Most people don't think of their digestive
system as a battlefield, but the comparison is
apt when you consider how many potentially
invasive toxins are trying to invade the GI
tract on a daily basis. As harmful bacteria such
as E coli move through the human intestine, your
natural defense system is alerted and helpful
bacteria are called into play. These helpful
bacteria consist of microflora such as
Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, or L Bulgaricus.
Although most commonly found in Bulgarian yogurt
and Swiss cheese, Bulgaricus can also be taken
as a dietary supplement in a capsule form.
Bulgaricus in the dairy industry is identified
as a "starter culture" that encourages the
growth of other probiotic microbes during the
production of cheese and yogurt. This function
as an early adapter in harsh environments may
offer a glimpse into the prominence of
Bulgaricus in the role of a beneficial
L Bulgaricus is one of the symbiotic
micro-organisms that can shrink or multiply
within the environment of the mucous lining in
the gastro-intestinal tract, also called the
"intestinal mucosa." This environment is
described in medical journals as an interface
between the absorption of needed nutrients and
the diversion of harmful microbes and toxins.
When the balance of beneficial microflora is
weakened at this interface, infectious diseases
are more likely to take a foothold. Conversely,
when helpful microflora are flourishing, many
germs and infections are prevented from adhering
to the host by an amazing system of signals and
decoy strategies employed by the digestive
system in partnership with the intestinal
L Bulgaricus appears to play several important
roles as a soldier in this battlefield of the
digestive tract. These mechanisms include
reducing intestinal infections by excreting
metabolic end products-- such as acids --that
change the pH of the GI tract. At lower pH
ranges, or higher acidic levels, it appears that
many pathogens simply give up the fight to
survive. Also, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus excretes natural
antibiotics, which can have a broad spectrum of
immune-boosting functions. Other helpful
probiotic mechanisms include the blocking of
pathogen adhesion sites within the mucous layer
of the intestine.
L Bulgaricus shows a proven ability to draw away
toxins and defeat harmful bacteria, while
colonizing the intestinal mucosa in a beneficial
symbiosis. L Bulgaricus appears to be a
particularly rugged strain of microbial flora,
and has been shown to withstand the low pH
levels within the stomach during its digestive
journey. Many probiotic products cannot
withstand the high acid environment of the
stomach, nor the bile salts of the duodenum,
thus not reaching their designated work station
within the intestine. L Bulgaricus
supplements have been compared to a spore, in that
it can be stored like a seed but once digested,
blooms and grows into the appropriate function
within the human GI tract.
In the field of microbiology, an often-quoted
study on the effects of Lactobacillus Bulgaricus was
produced by L. Baricault in 1995. Baricault
showed that L Bulgaricus appeared to demonstrate
anti-tumor qualities in his study of rats and
hamsters. Many scientific discussions on the
effectiveness of Bulgaricus as a possible
anti-cancer agent or barrier against disease
began with this study, long before the term
"probiotic" became a household word.
University studies in Korea and South Carolina
have subjected certain Bulgaricus strains of
bacteria to freeze-drying and exposure to
various chemical sprays. Lactobacillus Bulgaricus showed in
these tests that it posesses an unusually hardy
tolerance to harsh environments and resistance
to toxins. L Bulgaricus fed to mini-pigs during
a 2001 university study in Germany also found
that Bulgaricus was able to survive the full
transit of the mammals' upper digestive system,
unlike many other probiotics. This German study
noted that the Bulgaricus yogurt cultures which
were fed to the test subjects appeared to
enhance the growth of other helpful microflora
when two or three bacterial strains were
introduced in combination.
In their 2005 study of GI infections for the
British Journal of Nutrition, Gibson and
McCartney studied the signalling patterns used
by probiotics and prebiotics to inhibit the
spread of pathogens in the intestinal mucosa. In
this study, one mechanism cited to describe the
workings of these microflora is by decoying and
rerouting toxins so that they do not bind to the
host's intestinal mucosa. This British study
calls to mind the parallel of a battlefield
within the GI tract.
Bulgaricus microflora appear to set up a
defensive line wherein harmful bacteria are
guided away from the important area of
interface, the intestinal mucosa. The several
studies cited here have led to discoveries
hinting that the combined effects of probiotics
on intestinal microflora, as well as their
unique anti-adhesive strategies, may lead to new
dietary interventions against toxins.
Lactobacillus Bulgaricus offers adaptability to
harsh environments and a boost to help other
microflora become established. This helpful
supplement has shown its effectiveness in
guarding the health of the GI tract.
1. L Baricault. "Inhibitory effects of
freeze-dried milk fermented by selected
Lactobacillus bulgaricus strains on
carcinogenesis induced by 1,2-dimethylhydrazine
in rats and by diethylnitrosamine in hamsters."
Cancer Letters, 147(1-2): 125-37. 1995.
2. J.S. Lee, D.S. Cha and H.J. Park.
"Agricultural Food Chemistry." Graduate School
of Biotechnology, Korea University, Anam-Dong,
Sungbuk-Ku, Seoul, Korea, and Department of
Packaging Science, Clemson University, Clemson,
South Carolina. November 2004, pp 7300–7305.
3. Sonja Lick, Karsten Drescher and Knut J.
Heller. "Survival of Lactobacillus subspecies
bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus in the
Terminal Ileum of Fistulated Göttingen Minipigs."
Institute for Microbiology and Institute for
Physiology and Biochemistry of Nutrition,
Federal Dairy Research Center, Kiel, Germany.
June 29, 2001.
4. G.R. Gibson, A.L. McCartney and R.A. Rastall.
"Prebiotics and resistance to gastrointestinal
infections." The British Journal of Nutrition,
Vol. 93 Suppl 1, April 2005, pp. 531-4.
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