According to scientists, the number of bacteria present in human body is 10 times more than the number of human cells. Over 100 trillion microbes reside in both inside and outside our body. The microbes can weight up to 2-3kg.
There are good and bad bacteria present across the human body, along the gastrointestinal tract starting from mouth to the gut, intestine and anus. In addition, microflora was also found to reside on the wall of vagina and on the skin. Different composition of microflora could be found across different part of the body.
How to differentiate between good and bad bacteria? According to World Health Organization, a bacteria or yeast must fulfill 3 criteria - alive, present in adequate amount, and provide health benefits to human, for it to be recognized as good bacteria or probiotic. Each strain of probiotic is “strain specific” to give different health benefits to humans.
One of the well-known probiotic that have been studied extensively for its beneficial health effects is Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM.
Origin: It is origin from human and was first isolated from human body in the early of 1970s1.
Naming: The name is derived from “North Carolina Food Microbiology”, the research laboratory at North Carolina State University where the isolation of this probiotic took place1.
Characteristic: High tolerance to acid and bile, ability to adhere to the intestinal surfaces, possess antimicrobial activity to inhibit harmful pathogens1.
1. Enhance Immunity
Probiotic is important in maintaining the balance of microflora in the gut, and help to support for better digestions and boost immune system. Intake of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® was effective in reducing incidence of cold symptoms such as fever, runny nose, coughing and use of antibiotic2. Another study shown that ability of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® in enhancing body immunity through increasing the concentration of antibody (Immunoglobulin A and Immunoglobulin M) in the body3.
2. Reduce the frequency of traveler’s diarrhea
Most people are worried of having traveler’s diarrhea when they are visiting country that has different hygiene practices than the current country that they are staying right now. It could happen if what we eat are contaminated by bad bacteria. Probiotic was able to protect from the invasion of bad bacteria and protect us from suffering from digestive problems. A study revealed that administration of probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® among Danish tourist to Egypt successfully reduce the frequency of traveler’s diarrhea from 71% to 43%4.
3. Reduce lactose intolerance
People with lactose intolerance can be frustrating sometime as they will develop symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea and flatulence following intake of milk-based products. It is easily for them to avoid milk, but it could be a challenge for them to avoid the hidden lactose in the processed food nowadays. Example, the cream present in cakes, certain breads, cookies, soups, and even snacks also may contain lactose. Probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® can help to reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance. It has been shown that subjects with intake of milk containing probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® were associated with reduced symptoms of lactose intolerance compare to those without intake of probiotic5. The ability of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® to reduce lactose intolerance symptoms was due to the lactase activity present in Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM®, which had been proven in the studies6.
4. To lesser the GI discomforts associated with antibiotic intake
Certain people might develop gastrointestinal discomforts such as diarrhea and bloating during intake of antibiotic course. Studies have shown that these people can reduce the discomforts symptoms by taking the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM®. Patients with antibiotic intake who have been given probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® supplement showed a reduction in frequency and duration of antibiotic associated diarrhea7.
In conclusion, probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® together with combinations of others lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains is a good choice of probiotic supplement to help maintain a healthy gut.