|Medical Herbalism: Clinical Articles and Case Studies|
Gastrointestinal - How friendly bacteria protect the gut
by Paul Bergner
Medical Herbalism 11(1):4
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.
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