In 1908, Russian bacteriologist Elic Metchnikoff proposed a theory of longevity stating
that eating yogurt inhibited the growth of putrefactive bacteria in the large intestine.
He developed his theory from observing Balkan peasants whose long lives were apparently
due to consumption of milk fermented with lactobacillus.
What Are Probiotics?
Cultured foods and the benefits they provide have existed for hundreds of years in the
form of foods like yogurt, which provide healthy bacteria called probiotics. "Probiotic,"
meaning "for life," refers to good bacteria, specifically in the intestines. When good
or "friendly" bacteria thrive in the intestines, bad bacteria have no place to grow.
Probiotics have been shown to fight heartburn,
lactose intolerance, gastritis, and a variety of other digestive disorders.
Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria. This leaves the intestines defenseless
against bad bacteria unless good bacteria (probiotics) populate the intestines first.
Friendly bacteria in the human body can be found anywhere between the mouth and digestive
tract, and over 35 percent of the colon's volume consists of bacteria. Many of probiotics
benefits aer related to disgestive disorders, but preliminary studies have linked probiotics
to positive effects ranging from lowering serum cholesterol to managing arthritis.
At birth the human gastrointestinal tract is almost sterile, but breast-feeding begins
to populate it with friendly bacteria called microflora. By adulthood, the human
gastrointestinal tract may house over 400 species of intestinal flora with a population
in the billions. Maintaining this microflora is critical to good health. Many factors
can deplete the body's supply of probiotics, including overuse of antibiotics, chlorinated
water, too much processed and junk foods, and environmental pollution. Estimates suggest
that 70 percent of women and 40 percent of men develop yeast infections after good
bacteria are wiped out.
Studies Show the Benefits of Probiotics
A 2003 research report showed subjects given the probiotic bifidobacterium longum
over a one-month period experienced a reduction in cholesterol levels, and a 2002 study
showed increases in HDL, or "good" cholesterol.
A 1999 study on mice genetically susceptible to colitis discovered that lactobacillus
(a probiotic) relieved the development of colitis.
In a 2001 study at M Curie Regional Hospital, 40 patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
(IBS) took either lactobacillus or a placebo for one month. Every patient taking
the lactobacillus reported loss of abdominal pain and 95 percent reported improvement
According to Nutrition Industry Magazine, lactose intolerance (the inability
to digest dairy products) is a problem for 70 percent of the world's population, but
probiotics have been shown to improve lactose digestion. A panel of experts noted in
the Journal of Dairy Science that probiotics eased lactose intolerance and reduced
ALTRUM's digestive enzyme formulas,
Ultra Daily Enzymes (DEU) and Daily Enzyme Support
(DES), include a special probiotic blend of bifidobacterium (100 million
per capsule) and lactobacillus (400 million per capsule) to maintain your body's
intestinal health and longevity.