Lactobacillus Bulgaricus – Know the Facts
If you are an avid yogurt fan, then you must have surely come across the name Lactobacillus bulgaricus by now. After all, this probiotic component is becoming very popular nowadays in all sorts of health-boosting products from around the world.
But how much do you actually know about Lactobacillus bulgaricus and its contribution to human wellness? Whether you consider yourself a nutritional expert or just a casual ‘dabbler’ in the vastly alternative ways of improving your overall wellbeing, it is important to know exactly what probiotics are and how different strains can help you achieve a better lifestyle over time.
Probiotics and Lactobacillus bulgaricus
Did you know that your gut can contain up to 100 billion probiotics at any given time? Or that almost 80% of a person’s immunity can be found at the intestinal level? If not, then you probably only found out about probiotics from yogurt advertisements or by skimming through various health articles online.
In simple terms, probiotics represent ‘good’ bacteria that develop a symbiotic relationship with your gastrointestinal system. This means that such colonies thrive within the mouth, stomach, small intestines, and colon, where they help with food decomposition, nutrient absorption, and regular bowel movements.
So, while these beneficial microorganisms only take up a minute part of your substance intake for their own survival, their overall contribution to health and digestion are often indispensable to an individual’s welfare.
Probiotics also display good antimicrobial properties, which come in handy in the case of both airborne and ingested pathogens (fungi, yeasts, microbes, etc.). By producing lactic acid and small doses of hydrogen peroxide, probiotics are able to protect your organism against infections and illnesses before they even start developing.
Not to mention that this ‘pro-life’ bacteria (as the etymology translates) has been more than once connected with meliorated mental stability, fewer episodes of eczemas and skin breakouts, as well as improved respiratory functions.
Probiotics are generally classified according to their family, genus, and species. Their presence within the human body or in certain products is measured in CFUs or colony-forming units, which designate the number of live bacteria colonies found in that specific environment at that particular moment.
The most well-known names of probiotics are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus, Bacillus, etc., each genus having its own trademark properties in terms of general human health.
You might be asking yourself by now: so where does Lactobacillus bulgaricus fit into all of this? The answer is that, in the economy of the probiotic world, this microorganism subtype represents an equally special and important microorganism.
It pertains to Lactobacillus genus and Delbrueckii species respectively, having two distinct potential sources. One is of animal origin (mammals) and the other one is of a vegetable nature, as extracted from the Bulgarian snowdrop flower (Galanthus nivalis).
Although named differently – Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus GLB44 – these two subspecies share their positive characteristics almost completely, aside from their adaptability to certain lifestyle regimes (vegetarian or vegan, let’s say).
The geographical specificity of Lactobacillus bulgaricus is obviously reflected into its name because it was first isolated by the Bulgarian doctor Stamen Grigorov at the beginning of the 20th century. Just a few years afterwards, pioneering immunologist Élie Metchnikoff drew our attention to the significance of a balanced intestinal microbiota (or microflora) to local and general wellness alike.
With the technological advances of more modern time, scientists were able to determine that Lactobacillus bulgaricus has a number of potential employments in the service of good health by protecting the gastrointestinal lining against acid build-up, promoting regular digestive rhythms, and maintaining hormonal stability.
These same advancements also allowed for a more stable extraction or even synthetic production of this probiotic (via the vegetable route), with Lactobacillus bulgaricus being nowadays found in fermented veggies, dairy products, and dietary supplements as well. You can find it frequently paired in products with Streptococcus thermophilus, another beneficial bacterium organically present in the human body.
The good and the bad of Lactobacillus bulgaricus
As with anything in life, there are both positive and negative aspects that can be associated with Lactobacillus bulgaricus as a probiotic. Having said that, let us take a look at what characteristics should be taken into account before starting an administration regime based on this ‘good’ bacterium:
- The good
Right from the start, Lactobacillus bulgaricus comes through as a highly resistant probiotic, one that can withstand higher temperatures and unfriendly environments (bile, gastric acid, etc.). As a consequence, it can form long-lasting colonies within the gut microflora and hence preserve the integrity of the intestinal lining in optimal conditions.
One of the main advantages brought about by Lactobacillus bulgaricus is its influence on the gastrointestinal system all throughout its length. As some research points out, Lactobacillus bulgaricus supplementation can be employed to boost oral health in the sense of improved dental protection, reduced instances of periodontal diseases, and suppression of Streptococcus bacteria (which are known to cause both tooth decay and throat infections).
In addition, this probiotic augments digestive patterns by meliorating food decomposition and ensuring proper nutrient absorption within the gut. This is done through complex fermentation processes and accelerated lactic acid production.
Consequently, Lactobacillus bulgaricus can also help those struggling with lactose intolerance by facilitating the digestion of dairy and doing away with the most obvious symptoms of this condition (visceral cramping, gas, discomfort, etc.).
Not to mention that Lactobacillus bulgaricus has presented a clear tendency towards internal detoxification processes, meaning that it actually boosts your organism into ‘flushing’ out its toxin build-up.
Another gastrointestinal issue many people suffer from nowadays is that of irregular bowel movements. From episodes of diarrhea and constipation to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), IBD (inflammatory bowel disorder), and Crohn’s disease, having a ‘temperamental’ gut can really affect your quality of life.
Luckily enough, specialists have already tapped into the very feasible employment of probiotics such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus for these gastrointestinal imbalances and have concluded that a regularized internal microbiota does influence correct digestive patterns and eliminates the indigestion-like symptoms of these illnesses on a long-term basis.
With regards to immune shielding, Lactobacillus bulgaricus has been seen to display a series of antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Its major inhibitory capacities were spotted in the case of Salmonella and Escherichia coli pathogens, which are otherwise notorious for their damaging action inside the gastrointestinal tract.
Furthermore, some studies indicate that this probiotic can be used to combat the onset and subsequent effects of enterocolitis in children, which is caused by the harmful pathogen called Enterobacter sakazakii.
It turns out that probiotics of the Lactobacillus bulgaricus type can also positively impact cardiovascular health. A series of experiments from 2010 suggests that probiotics have the potential to reduce cholesterol readings and arterial stiffness, as well as constitute a safer alternative to traditional options (since medication often comes packed with side effects or interactions).
Probably one of the most surprising facets of Lactobacillus bulgaricus is its role in mental stability and the amelioration of chemical imbalances within the neurological system. If you did not know by now, the brain-gut axis quite literally represents the direct connection between what you eat and how you think, with the reverse being equally as significant for your quality of life.
Take, for example, this 2013 study that used various probiotic strains (Lactobacillus bulgaricus included) to demonstrate how ‘friendly’ microorganisms of this sort act as brain modulators for emotions and sensations.
Additionally, prolonged intestinal issues such as IBS and chronic diarrhea have been more than once linked with mental disturbances like depression and anxiety, probiotics of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium being repeatedly administered as a means of reducing both the symptoms and intensity of these chemical fluctuations within the brain.
- The bad
Unfortunately, there are also a few things which make Lactobacillus bulgaricus a less desired addition to one’s overall wellbeing.
The most common side effects induced by this probiotic include bloating, flatulence, nausea, and disruptions in your bowel motility patterns (namely diarrhea or constipation). In fact, these are normal reactions caused by your organism trying to adapt to the new bacterial numbers inside the intestinal microflora, meaning that your abdominal discomfort should subside within a couple of days to a week tops.
Nevertheless, some people have been shown to go through more serious cases of allergies when trying out Lactobacillus bulgaricus in higher concentrations of bacteria. This is why it is important to check by your doctor or personal physician before taking any sort of Lactobacillus bulgaricus supplementation, since your medical history – both past and current – plays a huge part in how you process this probiotic to begin with.
For instance, people diagnosed with Short-Bowel Syndrome (SBS) or with a severely weakened immune system cannot benefit from Lactobacillus bulgaricus in any shape or form because they run the risk of developing sepsis (blood poisoning).
Although this probiotic is non-motile (it does not normally ‘travel’ within the body), such health exceptions make it easier for the microorganisms to become displaced and cause a number of unwanted complications.
Don’t let these examples scare you out of testing Lactobacillus bulgaricus, though: as shown above, you need to be in a very specific medical condition to actually become hurt by this probiotic in the first place.
As scientists argue, Lactobacillus bulgaricus holds one of the longest safety tract records of all probiotics, with over 100 years with no cases of major health problems in healthy individuals administering this beneficial microorganism on a regular basis.
Why Lactobacillus bulgaricus?
An almost perfect digestive booster, immune protector, and mental health aid – what is not to love about Lactobacillus bulgaricus? In all truthfulness, its few drawbacks do not seem to overpower its more obvious advantages in all areas of human health. Quite literally, this probiotic has the potential to ensure head-to-toe wellness when used accordingly.
All you have to do is check by your doctor to give you the green light on ‘good’ bacteria, then find your ideal Lactobacillus bulgaricus product(s), and see how you feel afterwards! Chances are you will notice an improvement beginning with the first weeks of administration in your body and mind alike.
So, next time you are at the supermarket buying groceries, don’t go so fast past the yogurt section. Take a look to see if you can find anything with Lactobacillus bulgaricus in it – and stick with it!