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Keeping up with the Biotics

When it comes to anything with Biotics it can be quite daunting to know which ones to take, and it is a bit like keeping up with the Kardashians. One kills careers, one tries to add good to the family but just doesn’t work, the other just feeds crap music to the world, and there is one that likes to modifies things to win awards. Biotics are best described as an organism which is living, or once was living. Gut Health has become a very interesting topic in terms of research as the more it is studied the more we are finding out how much it has an impact on our health. The ratio between human DNA to bacterial DNA is 100:1. This means that you are made up of ten times more bacterial DNA, than your own human DNA [3]. Most of the bacterial cells are located within the stomach, which is why gut health is so fascinating because lifestyle factors can have different impacts on bacterial colonies, and can determine things like allergies, diseases, and if a person is overweight or lean. In the past few weeks ATP Science has been informing the public on how important gut health is, and with the launch of the new GutRight it is only appropriate if we share all kinds of research on how different types of biotics affect the microbiome.

Antibiotics

The most common and well know Biotic is of course anti-Biotics which are compounds which are produced by bacteria, and fungi which can kill or compete with other microorganisms. The very first anti-biotic discovered was back in 1928 by Alexander Fleming when he first noticed that his staphylococcus within his petri dish were dotted with mould. This led to Alexander Fleming to experiment further and characterised the first anti-biotic as Penicillium. This discovery revolutionised the medical world, and since developed lead to an abundant variety of different anti-biotics created to treat infections, and diseases. Bacterial cells tend to build cells walls, which is how penicillin works by blocking this process through dissolving the cells membranes. However, when anti-biotics are being digested and going through the blood stream killing bad bacteria, they will also kill off the beneficial bacteria which is good for your health. Unfortunately, in this day and age there are so many anti-biotics being widely consumed that microorganisms are now becoming super bugs, building up a resistance to anti-biotic use. This can create problems within the future as anti-biotic resistance…

This video from Harvard medical school shows the evolution of bacteria on a “Mega-Plate” (petri dish). Anti-biotic resistances come from the bugs mutating to survive within the new environment. This process can happen in a small space of time, which can cause problems in the near future.

Probiotics

Once you have consumed a course of anti-biotics it is always said to consume pro-biotics after as you have just killed off certain microorganisms, and that you need to build up your gut flora. However, what people do not realise is that problems caused post anti-biotic aren’t coming from bacteria species, they are actually coming from an overgrowth of yeast species like candida, which can cause problems like thrush. The earliest stages of pro-biotics were discovered by a Russian scientist named Ellie Metchnikoff in 1907. His research looked into the longevity of villagers in the Caucasus Mountains living into their hundreds, and he has discovered that their lifestyle choices is what determined their health. The food groups which were overserved to be consumed were fermented foods, and yoghurt on a daily basis. It was believed that consuming fermented yogurt could help extend lifespan due to the beneficial bacteria it provided to the gut flora.

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast species which are marketed as beneficial for the gut flora to confer health benefits of the host. Pro-biotics are very interesting as there are various studies that have researched into the consumption of probiotics can actually have an impact on weight gain. This is due to the Lactobacillus species which seems to alter the gut flora [2]. Pro-biotics have been added to livestock feed for several decades. This is shown by research that pro-biotic consumption within livestock will help speed the increase the growth of the animal [1]. However, as we are going through a pandemic of obesity within Western culture it would not be wise to be supplementing with pro-biotics everyday if your goal is to maintain a healthy lean body weight. Pro-biotics can be beneficial if you have had a big bacterium die off from anti-biotics which kill all the good, and bad bacteria in the gut flora.

Prebiotics

Prebiotics have been around since the 1990’s. Scientist narrowed down a prebiotic as a food source which is not digestible by the stomach but is beneficial to the microorganisms living within the gastrointestinal tract. Prebiotics are marketed to help stimulate the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria which reside in the gastrointestinal tract. This is due to prebiotics not being able to be digested within the gut flora which will make their way down to the large intestines where certain microbial species will reside and can feed on the prebiotics to help survive. Prebiotics have three characteristics:

  • Prebiotics need to withstand the environmental conditions within the stomach flora.
  • Prebiotics need the bacteria within the stomach to be able to ferment it.
  • Prebiotics need to benefit the bacteria.

Prebiotics tend to have a beneficial impact on aerobic microbes, whilst having a negative impact on anaerobic microbes. Lactobacillus species from prebiotics are like seeds which go through the digestive tract un altered to feed the growth of bacteria in the large intestine. As Firmicutes reside in the large intestine, the fibre from pre-biotics can feed the production of Firmicutes, leading to an increase in weight gain.

Modbiotics

Modbiotics are what ATP Science have used within the GutRight product. This is because Modbiotics are not indiscriminate killers, they are not live organisms, and they do not feed bad microorganisms. Mod-biotics are antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial compounds which help alter the ratios of good and bad bacteria within the stomach flora.

If you have just come off a course of Anti-biotics which has killed the good and bad microorganisms, you do not need to take a pro-biotic, or pre-biotic as these bugs will naturally grow back within the stomach flora. However, the reason people can have issues due anti-biotic use is because they kill off bacteria species, but do not kill off yeast species which can lead to an overgrowth leading to conditions like thrush. If you are on a short-term course of anti-biotics you can utilise Mod-biotics after your course to help with balancing out the growth of good and bad bacteria. If you are on a long-term course of Anti-biotics you would than utilise Mod-Biotics during the course to balance out any overgrowth of bad bacteria species.

Modbiotics contain the missing link in our diet which are the polyphenols. Polyphenols are toxic to bad microorganisms within the gut flora and help starve the bad microbes.

References:

[1] Dowarah, R., Verma, A., & Agarwal, N. (2017). The use of Lactobacillus as an alternative of antibiotic growth promoters in pigs: A review. Animal Nutrition, 1-6. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405654516301482

[2] Millon, M., Angelakis, E., Paul, M., Armougom, F., Leibovici, L., & Raoult, D. (2012). Comparative meta-analysis of the effect of Lactobacillus species on weight gain in humans and animals. Microbial Pathogenesis, 100-108. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.micpath.2012.05.007

[3] L.K. Ursell, H.J. Haiser, W. Van Treuren, N. Garg, L. Reddivari, J. Vanamala, et al.The intestinal metabolome: an intersection between microbiota and host Gastroenterology, 146 (6) (2014), pp. 1470-1476