Microbes permeate the whole planet and play a vital role in nature, animals, and humans. Many studies on probiotics have shown that they enhance the growth and immune functions of their hosts.
A MSP of Pediococcus pentosaceus and Staphylococcus haemolyticus was able to reduce the prevalence of white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) in L. vannamei (Wang et al., 2019).
Strains of Microorganisms
The genetic variants of a microorganism are known as strains. For example, the strains of influenza viruses that infect humans can be distinguished by their differing surface proteins, which determine how well they bind to human receptors and cause infection. The term "strain" can also refer to a particular type of bacterial organism, such as the bacteria that produce butyrate or the bacteria that cause irritable bowel syndrome.
The gastrointestinal tract is colonized by many different types of microorganisms, including bacteria, archaea, and viruses. The community of these microorganisms is called the gut microbiota or intestinal microflora, and it can have a significant impact on health and disease. For example, people with irritable bowel syndrome have reduced levels of the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. In addition, some types of bacteria have been shown to reduce symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Probiotic products are often labeled with the total number of live microorganisms (in colony forming units, or CFU) on their Supplement Facts labels. These numbers are based on the number of live microorganisms at the time they were packaged, but the amount of living microorganisms in a product decreases over its shelf life. Because the health effects of probiotics are specific to individual strains, a higher CFU count does not necessarily mean greater benefits.
Types of Microorganisms
There are many different types of microorganisms that can be used as probiotics. These include bacteria, archaea, protozoa, fungi and algae, as well as viruses. These microorganisms can be unicellular (single cells) or multicellular. They can also be either Gram-positive or Gram-negative. They can be found in a variety of environments and can play an important role in the Earth’s ecosystem by producing oxygen, decomposing organic material, providing nutrients for plants, and maintaining animal health.
Researchers have found that some strains of probiotic bacteria can help with gastrointestinal tract problems, including diarrhea and constipation. They can also improve gut transit time, increase stool frequency and consistency, and reduce flatulence. For example, one study found that the bacteria Bacillus amyloliquefaciens reduced gut transit time and increased total bowel movements in mice.
A 2018 review found that probiotics may help prevent and treat obesity by reducing the amount of fat in the digestive tract. This is due to the fact that probiotic bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, which decrease fat storage in the body.
It is important to choose high-quality probiotics when adding them to your diet. Some products that contain these beneficial bacteria include yogurt, kefir (a yogurt-like beverage), sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh and miso. However, be aware that most yogurt contains only two "starter" bacteria—Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. These bacteria are quickly destroyed by stomach acid and will not have a significant probiotic effect.
Choosing the Right Microorganisms for Your Needs
If you're thinking about buying a probiotic supplement, you should always talk with your healthcare professional first. Depending on the type of probiotic, the CFU, and how many strains it has, they can tell you which product will work best for your needs. They can also advise you on whether or not it's safe to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Some probiotics can help people with some digestive issues, like diarrhea. Others have shown to be effective in improving the microbiota after antibiotic treatment. However, this isn't a sure thing and there's still a lot of research to be done on how probiotics can affect the gut microbiota and what their effect on a person's health may be.
The efficacy of a particular probiotic depends on its ability to withstand the harsh environment of the gastrointestinal tract and reach the colon. It must also be non-heterolytic. To ensure the safety of the microbial strain, it must be tested for resistance to low pH and organic acid, bile salts and antibiotics (such as tetracyclines). It should also show good adaptation to simulated gastric juice.
ImmunoDefense Aqua contains live microorganisms that have a positive impact on the aquatic animal's microbial community, which in turn enhances its immunity or response to disease. This helps reduce the need for antibiotic feed additives in the aquaculture industry.
Choosing the Right Microorganisms for Your Application
Whether it's food or supplements, selecting the right probiotics for your needs requires careful attention to many factors. One of the most important is the number of colony-forming units (CFUs). A general recommendation is to look for a product with at least 1 billion CFUs. It's also important to select a strain with good research support, and to check whether it's suitable for the intended use.
For instance, some strains may be destroyed by stomach acid, so it's a good idea to choose ones that are acid-resistant. In addition, it's best to choose strains that are safe to consume at the recommended dose.
Another important consideration is ensuring that the strains used in human clinical intervention studies are properly identified and documented. This is essential to ensuring that the results of the study are valid. Fortunately, there are tools available that can facilitate the design, reporting, risk of bias assessment, and critical appraisal of trials using probiotics in humans.
These include multi-locus sequence typing and pulsed field gel electrophoresis, which can identify individual bacterial strains. In addition, they can determine the species and genus of the microorganisms. However, these methods are not always accurate, and should be performed by laboratories that have specialized equipment, access to appropriate reference databases, and current validated methods.