June 26, 2020 17 min read

Your best line of defense against the onslaught of pathogens you face in your daily life is a robust immune system, and it all starts in your gut. 

If you’re looking for a quick and effective way to improve your gut health and fortify your immune system, there may be no more efficient way than with a daily probiotic.

By helping to balance intestinal microflora, PRO+ FLORA plays an important role in regulating intestinal function and digestion to fortify your immune system against invaders.

 

Here's a list and explanation of the powerful gut-friendly bacteria inside:

Lactobacillus acidophilus: Lactobacillus acidophilus is a type of bacteria found in your intestines. It's a member of the Lactobacillus genus of bacteria, and it plays an important role in human health. Its name gives an indication of what it produces, which is lactic acid. It does this by producing an enzyme called lactase. Lactase breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk, into lactic acid.

Lactobacilli, particularly L. acidophilus, are often used as probiotics. L. acidophilus has been extensively studied as a probiotic, and evidence has shown that it may provide a number of health benefits as depicted below:

1. Reduce Cholesterol: High cholesterol levels may increase the risk of heart disease. This is especially true for "bad" LDL cholesterol. Research suggests that certain probiotics can help reduce cholesterol levels and that L. acidophilus may be more effective than other types of probiotics. One study found that taking L. acidophilus and another probiotic for six weeks significantly lowered total and LDL cholesterol.

2. May prevent and reduce diarrhea: Diarrhea affects people for a number of reasons, including bacterial infections. It can be dangerous if it lasts a long time, as it results in fluid loss and, in some cases, dehydration. A number of studies have shown that probiotics like L. acidophilus may help prevent and reduce diarrhea that's associated with various diseases

3. It Can Improve Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects up to one in five people in certain countries. Its symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, and unusual bowel movements. In a study in 60 people with functional bowel disorders including IBS, taking a combination of L. acidophilus and another probiotic for one to two months improved bloating.

 

Fig: Change in bloating severity from baseline to 4 weeks and from baseline to 8 weeks of intervention. Ref: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21436726/


4. It May Promote Weight Loss: The bacteria in your intestines help control food digestion and a number of other bodily processes. Therefore, they influence your weight. There is some evidence that probiotics may help you lose weight, especially when multiple species are consumed together. 

5. It May Help Prevent and Reduce Cold and Flu Symptoms: Healthy bacteria like L. acidophilus can boost the immune system and thus help reduce the risk of viral infections. In fact, some studies have suggested that probiotics may prevent and improve symptoms of the common cold.

6. It May Help Prevent and Reduce Allergy Symptoms: Fortunately, some evidence suggests that certain probiotics can reduce the symptoms of some allergies. One study showed that consuming a fermented milk drink containing L. acidophilus improved symptoms of pollen allergy. A larger study in 47 children found similar results. It showed that taking a combination of L. acidophilus and another probiotic reduced runny nose, nasal blocking and other symptoms of pollen allergy. Interestingly, the probiotics reduced the amount of an antibody called immunoglobulin A; which is involved in these allergic reactions, in the intestines.

7. It's Good for Your Gut Health: Your gut is lined with trillions of bacteria that play an important role in your health. Generally, lactobacilli are very good for gut health. They produce lactic acid, which may prevent harmful bacteria from colonizing the intestines. They also ensure the lining of the intestines stays intact. L. acidophilus can increase the amounts of other healthy bacteria in the gut, including other lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. It can also increase levels of short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, which promote gut health.

 

Fig: Average ammonium ion production (ppm) in SHIME® run, during basal, treatment and washout period. Ref: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23758634/

 

References:

 

Lactobacillus fermentum: Lactobacillus fermentum is a Gram-positive lactic acid bacterium, commonly found in fermenting animal and plant material. It is also commonly found as a component of the human microbiota. L. fermentum exhibits significant antioxidant properties. The following evidence-based research has shown benefits of L. Fermentum.

Immunity

L. fermentum reduced the duration and severity of respiratory illness in highly trained distance runners. It also reduced the severity of gastrointestinal and respiratory illness symptoms in male but not female cyclists. L. fermentum reduced gastrointestinal and upper respiratory tract infections in infants and it was shown to alleviate pain and reduces the load of Staphylococcus in the breastmilk of women suffering from painful breastfeeding.

Inflammation:

Both live and dead L. fermentum have been demonstrated to attenuate the inflammatory process and diminish inflammatory mediators in laboratory experiments. For instance; L. fermentum can reduce inflammation of the upper small intestine in mice and it’s been demonstrated to ameliorate the inflammatory response in colitis rats.

Gut Health:

L. fermentum increases Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Eubacterium levels in mice. L. fermentum normalizes the composition of gut microbiota and alleviates ampicillin-induced inflammation in the colon in mice. In addition; it has also been show to alleviate constipation and attenuate colitis and accelerate colitis recovery in mice and rats

References:

 

Lactobacillus rhamnosus:One of the most well-studied friendly bacteria is Lactobacillus rhamnosus (L. rhamnosus), which is available as a dietary supplement and added to a variety of foods, such as dairy products. L. rhamnosus is a type of bacteria found in your intestines. It belongs to the genus Lactobacillus, a type of bacteria that produce the enzyme lactase. This enzyme breaks down the sugar lactose — which is found in dairy — into lactic acid. Bacteria from this genus, such as L. rhamnosus, are considered probiotic. Hundreds of studies support the benefits of L. rhamnosus. Uniquely adapted to survive in acidic and basic conditions within your body, this bacterium can also adhere to and colonize your intestinal walls. Such characteristics give L. rhamnosus a better chance of survival — so it may offer longer-term benefits.

 

Fig: (a) Survival of stationary-phase L. rhamnosus GG in simulated gastric juice, pH 2.0, containing glucose (▪), glucose and DCCD (□), no glucose (♦), or no glucose and DCCD (). (b) Survival of stationary-phase parent (w/t) and neomycin-resistant L. rhamnosus GG (m5, m8, m14, and m18) cultures in simulated gastric juice containing glucose, pH 2.0, following 45 min of exposure (bars) and ATPase activity of permeabilized cells (). The data are the means of triplicate experiments, and the error bars indicate standard deviations. Ref: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15933002/

References:

Lactobacillus gasseri: Lactobacillus gasseri is a lactic acid bacteria that is being investigated for various potential health benefits because of its antimicrobial activity, bacteriocin production, and purported modulation of the innate and adaptive immune systems. L. gasseri significantly decreased BMI, abdominal visceral fat, waist and hip circumferences, and body fat mass in 210 healthy Japanese adults, with an 8.5% decline in abdominal fat area over twelve weeks. However, the authors warned that constant consumption of this probiotic may be required to maintain this effect. Despite there being no change in behavior or diet, administration of L. gasseri modestly reduced weight and waist and hip circumference in obese and overweight adults. 

References:

 

Lactobacillus plantarum: Lactobacillus plantarum is a widespread species of lactic acid bacteria. It is commonly found in many fermented plant products such as sauerkraut, pickles, brined olives, and Korean kimchi. L. plantarum is an antioxidant with anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antiobesity and antidiabetic properties. Some key research-based benefits of L. plantarum are:

Wound healing: In a small clinical study of 34 people with leg ulcers, topical application of L. plantarum reduced infected chronic venous ulcer wound bacterial load, neutrophils, apoptotic and necrotic cells, and induced wound healing in both diabetic and non-diabetic patients.

Immunity: In a clinical study of 171 adults, L. plantarum improved immune activity and decreased stress markers. Even heat-killed L. plantarum activated innate and acquired immunity in humans. L. plantarum alos enhanced immunity in the small intestine of immunosuppressed mice.

Protection against viruses: In mice infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), oral administration of L. plantarum significantly delayed the development of skin lesions in the early phase of infection and reduced the amount of virus in the brain. Also in mice, L. plantarum isolated from the fermented Korean cabbage conferred 100% protection against lethal infection with influenza A viruses, prevented significant weight loss and lowered lung viral loads. 

 

Fig: Gene expressions of IFN-γ, IL-12p40, IL-12 receptor β2, IL-4, and IL-10 in Peyer's patches of HSV-1-infected mice (A) and mock-infected mice (B) after administration of strain 06CC2 (closed columns) or saline (open columns). Five mice were used in each group. The amounts of mRNA expressed by each gene were measured by real-time RT-PCR and normalized to the amounts of mouse β-actin mRNA. The levels of gene expression were expressed as percentages of the control group. *P < 0.05 versus control (saline) by Student's t-test. Bars indicate standard deviations of means. Ref: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27517518/

References:

 

Lactobacillus casei: Lactobacillus casei is a Gram-positive, nonpathogenic lactic acid bacterium. It is found in fermented dairy products (e.g. cheese), plant materials (e.g. wine, pickles) and in the reproductive and gastrointestinal tracts of humans and animals As a nutritional supplement, Lactobacillus casei has been shown to improve intestinal microbial balance, arthritis, type 2 diabetes and to have potential anti-cancer properties

Antioxidant Activity: L. casei combined with prebiotic inulin improved human plasma antioxidant capacity. Treatment with L. casei reduced oxidative stress caused by aflatoxin and induced a significant improvement in all the biochemical and histological liver parameters in rats.

 

Fig: Effect of L. casei (L1) and L. reuteri (L2) on body weight of rats fed AFs-contaminated diet Column with different letters are significantly different (P ≤ 0.05). Ref: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21658402/

 

Gut Health - Intestinal Microbiota

L. casei consumption altered the composition and diversity of human intestinal microbiota. There is a positive correlation between L. casei and Prevotella, Lactobacillus, Faecalibacterium, Propionibacterium, Bifidobacterium and some Bacteroidaceae and Lachnospiraceae, and a negative correlation with the presence of Clostridium, Phascolarctobacterium, Serratia, Enterococcus, Shigella, and Shewanella. 

L. casei suppressed potentially harmful Pseudomonas and Acinetobacter in volunteers

Fermented milk containing L. casei preserved the diversity of the gut microbiota, relieved abdominal dysfunction, and prevented an increase in cortisol levels in healthy medical students exposed to academic stress.

References:

 

Lactobacillus paracasei:Lactobacillus paracasei is a gram-positive lactic acid bacterium, commonly used in dairy products and probiotics. Both L. paracasei and its fermented products are effective immunomodulators, they alleviate allergies, prevent gastric mucosal lesions and inhibit fat tissue accumulation

Below are three key areas with evidence-based benefits of L. parcasei:

Allergies

A significant reduction of nasal symptoms and improved quality of life were achieved in patients with Japanese cedar pollinosis, who received L. paracasei when pollen scattering was low. However, the effects were limited during the peak period. L. paracasei has allergy reducing effects in mice, by balancing the Th1/Th2 responses [3].

L. paracasei suppresses airway inflammation, and down-regulates allergen-specific immune responses. In addition; L. paracasei administration to mothers during gestation/lactation protects against airway inflammation in offspring in mice.

Allergic Rhinitis

At least five clinical studies with L. paracasei demonstrated clinically significant improvements in allergic rhinitis.

Subjects with a medical history of allergic rhinitis to grass pollen that received L. paracasei -fermented milk had lower nasal congestion and nasal itching.

In children with perennial allergic rhinitis, L. paracasei improved symptoms of sneezing, itchy nose, and swollen eyes.

L. paracasei improves the quality of life of subjects with persistent allergic rhinitis who are being treated with an oral H1-antihistamine. In this study, nasal symptoms had not changed, but ocular symptoms had consistently improved.

Heat-killed L. paracasei can effectively improve the overall quality of life for patients with allergic rhinitis induced by house dust mite in human subjects.

Skin Health

Heat-killed L. paracasei improved atopic dermatitis (AD) in adult patients.

According to some researchers, L. paracasei may help reinforce skin barrier function, inhibit water loss, decrease skin sensitivity and modulate the skin immune system leading to the preservation of skin homeostasis.

L. paracasei decreased skin sensitivity and increases barrier function recovery (water retention) in women.

Gut Health

Intestinal Microflora

L. paracasei increased the number of beneficial Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli in human subjects. Oral intake of L. paracasei by mice increased intestinal Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, and decreased the content of Clostridium perfringens.

L. paracasei further increased acetic acid and butyric acid, while it decreases ammonia.

IBS

L. paracasei supplementation prevented bowel symptom onset in patients on long-term proton pump inhibitors. L. paracasei normalized muscular activity and energy metabolism and elevates lipid breakdown in mice with irritable bowel syndrome.

Fig: Percentage of patients in parallel groups who developed bowel symptoms, at a significant level, at each checkpoint. Data analyzed by the Generalized Estimating Equation log-binomial model. p value refers to the time by treatment interaction for bloating, and to treatment only for flatulence. LP-F19, Lactobacillus paracasei F19; PBO, placebo. Ref: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25660822/

References:



Lactobacillus salivarius: Lactobacillus salivarius is one of the most prevalent species in human saliva. It produces organic acids, such as lactic acid and acetic acid, from carbohydrates, which can inhibit the growth of surrounding microorganisms. It also produces hydrogen peroxide and other antimicrobial substances. This bacterium is believed to stimulate the immune system, improve intestinal disease and promote well-being. 

Evidence shows it’s very beneficial for dental health. L. salivarius beneficially changed the bacterial population of gum plaque in 66 volunteers. L. salivarius increased resistance to caries risk factors in 64 healthy volunteers. Oral administration of L. salivarius improved bad breath, showed beneficial effects on bleeding on probing from the periodontal pocket, and inhibited the reproduction of “bad” bacteria.

References:

 

Bifidobacterium breve: Bifidobacterium breve is a beneficial bacterium that can be found in human breast milk and the gastrointestinal tracts of infant and adult humans. As an individual ages, the total population of B. breve within their gut decreases.

Below are some key areas with evidence-based research behind Bifidobacterium breve:

Skin Health

B. breve and galactooligosaccharides (GOS) increased skin hydration and clearness in two studies of a total of 141 healthy young adult and adult women. B. breve also prevented water loss, improved skin elasticity and hydration, and attenuated the damage induced by chronic UV irradiation (photoaging) in mice.

Allergies

B. breve reduced the risk of developing eczema and atopic sensitization in 117 infants at high risk of allergic disease. Administration of B. breve to 19 preterm infants triggered an anti-inflammatory response that may be of benefit in attenuating allergic reactions. Oral administration of B. breve suppresses the Th2 immune response and IgE production and modulates the systemic Th1/Th2 balance in allergic mice.

Gut Health

In a study of 30 low birth weight infants with no other deformities, chromosomal abnormalities, or intrauterine infections, early administration of B. breve promoted the colonization of Bifidobacteria and the formation of normal intestinal flora. B. breve also significantly decreased aspirated air volume and improved weight gain in 10 very low birth weight infants. B. breve inhibits coliforms in laboratory settings, suggesting that it could outcompete harmful gut flora.

References:

 

Bifidobacterium lactis: Bifidobacterium lactis is a gram-positive rod-shaped bacterium which can be found in the gut of most mammals, including humans. It is considered to be part of the healthy, beneficial gut flora. B. lactis was previously considered to be a separate species but was shown to be a subspecies of B. animalis (hence B. animalis ssp. lactis), and therefore it is addressed as such in this post. Note that most of the research mentioned below were carried out with this subspecies.

Let’s take a look at some research-based benefits of B. lactics below:

Gut Health – Diarrhea and Constipation: 

B. lactis milk formula administered to 50 children with acute diarrhea decreased the frequency, duration of diarrhea, and hospital stay. Treatment with B. animalis spp. lactis and inulin shortened the duration of acute diarrhea in 156 children. The benefits were most pronounced in cases of Rotavirus diarrhea.

Gut Health – IBS:

B. lactis shows beneficial effects on Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). B. lactis had a beneficial effect on discomfort, bloating and constipation in 274 constipation-predominant IBS patients. B animalis spp. lactis significantly improved objectively measured abdominal girth and gastrointestinal transit, as well as reduced symptomatology in 34 IBS patients.

Gut Health – H. pylori:

B. lactis and inulin significantly reduced treatment side effects and indirectly increased eradication rates by increasing patient compliance in 47 patients with symptomatic H. pylori infection. 

Infections:

B. lactis has been shown to be beneficial in fighting infections. B. lactis reduced days with cold/flu in 30 young healthy adults. 109 infants and children receiving B. animalis ssp. lactis experienced fewer respiratory tract infections. B. lactis protected mice against Salmonella infection and reduced infection severity.

Fig: Cumulative morbidity of Escherichia coli O157: H7 challenge infection in BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice. Data are expresses as the cumulative percentage of animals with abnormal appearance. Abnormal appearance was expressed as: fur ruffled, a loss of sheen to the coat; less alert of active, and less interested in the external environment, signs of hyperventilating when handled; hunched over and lethargic; non-reactive to stimulus; agitated or showing signs of diarrhea. Ref: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11388612/

References:

 

Bifidobacterium longum: Bifidobacterium longum is a Gram-positive, rod-shaped species of bacteria naturally present in the human GI tract. It’s subspecies B. longum subsp. infantis is one of the earliest bacteria to colonize the infant gut. B. longum is often added to food products as a probiotic with various health benefits. It has been shown to be effective for the following below:

Immunity:

B. longum ssp. infantis promoted the immune response in human volunteers. It was also shown to stimulate immune function in elderly, hospitalized patients who received an influence vaccine. B. longum ssp. infantis had strong immunomodulatory effect in blood drawn from elderly patients, compared with other well-known commercial strains. B. longum supplementation reduced the incidence of influenza and fever in 27 elderly subjects who received an influenza vaccine.

Celiac Disease:

B. longum ssp. infantis reduced gastrointestinal symptoms in untreated Celiac disease (CD) patients. B. longum also improved gut microbiota composition and immune parameters in children with newly diagnosed celiac disease. In addition; B. longum attenuated the production of inflammatory cytokines and the CD4+ T-cell mediated immune response and protects newborn rats against gliadin (gluten)-induced enteropathy.

Gut Health:

B. longum has been showed to have very favorable effects on the gut microbiota. Enterotoxigenic Bacteroides fragilis (ETBF) strains have been suggested to be associated with acute and persistent diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. B. longum significantly decreased ETBF in humans. In addition; controlled research demonstrated that B. longum modulated the intestinal environment and appeared to improve the general health care of elderly patients receiving enteral feeding.

Fig: Mean percentage (%) of change for scores of the 5 Gastrointestinal Syndrome Rate Scale syndromes in the placebo (A) and probiotic (B) arms. Ref: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23314670/

References:

 

Bifidobacterium bifidum: B. bifidum is a probiotic typically used to ameliorate digestive issues. B. bifidum may also ameliorate improve blood sugar control, reduce stress, and help combat infections when combined with a healthy diet. Bifidobacteria account for more than 80% of microorganisms within the intestine, being Bifidobacterium bifidum the second most prominent species found in breast-fed infants. During adulthood, the levels of Bifidobacteria decrease considerably but remain relatively stable (2-14%) until they start decreasing again in old age. Various diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and allergies have been associated with lower numbers of Bifidobacteria at various stages of life.

Let’s take a look at how it works. By increasing IgA, IgM, and IgG while decreasing IgE, B. bifidum may help both boost the immune system and reduce allergies. B. bifidum may also help with allergies by lowering the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-5 , balancing the levels of IFN-γ, and increasing the production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 and specific immune cell types (CD25 and Foxp3). In aging mice, B. bifidum stimulated the immune system by significantly increasing cytokines IL-2 and IFN-γ while decreasing IL-6 and TNF-α levels.

 

Fig: Effect of BBG9-1 Administration of Cytokine Productions by Splenocytes in Vitro Ref: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16079493/

References:

 

Bifidobacterium infatis:Bifidobacterium infantis (B. infantis) is a “friendly” strain of bacteria. It’s a type of lactic acid bacteria found in the same group as Lactobacillus. It’s naturally found in your oral cavity and gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It helps you maintain a healthy digestive tract.

As you age, the number of bacteria in your body typically declines. This can result from diet, stress, antibiotic use, health conditions, and other causes. Taking probiotics may help restore the bacteria in your body. Probiotics are live bacteria. They’re added to some foods, drugs, dietary supplements, and other products.

Some evidence suggests that taking B. infantis probiotics might help treat certain health conditions.

If you have certain health conditions, taking B. infantis probiotics might help reduce your symptoms. For example, a review article published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics suggests it might help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). If you have IBS, it may help reduce abdominal pain. It may also help reduce gas and bloating.

B. infantis probiotics may also be useful for treating some other conditions. A study reported in Gut Microbes linked B. infantis probiotics to lower levels of inflammation in patients with ulcerative colitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and psoriasis.

References:

 

 

Streptococcus thermophilus: S. thermophilus is a probiotic strain used in cheese and yogurt production. According to preliminary research, it can improve skin health, support immunity, alleviate GI symptoms, and more. Streptococcus thermophilus is a thermophilic probiotic bacterium traditionally and widely used as a starter in manufacturing dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.

At birth, S. thermophilus is among the first colonizers of the GI tract and may impact the maturation and homeostasis of the intestinal epithelium after birth. Along with other probiotic bacteria, it regulates the immune response and inflammation via a number of different cytokines. There isn’t a ton of research on S. thermophilus. Below is a summary of up-to-date animal studies, cell-based research, or low-quality clinical trials which should spark further investigation.

Skin Health: 

Ceramides play an essential role in the barrier and water-holding functions of healthy skin. A significant increase in skin ceramide levels was observed in 17 healthy subjects after treatment with a cream containing S. thermophiles. Topical treatment with an S. thermophilus-containing cream increased ceramide levels and hydration in the skin of 20 healthy elderly women. he same treatment increased ceramide levels and improved the signs and symptoms of atopic dermatitis (i.e. redness, scaling, itching) in 11 patients.

Lactose Intolerance:

Along with L. delbrueckii, S. thermophilus improves lactose digestion in the gastrointestinal tract and reduces the symptoms of lactose intolerance, according to a study on mice.

IBD:

In studies on mice with ulcerative colitis, scientists observed the potential of S. thermophilus to:

  • Increase hematocrit and hemoglobin concentrations
  • Improved acute colitis and intestinal lesions
  • Suppress the Th17 immune response

Immunity:

S. thermophilus exerts an anti-inflammatory effect by suppressing the Th17 response in white blood cells. S. thermophiles has also been shown to stimulate macrophage and T-cell cytokine production in another cell-based study. In addition; it promoted epithelial cell regeneration and immunological defense mechanisms in human stomach cells.

References:

There’s a war going on inside your gut, and as with any war the key to a good defense is a good offense. When it comes to fortifying your body and building an immune system of Steel, Pro+Flora Probiotic helps you stay on point by providing your gut flora the fuel they need to keep you healthy and strong.

You can learn more about it here. 

Dr. Paul Henning, PhD

About Dr. Paul

I'm currently an Army officer on active duty with over 15 years of experience and also run my own health and wellness business. The majority of my career in the military has focused on enhancing Warfighter health and performance. I am passionate about helping people enhance all aspects of their lives through health and wellness. Learn more about me