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Lactobacillus Salivarius Provides Antimicrobial Boost for Travelers and Others

The World Health Organization (WHO) urges holiday and business travelers alike to practice common sense disease prevention protocols when in the presence of individuals potentially infected with H1N1. (1) A frequently overlooked aspect of personal health protection is the individual’s fortification of the immune system with natural, antimicrobial boosters. It is interesting to note that one such natural boost can come from the oral supplementation with probiotics in general and Lactobacillus salivarius in particular. Have you had yours today?

Good Bacteria vs. Bad Bacteria, Microbes and Fungi: A Primer

The H1N1 virus, mold spores and disease causing E. coli bacteria are all around. Frequently they attack from the inside out; this is especially true when they are accidentally ingested. Undesirable bacteria – you usually hear about them in the news when there is a food borne illness warning -- have the power to wreak havoc in the intestinal tract, especially if there is an insufficiently nourished healthy gut flora that can curtail them.

Other times the beneficial bacteria have been eradicated – alongside their harmful cousins – during an antibiotics treatment. While this is a lifesaving step to remove potentially deadly bacteria from the human organism, it has the undesirable side effect of also removing good bacteria that help maintain overall health. Failure to supplement good bacteria at this time leaves the human organism susceptible to attacks from opportunistic bad bacteria that take up residence where no desirable bacteria out-compete them.

It is interesting to note that good bacteria – most notably lactic acid bacteria -- have a strong antimicrobial effectiveness. This is associated with the production of hydrogen peroxide, which effectively kills microbes. (2) One strain of such lactic acid bacteria is Lactobacillus salivarius.

Lactobacillus Salivarius: Beneficial Resident of the Small Intestine and Mouth

Lactobacillus salivarius resides in the mouth and small intestine. During metabolic functions, the bacteria produce enzymes that are toxic to undesirable bacteria. (3) It is a probiotic (4) that can be supplemented quite easily via capsules or even dry powder. What makes it such a commercial success is its prolific reproductive prowess that reduces the overall amount of required daily supplementation.

Why Supplement Lactobacillus Salivarius?

Lactobacillus salivarius naturally occurs in the mouth of humans. (5) Supplementation delivered surprising and highly desirable results. A study involving 66 healthy individuals, who were randomly split into two groups, provided the sample; one group received Lactobacillus salivarius orally while the other was given xylitol as a placebo.

Researchers obtained plaque samples, which conclusively proved that the lactobacillus is instrumental in reducing at least five dangerous bacteria associated with the formation of plaque. This in turn greatly increases dental health. (6)
Animal testing confirmed that Lactobacillus salivarius improves the immune system response to simulated colitis and also septic shock. Researchers studied the bacillus’ effectiveness when rats where treated with trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS) that caused a model condition associated with colitis. In a closely related experiment, septic shock was induced in mice. In both cases, Lactobacillus salivarius was instrumental in counteracting the effects and striving to reestablish a balance within the organisms’ intestines. (7)

Potential Weaknesses of Lactobacillus Salivarius (and how they work in your favor!)

Although Lactobacillus salivarius is a rather user-friendly probiotic due to its low supplementation dose requirement, it also needs a bit of help with remaining in top shape. Just like other desirable bacteria that live in the human intestines, Lactobacillus salivarius is most effective and thriving when ingested food is lactobacillus friendly.

Even though the lactobacillus survives in the acidic environment of the intestinal system, it – just like its probiotic lactobacillus cousin Lactobacillus rhamnosus (8) – thrives when glucose is introduced, especially in the form of fructooligosaccharides. (9) The good news is the ready availability of this substance in healthy and tasty foods such as bananas, tomatoes, barley, chicory root, asparagus, artichokes and garlic.

It is safe to say that the supplementation of Lactobacillus salivarius not only offers health benefits to dental and gut health, but also provides solid antimicrobial protection. Since it can even encourage the ingestion of healthy foods, is it not time to make Lactobacillus salivarius a staple in your daily health regimen?

Sources:
1.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/frequently askedquestions/travel/en/index.html; retrieved 11-28-09
2. CURRENT MICROBIOLOGY Vol. 47 (2003), pp. 231–236; DOI: 10.1007/s00284-002-3993-1; “The Screening of Hydrogen Peroxide-Producing Lactic Acid Bacteria and Their Application to Inactivating Psychrotrophic Food-Borne Pathogens”
3. “Technical Bulletin: L. Salivarius;” Jim Daily III, Pd.D.; daily-mfg.com; retrieved 11-28-09
4. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Apr 25;103(17):6718-23. Epub 2006 Apr 14.; PMCID: 1436024
5. MondoFacto, online medical dictionary
6. Journal of Clinical Periodontology, Volume 36, Number 6, June 2009 , pp. 506-513(8); “Probiotic effects of orally administered Lactobacillus salivarius WB21-containing tablets on periodontopathic bacteria: a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial”
7. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (2008), 67 (OCE), E40; doi:10.1017/S0029665108006496; “Immunomodulatory properties of Lactobacillus salivarius are not limited to the intestine”
8. Corcoran BM, Stanton C, Fitzgerald GF, and Ross RP. (2005) “Survival of Probiotic Lactobacilli in Acidic Environments is enhanced in the Presence of Metabolizable Sugars.” Appl Environ Microbiol: 71, 3060-3067
9. betterway2health.com/articles-bacteria.htm; retrieved 11-28-09

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