‘How do orally administered live bacteria supplements (probiotics) have an effect on conditions outside of the gut?’ Webinar, sponsored by Protexin

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Speaker Q&A:

Is there any evidence of altered gut flora in MS?

There is evidence of altered gut flora in the development of auto immune conditions. A recent study suggested that those with MS had a significant reduction of certain strains of normal gut which may potentially induce regulatory T cells.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25204849

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27279159

Any research showing specific strains/ tribes being of benefit to specific areas?

Many studies research specific probiotic strains against different conditions in the hope of showing statistically significant results. However, even when one or two strains show significant results for certain conditions it doesn’t necessarily mean that these are the only ones that may be of benefit. Every individual houses a unique mix of probiotic species and so the same strain in different individuals may act in a slightly different way. We therefore believe that by increasing the diversity of the gut flora with many different strains of bacteria, we hope to be able to benefit more conditions.

Research has shown that lactobacilli species (or other lactic acid producing species) are particularly beneficial for bladder and vaginal health. Therefore, Bio-Kult Pro-Cyan has been specifically designed for those who suffer from recurrent UTI’s using two strains of lactobacilli, along with cranberry extract and vitamin A.

Has Pro-Cyan been found effective in cases of cystitis/infection with E.coli? I expected it to contain D mannose too.

The two strains of bacteria in Pro-Cyan have been shown to be effective at inhibiting E.coli (see the below graph. The PAC A within the cranberry extract has also shown to prevent E.coli from attaching to the walls of the bladder (see diagram). The cranberry extract will also contain D-mannose, although likely at a lower concentration than in a specific D-mannose supplement.

ecoli

 

 

 

 

 

 

cranberry

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you stop taking probiotics is the effect ongoing and if so for how long?

All probiotics are generally considered transient.  The Bio-Kult strains are considered transient colonisers, whereby they have been shown to have a beneficial effect in the intestines whilst the product is being consumed, creating an environment most favourable to the growth of our resident beneficial bacteria.  Several of the strains in Bio-Kult have been tested and shown in vitro to have good colonising capabilities. One particular strain, Bacillus subtilis PXN21, was still present in the faeces of mice 18 days post-dosing. So while some strains may be able to stay in the intestine for a number of days, we believe most benefit will be experienced when probiotics are taken daily and long-term.

In children up to three years old, the effects of probiotics may be longer term and may offer protection against diseases later in life. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26979945; https://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=3864895&tool=pmcentrez&rendertype=abstract

Should you switch up the probiotics periodically to mix up the strains?

Some experts suggest changing probiotic brands occasionally in order to provide different strains. I have not seen any research to suggest this is beneficial, however, research does suggest that a more diverse gut flora appears to be more beneficial.  As probiotics are generally considered transient, but may be able to stay in the gut for some days, it makes sense that a multi-strain would be more beneficial than single strains, as different species colonise in different areas of the intestines.

I wouldn’t suggest it is necessary to swap a multi-strain probiotic periodically. If a multi-strain probiotic appears to be benefiting a client, I would stick with them. If however, they feel they are not working as well as they used to, I would suggest adapting the prebiotic foods in their diet first, before looking for another brand. I’d suggest making this decision based on what you think would work best for your individual client.