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Loving God more. Loving others more. Living obediently in Christ.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Some "bugs" you need to catch!

There are some fascinating studies on probiotics (the good bacteria of the  digestive tract).   Many studies have revealed that these good "bugs" have highly protective benefits in the human body.  Several bacteria have been studied and linked to cancer prevention, and specific strains are linked to  prevention of specific cancers

In an attempt to keep the optimal population of good flora in my digestive tract, I have incorporated water kefir (a fermented beverage with up to 50 strains of beneficial organisms) and fermented vegetables such as kim chee into my diet.  Being aware that the beneficial organisms put off lactic acid caused a bit of concern for me.  So, I started searching.

Beneficial Lactic Acid in fermented beverages and foods
Dom's site states that the  lactic acid in kefir is almost 100% L(+) type.  The concentration of lactic acid in kefir is estimated at 0.1%.  This type of lactic acid is utilized by the body and is beneficial to increase the metabolism of healthy cells while "choking off" cancer cells.  Furthermore, the lactic acid in commercially produced yogurt is the D(-) type which is foreign to the human body and cannot be utilized.  Consumption of D(-) lactic acid puts a strain on the metabolism and poses harm to the beneficial flora of the gut.
Lactobacilli bind with Aflatoxin in foods
There is a mold that is toxic to the body and it is found in some foods, particularly rotting or spoiled foods, but can be found in some fermented foods.  Poor quality peanut butter is well known to contain this toxin, aflatoxin.  Many lab studies use aflatoxin to induce cancer cell and tumor growth.  In fact, aflatoxin is relied upon to induce colon cancer in lab rats for cancer research.

The good news about lacto-fermented foods and beverages is that the good bacteria bind with the aflatoxin and render it harmless to the body.  The following study showed Lactobacillus rhamnosus ability to  bind with aflatoxin.

"The probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is able to bind the potent hepatocarcinogen aflatoxin B1(AFB1) and thus potentially restrict its rapid absorption from the intestine." 
(Appl Environ Microbiol. 2007 June; 73(12): 3958–3964.  Published online 2007 April 20)

Other probiotic strains function in the same way, binding with other carcinogenic substances in foods such as the heterocylic amines that form in foods cooked at very high temperatures such as grilled meat.  The following study is an example of four strains that have this special power.

"The aim of the present study was to investigate the impact of four different lactobacillus (LB) strains, namely Lactobacillus bulgaricus 291,Streptococcus thermophilus F4, S.thermophilus V3 and Bifidobacterium longum BB536...)
"The results of the present study show that LB are highly protective against the genotoxic effects of HCAs under conditions which are relevant for humans and provide a possible explanation for the reduced colon cancer rates observed in some studies in individuals with either high LB (Lactobacillus bulgaricus) counts in their feces or with a high consumption of LB-containing foods."

Probiotics offer cancer prevention well beyond the colon!  They have been found to help with breast cancer and liver cancer as well.

This website is a helpful resource of information regarding specific strains of probiotics and their benefit to health.

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