Synbiotic information and indicated health benefits

Anti-microbial: Such qualities may result more so from the probiotic components than the prebiotic. Good probiotic bacteria reinforce the intestinal walls by crowding out harmful organisms, thereby helping to prevent their attachment. Probioic bacteria also stimulate antigen specific and nonspecific immune responses.

Anti-Cancer: Anti-carcinogenic qualities are not fully investigated yet in full-scale clinical studies, but what is speculated is that the sugars that are fermented by the bacteria form into substances that may inhibit the growth of carcinogenic cells. Prebiotic sugars help to increase calcium and magnesium in the colon which, in turn, assist in controling the rate of cell turnover and the formation of intestine damaging insoluble bile or fatty acid salt. Probiotic bacteria have, in lab study, bound to and inactivated some carcinogens. They may directly inhibit the growth of some tumors, as well as any bacteria that convert matter into carcinogens.

Anti-Diarrhoea: Benefits are achieved by the crowding out of harmful bacteria known to cause diarrhoea. Since synbiotics also strengthen the intestinal wall, this would help prevent diarrhoea also.

Anti-Allergy: - Food allergies may be helped since the probiotic bacteria help to reinforce the barrier function of the intestinal wall, thereby possibly preventing the absorption of some antigens.

Osteoporosis Prevention: - Improved mineral absorption and balance. This ability comes as a result of oligosaccharides (3-6 sugar chains) which bind such minerals as calcium and magnesium in the small intestine, but releasing them in the large intestine where they are better absorbed. Fatty acids, also formed from the fermentation process, will then assist with the absorption of these minerals.

LDL Cholestrol and Triglyceride reduction: Although still being stydied, prebiotics appear to lower triglyceride levels, as well as total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels. Prebiotics may also normalize serum glucose levels by delaying gastric emptying and by shortening the food transit time through the small intestine. Lastly, propionate from fermentation may make better use of the glucose molecule conversion.

Regulating the Immune System: Probiotic bacteria are known to have the ability to increase the levels of circulating immunoglobulin A (IgA) and may enhance nonspecific immune mechanisms, such as increasing phagocyte activity.

Treating Liver-related Brain Dysfunction: In the May 2004 issue of Hepatology a study article says that synbiotics and fermentable fibre not only have a beneficial effect on the liver but on a brain dysfunction that affects many who have liver disease too. This dysfunction results in changes in behavior, intelligence, consciousness, and neuromuscular function.

Digestion: - How effective a synbiotic is depends on how the probiotic bacteria survive digestive stomach juices, as well as the alkaline environment of the duodenum. Effectiveness also depends on whether or not the bacteria are able to adhere to the intestinal wall to colonize the colon. As a result, prebiotics are necessary to assist the probiotic since prebiotic sugars (mainly oligosaccharides and disaccharides) are not digested. This enables prebiotics to travel through the digestive tract to help feed the bacteria in the intestines. These sugars are then fermented by bifidobacteria, lactobacilli, and others in the colon to produce some beneficial by-products that include short-chain fatty acids acetate, propionate and butyrate. These by-products are either used by the colon or absorbed and transported to the liver where they are extensively metabolized. Those that are not metabolized in the liver are circulated to various other tissues for use.

Healing and regulating the Intestinal Flora: Following the destruction of microorganisms by antibiotic, chemotherapy, or radiation therapies, proper digestion, absorption, and maufacture of nutrients cannot take place.Synbiotics restore natural balance.

A good synbiotic will suppress some putrefactive processes in the stomach and intestines and thus help prevent the occurrence of a number of serious diseases: food allergies, ulcerous colitis, constipation, diarrhoea, cancers, gastrointestinal infections, IBS, IBD etc. See PUBMED study referrences HERE

Synbiotics containing one to ten billion active cells or CFU, should be taken several times a week, if not daily. In cases where antibiotics have been taken, it is often suggested that synbiotics be taken several times a day, preferably at least 30 minutes before meals.

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