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Gastrointestinal - How friendly bacteria protect the gut

by Paul Bergner

Medical Herbalism 11(1):4

Adherent strains of beneficial bacteria can bind non-invasively to the gut wall through tiny electrical forces. They thus form a microscopic protective layer on the surface of the mucosa, taking up “docking spaces” that could be occupied by invasive and injurious microorganisms in the digestive tract. Adherent lactobacillus strains in the small intestine secrete lactic acid, and the acidic micro-enviroment at the intestine surface provides further protection against other organisms which do not tolerate an acidic medium. Lactobacillus acidophilus is the natural adherent protective bacterium of the small intestine, while Bifidobacterium bifidus protects the colon wall. Some varieties of these species are much more protective than others, and such “super strains” are typically sold in high quality probiotic supplements. Other beneficial bacteria strains do not bind to the intestinal wall, but are “transit bacteria” which also serve a protective function in the ecology of the gut.             —Paul Bergner
Copyright 2001 Paul Bergner    112