L. bulgaricus is a probiotic bacteria and actually was one of the first strains discovered by scientists. In 1882, Russian researcher Ilya Mechnikov discovered the role of the probiotic in digestion and isolated it for the first time, later becoming a winner of the Nobel Prize.
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Mechnikov named the species after a nation from the Balkans, since he suspected that people from the area lived longer than normal due to the consumption of fermented foods, sour milk and other products rich in L. bulgaricus. He identified it for the first time in sour milk.
Lactobacillus bulgaricus is normally found inside the human intestinal tract. It is considered among the good bacteria, which live in symbiosis in our intestines and provide many benefits. One of the most important is that it kills dangerous bacteria. Besides the intestine, it is found in yogurt, Swiss cheese and other products. Since it stimulates other good bacteria to grow faster, it is an ingredient in the production of probiotics and yogurt as a culture starter. L. bulgaricus is one of the useful micro-organisms known as probiotics. They are live bacteria that provide many benefits to health, especially in the treatment of digestive ailments.
The mucous membrane that coats the gastric tract, also known as the intestinal mucosa, is the environment where L. bulgaricus lives. The stomach produces very acid digestive juices but the strain is well adapted for survival in such an environment. In favourable conditions, the species multiplies only to reduce its number again if needed. Symbiotic bacteria such as L. bulgaricus live without any conflicts in our intestines. They produce natural antibiotics that kill numerous types of harmful pathogens and also help eliminate toxins from the body.
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L. bulgaricus and other probiotics are naturally found in some foods such as yogurts, milk products, juices, soy foods and beverages. They are also found in some dishes traditional in Japanese cuisine, for example in miso, which is a fermented mix of rice, barley, soybeans and mushrooms, with added salt. The fermented soy cake tempeh, traditional to Indonesia, also includes it.
Another source of probiotics is the supplements that are available in health food stores, in capsule, powder or pill form. However, most people don't need supplements because the level of probiotics naturally found in the gastrointestinal tract is good enough. In normal conditions, these are very effective and protect your entire digestive system from infection. However, there are cases when the natural bacteria in the intestines become depleted for various reasons. Supplements are very useful in this situation and can quickly replenish the population of good bacteria in the digestive tract.
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The human body needs a mixture of good bacteria in order to stay healthy. These probiotics play a major role in digestion and at the same time protect against infection and boost the immune system. Antibiotic treatments can severely disrupt gut balance because they kill both harmful and beneficial bacteria. Other common reasons that affect intestinal bacteria are infections with bacteria, parasites, fungi and yeasts or conditions like stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and the inflammatory bowel disease. Several other diseases can also have an influence, for example respiratory infections in children, skin infections, tooth decay, periodontal disease or vaginal infections.
Since they play such an important role in gut health, it was suspected for a long time that probiotic bacteria like L. bulgaricus might have other important medicinal qualities. There are several ways to include more probiotics in your diet, both foods and dietary supplements. These provide protection against a number of diseases and can treat stomach issues as well. Supplements are widely available in the form of capsules, pills, suppositories or even creams, in pharmacies and healthy food stores. Medics recommend them in the treatment of digestive issues like diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn's disease but also tooth and gum diseases.
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Like most probiotics, Lactobacillus bulgaricus is very resilient and can survive the very toxic environment inside the gut, where there are corrosive gastric acids and bile, as well as high temperatures. It thrives in these conditions and develops inside the gut forming large colonies. The intestinal flora protects intestines and allows them to operate optimally.
This species of bacteria lines the whole intestine and is able to protect the entire length of the digestive system, which is one of its most useful benefits. The digestive tract starts in the mouth and L. Bulgaricus can help restore oral and gum health, while providing a very strong dental protection. It greatly reduces the risk of periodontal diseases and can kill Streptococcus bacteria, a pathogen that causes multiple infections in the throat and tooth decay.
As a probiotic, it is also critical for proper digestion. It facilitates the processing of food inside the stomach and allows the body to extract more nutrients from it. Scientists have identified the mechanism, which is based on fermentation and the synthesis of lactic acid.
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Lactobacillus bulgaricus is especially important in the digestion of dairy products and can greatly help people who are intolerant to lactose. This condition can have many unpleasant symptoms, such as general discomfort, visceral cramping or gas accumulation.
This probiotic also helps the body get rid of toxins. This is achieved in an indirect manner, since the bacteria boosts the natural internal detoxification processes, stimulating the body to get rid of toxic compounds.
Irregular bowel movements have become increasingly common and are some of the most widespread digestive issues today. A sensitive gut can in turn lead to several more serious problems with a major impact, for example IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), IBD (inflammatory bowel disorder), Crohn's disease, diarrhea and constipation.
Modern scientists have actively investigated the possible use of Lactobacillus bulgaricus and other probiotics in the treatment of a wide range of gastric issues. They have discovered that a healthy gut flora is critical for proper digestive patterns. The most common symptoms of digestive imbalance, like indigestion, can easily be cured with probiotics.
The effects of this strain on immunity have also been investigated. As expected, Lactobacillus bulgaricus was found to have multiple properties as an antiseptic. The most important effect is against Salmonella and Escherichia coli, two pathogens that commonly infect the intestinal tract and are notoriously difficult to treat with normal drugs.
Other studies have found that Lactobacillus bulgaricus can kill a pathogen named Enterobacter sakazakii. This germ causes enterocolitis in kids, so the probiotic is able to prevent and treat this gastric disease.
Lactobacillus bulgaricus and other similar probiotics can also have a positive effect on cardiovascular health. They reduce the effect of high cholesterol levels and prevent the walls of arteries from becoming stiff. The traditional medication that reduces cholesterol is effective as well but comes with very serious side effects, while the probiotic has none.
A lesser known health benefit of Lactobacillus bulgaricus is provided to the nervous system. The strain is able to balance the chemicals that are found in the nerves, ensuring better mental stability. Modern science is well aware of the deep connections between the guts and the mind, which are directly linked. While the mind decides what you eat, the food you consume has an equal influence on the brain.
In a study conducted in 2013, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and a number of other probiotic species were used to showcase how the good bacteria can influence human sensations and emotions.
Depression, anxiety and other very serious mental issues have been identified by modern medicine as the triggers for chronic intestinal diseases like severe diarrhea or IBS. A higher intake of probiotics like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium can have a double benefit in these cases, treating both the chemical fluctuations in the brain and their effects on the guts.
If the digestive bacteria are balanced and healthy, the food is properly processed and the immune system is able to provide protection from disease. The balance is commonly deranged by antibiotics use, which kills the healthy bacteria in the intestines. The good micro organisms can also be overwhelmed by parasites, fungi or even other bacteria. This causes infections but also many other conditions such as tooth decay and periodontal disease, vaginal infections, stomach and respiratory infections in children, skin infections or diarrhea.
Both foods with a probiotic content and dedicated supplements can be consumed by most people without any side effects. However, some negative effects can occur. The most common are diarrhea, constipation or other bowel mobility issues, as well as bloating, flatulence or nausea. None of these are serious, being the normal consequences of the body adapting to a different intestinal flora, with an increased number of bacteria. A few days or maximum one week are enough for the body to adapt and all discomfort should disappear. In very rare cases, probiotics can also start infections.
Allergies are also possible and some people can be affected by them if they consume high concentrations of Lactobacillus bulgaricus or other probiotics. Before using any supplements, it is always a good idea to ask for an advice from your doctor. Your personal physician knows your medical history and the current health condition and will decide if you can safely ingest the probiotics and make use of its benefits or not. While probiotics provide many positive effects on health, they should never replace actual medical treatment.
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