Health Insight has requested Bioflora, the manufacturers of Intestiflora (widely used by our clients) to shed some light on the claim that this strain of probiotic bacteria is from human origin. We received the following response from Dr Ela Johannsen:
“Why should the probiotic bacteria be of human origin?
It is important that the bacteria used in probiotic products be of the type that was originally isolated from the human digestive track. This type of bacteria is natural inhabitants of human intestines where they can ‘happily’ grow and multiply to reach the required numbers and thus provide the desired microbial balance in the intestines.
The key mechanism which favours these bacteria involves specific receptors on the internal intestinal wall that recognize this type of bacteria. The bacteria become attached to such receptors and then start multiplying and establish themselves in their natural environment.
Other types of lactic acid bacteria are not recognized by those receptors and cannot become permanently established in the intestines.
Please note that a number of human pathogens can likewise be recognized by the specific receptors. Some probiotic strains have the ability to “block” the receptors recognizing human pathogens.
Human origin: The bacterial strains used in Bioflora probiotic sprays were discovered in the previous century as natural inhabitants of the human digestive tract. The bacteria contained in the probiotic sprays are grown on an industrial scale in large fermentors using synthetic media.
They were isolated from healthy persons many years ago (no names are ever given in Culture Collections Catalogues) and were checked for a number of probiotic properties, such as:
- the production of anti-microbial substances (anti-bacterial, anti-viral and antifungal);
- the ability to stimulate immune system located in the intestines;
- the ability to produce vitamins and growth factors;
- the ability to regulate intestinal transit of food;
- improvement of lactose intolerance;
- resistance to hydrochloric acids present in the stomach;
- resistance to bile;
- the ability to produce various vitamins;
- the ability to assimilate cholesterol;
- the ability to colonize human intestines;
- the ability to modify or remove mutagenic and/or carcinogenic substances from the intestinal tract;
- the ability to reduce the inflammation of the intestinal epithelium;
- the ability to reduce intestinal permeability.
After numerous passages through artificial bacteriological media, such strains with confirmed probiotic properties were selected and deposited at reputable Type Culture Collections (e.g. in the USA, Germany, Holland or UK).
A closely related question:
If probiotic strains carry the HIV virus, can these bacteria cause HIV infections in people using such preparations?
The answer to this question is negative, because:
- Only human cells can carry HIV human viruses. No bacteria or growth media can carry or contain HIV viruses
- HIV viruses do not grow or multiply in bacteriological media,
- HIV viruses can ONLY multiply in live human cells and not in bacterial cells