination and immune function.1,2
Direct Role of Probiotics on Immunity
and Bifidobacterium are two main species currently used for supplemental
probiotics. They naturally possess properties that provide
immune support to the host. First, they produce organic acids like lactic
acid and acetic acid creating an environment in the large intestines that
inhibits the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Second, they produce anti-microbial
substances such as hydrogen peroxide and bacteriocins that serve as protection
against infections. Additionally, these bacteria produce mucin, a gel-like
substance that provides a barrier for the mucosal lining keeping unwanted
molecules from entering the body. Lastly, there is competition for binding
sites along the intestinal wall among the bacteria.
other words, by supplementing with probiotics you are
keeping the numbers of friendly bacteria skewed in your favor. If the
binding sites are all occupied by beneficial bacteria, the pathogenic
ones have no place to reside or adhere to and they will move through the
GI tract posing no threat to the host.
many types of sports, the offense and defense have equal numbers of players
and the strongest or smartest wins. Well, in this case you have the ability
to add numbers to your offensive and defensive lines by supplementing
with probiotics and ensuring a win with optimal digestive
and immune health.*
Indirect Role of Probiotics on Immunity
we take care of digestive and immune health locally in the gut, the result
is healthy immunity throughout the body. It is a known fact that better
nutrition translates into a healthy immune system.
support digestion and delivery of nutrients in several ways. They produce
enzymes that help complete the digestion of food and they produce key
vitamins such as folate and vitamin K. When they support the digestion
of food, this lessens the chance for allergic reactions and lessens the
overall demand on the immune system.
Probiotics also strengthen the mucosal barrier allowing
only nutrients to enter the blood stream. This reduces the incidence of
large food molecules escaping the intestines and triggering an immune
response resulting in food allergies or inflammation. Lastly, because
the probiotics produce acids they support a healthier
gut with fewer pathogens. With fewer pathogens there is less opportunity
for the production of harmful nitrites and ammonia. This all lessens the
burden on your immune system and allows it to focus on more important
bottom line – the gut should have a strong barrier that supplies
nutrients to strengthen the immune system, not leaking substances that
burden the immune system. Based on over thirty years of clinical experience
and the current research findings, one of the most effective ways to support
GI health is through regular probiotic supplementation.
Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST). “Probiotics:
Their Potential to Impact Human Health.” Issue Paper Number 36,
“About Probiotics.” USprobiotics.org.
2011 Lisa Helffrich, RD
Helffrich, RD, is the Director of Education for Transformation Enzyme
Company and has been with them since 1996. She holds a B.S. in Health
Science from the University of Texas.