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A Word About Supplemental Probiotics

Happy Spring!
Do you get enough probiotics from your foods?  Supplements can be healthy additions to anyone who has had an unbalanced diet, been on antibiotics, or is prone to allergies or illness.  They are also helpful for children, in certain circumstances (since they rarely cause harm).  In this issue of the newsletter, we will discuss Sacchromyces Boulardii, or S. Boulardii for short.  There are two brand names I routinely recommend, “Florastor”, and "Klaire" labs.  The dose is one twice daily, and check the bottle:  you may need to keep them refrigerated to keep them viable.  Unlike other probiotics, this product is actually a beneficial yeast (not all yeasts are bad).  And this little bug rarely causes any physical discomfort, and can often be of tremendous benefit.  So let’s see a partial list of what S. Boulardii can do:

  • Reduces mucositis
  • Stimulates factors that restore cellular integrity (helps with leaky gut)
  • Stabilizes the gastrointestinal barrier and strengthens junctions
  • Inhibits growth of pathogenic bacteria and parasites
  • Stimulation of antibody production against clostridium difficile (C Diff)
  • Acts as an balancing immune stimulant
  • Decreases expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines

S. Boulardii is complementary to other supplemental probiotics, and complementary to most dietary plans, including the IBD-AID. 

References:  Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology 2012, March 5(2): 111-125


Here is a table (thanks to research by Klaire Labs) of some of the probiotics you might find helpful.  My suggestion is that if you decide to take a probiotic to enhance your health, you choose one that has multiple strains in it…since we don’t know which ONE you might need.  This is not an endorsement of Klaire labs in particular (though they are good!) as there are many good probiotics on the market that I recommend routinely for patient health.

Key Functions of Probiotic Species (Klaire Labs)

Lactobacillus acidophilus

Highly resistant to gastric acid, bile, pepsin, and pancreatin. Possesses more than 20 known peptidases and breaks down casein and gluten. Ferments lactose and metabolizes a variety of other sugars and polysaccharides. Antagonizes a wide range of pathogenic bacteria. Reduces intestinal concentrations of carcinogenic enzymes.

Bifidobacterium bifidum

Present in large numbers in a healthy colon. Populations are reduced in allergic infants and decline significantly with age. Suppresses total and antigen-specific IgE production. Enhances IgM and IgG responses to select antigens. Activates B cell IgA secretion. Enhances IgA response to C-difficile toxin A. Along with L. acidophilus, supports gut microflora during antibiotic therapy and reduces positive testing for C. difficile toxins.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus

Produces more peptidases than any other Lactobacillus species. Favorably enhances innate and acquired immunity. Inhibits proinflammatory cytokine production. Outstanding colon epithelial cell adherence. Suppresses pathogenic Escherichia coli internalization. Antagonizes rotavirus and Clostridium difficile. Supports gut microflora during antibiotic therapy. May support immune function in infants with allergies.


Bifidobacterium infantis

Frequently found in infants’ intestinal tracts, but rarely in older adults. Strong suppressive effect on Bacteroides vulgatus, a commensal bacteria though to have a role in inflammatory bowel disease. Reduces proinflammatory cytokine production. Supports normal microflora and inflammatory cytokine ratios in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Together with L. acidophilus, supports the gut microflora in very low birth weight infants, decreasing the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis and promotes normal microflora in children with diarrhea.

Lactobacillus casei

A hardy, adaptive transient species. Makes many proline-specific peptidases enhancing casein, casein-derived polypeptide, and gluten breakdown. Beneficially modulates innate immune responses. Increases the number of intestinal IgA-producing cells. Antagonizes Helicobacter pylori. Decreases proinflammatory cytokine secretion. Inhibits E.coli adherence to and invasion of intestinal cells. Decreases Shigella-mediated inflammation.

Bifidobacterium longum

Often the dominant Bifidobacterium species in humans. Ferments a broad spectrum of oligosaccharides. Resistant to high bile salt concentrations. Inhibits human neutrophil elastase which may be important to innate immunity and attenuates harmful intestinal inflammation. Inhibits enterotoxigenic E. coli receptor binding and translocation. Augments intestinal IgA secretory response to dietary proteins. Favorably modulates inflammatory cytokine response to respiratory antigens. Improves inflammation in ulcerative colitis.

Lactobacillus salivarius

Indigenous to the intestinal tract and other mucosal surfaces.  Secretes several antimicrobial agents. Reduces proinflammatory cytokine secretion. Attenuates inflammatory responses to Salmonella typhimurium. Stimulates interlukin-10 secretion, a cytokine inhibiting the inflammatory response to bacterial DNA. Enhances intestinal calcium uptake. Significantly supports intestinal barrier function.

Bifidobacterium breve

Secretes compunds, such as lactosidase, that favorably modify intestinal microflora by reducing Bacteroides and Clostridium concentrations and degrading mucin. Stimulates Peyer’s patch B cell proliferation and antibody production. Eliminates stool Camplyobacter jejuni in campylobacter enteritis restoring normal intestinal microflora. Antagonizes rotavirus and decreases rotavirus shedding in infants with rotavirus diarrhea.

Lactobacillus plantarum

A highly beneficial transient bacteria generally lacking in people consuming a standard Western diet while universally present in people consuming plant-based diets. Exceedingly resistant to gastric acid and bile salts. Facilitates induction of the central regulartory cytokine, interlukin-12. Decreases production of inflammatory mediators. Supports intestinal barrier function. Reduces translocation of the gut bacteria. Antagonizes C. difficile. Supports normal microflora in people with irritable bowel syndrome.

Streptococcus thermophilus

A transient species with a long history of use as a starter culture for yogurt and cheese.