Probiotics are important: The fulcrum of the science of probiotic is strain-dependent. It is interesting to note that the strain of bacteria used as probiotics are crucial for the efficacy in the management of the diseases. According to NCCAM, the two most commonly used probiotic bacteria are Lactobacillus acidphilus and Bifidobacterium bifidus. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the interest of yeasts as probiotics such as Saccharomyces boulardii, probably because it is supposedly having the right balance of good and bad micro-organisms. There has been strong evidence as of late that probiotics are effective against several disease conditions ranging from autism to gastro-intestinal disorders. Regular use of some probiotics has shown signs of preventing cancer. Thus, probiotics have found a place in management of the diseases.
Importance of strain: According to FAO/WHO guidelines, the significance of the use of specific strains is crucial in establishing its significance. Each living organism is scientifically named by combining the genus and species. In bacteria, we also need to know the strain for example: strains of ”Bacillus coagulans” GBI-30, 6086 or ”Bifidobacterium LAFTI® B94”. In the science of probiotics, this nomenclature is extremely important. In the following table, we will see how strain can play a defining role in managing different medical conditions.
|Bacteria Genus||Species||Strain||Effects on humans|
|Lactobacillus||acidophilus||LAFTI® L10||Induces immune response and clears Candida albicans. Reduces allergic reactions and inhibits growth of pathogenic bacteria. Helps to utilize the prebiotics for colonization.In animal studies, showed reduction in the incidents of tumor formation, and protects against Listeriamonocytogenes|
|Lactobacillus||rhamnosus||LB21||Helps to improve digestive health and immune stimulation. It has shown to reduce diarrhea associated with antibiotic use.|
|Lactobacillus||reuteri||ATTC 55730||Eradicates infection caused by H. pylori and gingivitis|
|Lactobacillus||casei||LAFTI® L26||Reduces inflammation caused during IBS.Inhibits the growth of pathogenic bacteria such as (H. pylori; List. monocytogenes; E. coli; Salmonella typhimurium|
|Bifidobacterium||infantis||35624||Improvement in the bowel movement, abdominal discomfort and bloating.|
This small tabulated form of the different bacteria and their strain is an interesting anecdotal reference of how strain specific probiotics are. While one bacterial strain works actively in managing IBS, the other one works for gingivitis or diarrhea. Therefore, concluding that the activity of probiotics are strain specific.
Multi-strain effect: Recent studies in the field of probiotics have led to a conclusion that the combination of the different strains may have benefits when we compare the same with single strain. The reason for these benefits is still being investigated. Hence, you may sometime see a combination of some of the strains in probiotic therapy. For example, a combination of bacteria: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 (and) Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 helps to prevent vaginitis in women. Another combination is Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM with Bifidobacterium bifidum BB-12, which has shown to reduce the diseases associated with C. difficile. Thus, sometimes using multiple strains can yield good results.
Summing up, strains in probiotic therapy play a significant role, in-fact the efficacy of probiotics is largely governed by the strain and the number of viable cells. Thus, it is wise to diagnose the disease first and then select the suitable strain that can help fight that condition.
- Oral Probiotics. Available at http://nccam.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm. Accessed on 2 July 2013.
- Guidelines for the evaluation of probiotics in food. Available at ftp://ftp.fao.org/es/esn/food/wgreport2.pdf. Accessed on 2 July 2013.