L. acidophilus resides primarily in the small intestine and produces a number of powerful antimicrobial compounds in the gut (including acidolin, acidolphilin, lactocidin, and bacteriocin). These compounds can inhibit the growth and toxin producing capabilities of some 23 known disease-causing pathogens (including campylobacter, listeria, and staphylococci), as well as reduce tumor growth and effectively neutralize or inhibit carcinogenic substances. It's also important to note that L. acidophilus is the primary beneficial bacteria in the vaginal tract. When the presence of the acidophilus is compromised, this allows the bad guys such as Gardnerella vaginalis or E. coli or Chlamydia to take over.
Many researchers believe that declining levels of bifidus, or bifidobacteria, in the large intestine actually mark the eventual onset of chronic degenerative disease. Bifidobacteria benefit the body in a number of ways. They (1) consume old fecal matter; (2) protect against the formation of liver, colon, and mammary gland tumors. And in addition to all of that, (3) bifidobacteria are substantial producers of a range of important B vitamins.
Thermophilus is commonly used to manufacture yogurt. Research indicates that the high level of lactase enzyme activity of Streptococcus thermophilus makes it the most effective probiotic for improving lactose digestion in the intestinal tract. Other research suggests that it can improve the nutritional value of foods by making their micronutrients more readily available to the human body.
L. salivarius helps digest foods in the intestinal tract and makes vital nutrients more assimilable. It also works to eat away encrusted fecal matter throughout the entire colon; it helps repair the intestinal tract by providing needed enzymes and essential nutrients; and it adheres to the intestinal wall, thereby forming a living matrix that helps protect the mucosal lining to optimize digestive health.
Malt diastase, or maltase, digests complex and simple sugars. Maltase also breaks down unused glycogen in muscle tissue. Glycogen is a thick, sticky substance that is converted from sugars and starches and is stored in your muscle cells for future use. If stored glycogen continues to build up in the muscle tissues, it leads to progressive muscle weakness and degeneration.
L. plantarum has the ability to eliminate thousands of species of pathogenic bacteria. Plantarum also has extremely high adherence potential for epithelial tissue and seems to favor colonizing the same areas of the intestinal tract that E. coli prefers-in effect, serving to crowd E. coli out of the body. At one time, plantarum was a major part of our diets (found in sourdough bread, sauerkraut, etc.), but is now virtually nowhere to be found, which may be a contributing factor in the rise of digestive disorders.
L. rhamnosus is a powerful immune stimulator. It can increase the natural killing activity of spleen cells, which may help to prevent tumor formation. It boosts the ability of the body to destroy foreign invaders and other harmful matter by three times normal activity; and rhamnosus has been shown to increase circulating antibody levels by six to eight times.
Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are found in many vegetables and consist of short chains of fructose molecules. Since FOS can be only partially digested by humans, the undigested portion serves as food for "friendly" bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus species. Clinical studies have shown that probiotic supplements with FOS can increase the number of these friendly bacteria in the colon while simultaneously reducing the population of harmful bacteria. For some of these beneficial bacteria, such as the Bifidus, FOS can increase their effectiveness by a factor of 1,000 times or more!! Other benefits noted with FOS supplementation include increased production of beneficial short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, increased absorption of calcium and magnesium, and improved elimination of toxic compounds.