Pediococcus Acidilactici – Know the Facts
When talking about probiotics, it is safe to say that there are two major categories in terms of widespread recognition, namely ‘famous’ and not so ‘famous’ ones. Take, for instance, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Pediococcus acidilactici: how many dairy brands have you noticed using the first probiotic as opposed to the latter in their yogurts and cheeses on a regular basis?
The fact of the matter is that some bacterial strains have become more popular than others over time due to various factors such as intense research and selective marketing. But, as it turns out, even more ‘obscure’ names like Pediococcus acidilactici can really benefit your overall health in time.
What is Pediococcus acidilactici?
As a probiotic, Pediococcus acidilactici represents a beneficial bacterium often found in dairy products, fermented vegetables, and cured meats as a result of its potent homofermentative properties. Pediococcus acidilactici is also a facultative anaerobe, meaning it can survive in conditions where oxygen is found in small quantities or even lacks entirely.
At an overall scale, Pediococcus acidilactici clearly distinguishes itself from other similar probiotics through its outstanding resistance both inside and outside the human body. In fact, this ‘good’ microorganism has been shown to optimally withstand harsher conditions involving considerable fluctuations in temperature, pressure, and pH levels.
One of the reasons behind this increased ‘strength’ is Pediococcus acidilactici’s classification as an acid lactic bacterium. Theoretically, the Pediococcus genus is included in the Lactobacillaceae family, which accounts for its ability to produce lactic acid and an antiseptic called bacteriocin, two substances that greatly support digestion and immunity screening alike.
But, unlike other acid lactic bacteria types (Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, etc.), this probiotic exhibits a clearly detached vantage point when faced with rougher circumstances. For example, experiments have revealed that Pediococcus acidilactici cultures are considered viable even in conditions of up to 65oC (149oF) and lowered pH readings (highly acidic environments like the stomach, for instance).
Even so, it comes as no surprise to know that probiotics are generally a highly resistant category of bacteria found inside the human body. By adhering to the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal and urogenital system, these ‘friendly’ colonies are therefore able to promote better digestion, protect the body against pathogen infections, and even regulate mental health disturbances (via the brain-gut axis).
In addition, probiotics can also be found inside the composition of breast milk, which is the main source of ‘good bacteria supplementation for infants and young children. The first few months of development outside the womb are crucial in establishing your gastrointestinal rhythms for the rest of your life, with probiotics obviously playing an essential part in this process.
Are there any health benefits related to Pediococcus acidilactici?
As mentioned beforehand, probiotics like Pediococcus acidilactici are nowadays becoming more and more renowned for their contributions to human health. Even though specialized research is only at the beginning of its inquest into the world of ‘good’ bacteria, the results gathered so far have been positive (or, worst case scenario, not sufficiently relevant to be considered beneficial).
The main idea here would be that probiotics present a great potential to act as ‘alternative’ forms of medicine for a variety of disorders and illnesses. After all, most types of such microorganisms are already a part of the human body, with any disturbances in their number of colonies becoming negatively reflected into the quality of your day-to-day life.
Although a lactic acid bacterium, Pediococcus acidilactici is mostly found in natural sources (silage, forage crops, etc.), which presupposes that its inclusion within the gastric microflora of humans could bring a boost of probiotic wellness. Initial tests in this sense have revealed that this Pediococcus ramification is indeed safe for general consumption, even recommended in certain forms of supplementation (due to its increased resistance in terms of temperature, pH, etc.).
Consequently, one of the main employments of Pediococcus acidilactici as a probiotic element would be that related to digestion. In general, probiotics colonize the entire length of the gastrointestinal system (from the mouth to the colon) and generate accelerated food decomposition and nutrient absorption, as well as more regular bowel movements and increased energy levels.
The fermentative capacities of Pediococcus acidilactici have been particularly easy to observe regarding sucrose (carbohydrate) processing, suggesting that human supplementation of this bacterium could regulate glucose readings and potentially aid in weight management and diabetes prevention over time.
A 2010 study also proposes that Pediococcus acidilactici enhancement has the capacity to modulate intestinal microbiota, hence regulating probiotic numbers (and their overall performance) from within the organism.
Nevertheless, one of the most intensely studied aspects of Pediococcus acidilactici is its diverse contribution to immunity. While studies focused on the gastric and intestinal advantages of this probiotic are still in their infancy – both for people and animals (in the form of silage) – researchers seem to have been keener on exploring the immunomodulatory and antiseptic properties of the Pediococcus genus.
And with good reason too: Pediococcus acidilactici probiotics have the ability to secrete bacteriocins (like pediocin, for example), which are a form of ‘natural’ antibiotics within the organism. These proteins work by targeting pathogens and eliminating them before they expand into overgrowths.
Experiments have demonstrated that a dietary regime enhanced with Pediococcus acidilactici microorganisms translated into elevated antioxidant readings within the organism, as well as maximized protection against pathogen colonies.
Speaking of pathogens, you should know that Pediococcus acidilactici has been proven to act as a strong antiseptic from within the gastrointestinal environment, which is incidentally where most fungal, parasitical, and microbe outbreaks have their source. In general, ‘bad’ bacteria enter the human body via ingestion or through the respiratory system, with probiotics being able to suppress these infections before they develop into more serious health afflictions.
Luckily enough, the antimicrobial spectrum covered by Pediococcus acidilactici can do away even with the most serious pathogen threats. From Listeria monocytogenes and Helicobacter pylori to Escherichia coli and Clostridium perfringens, sustained supplementation of this probiotic has displayed promising effects regarding both active immunomodulatory shielding and prevention from future outbreaks of this kind.
These infections are most frequently associated with symptoms such as severe diarrhea, visceral cramping, dehydration, fatigue, etc., so it comes as good news to know probiotics could soon replace or at least complement the ‘traditional’ antibiotic treatments in these cases (more so since antibiotics kill off probiotic colonies and create a number of intestinal issues of their own).
In addition, Pediococcus acidilactici’s own production of lactic acid and the boosting of gastric acid quantities both help combat viruses, fungi, and microbes (aside from meliorating digestive patterns, of course).
Some studies have gone as far as to include Pediococcus acidilactici in the list of probiotics which aid normalize mental stability by stimulating the presence of gamma-aminobutyric acid (or GABA, for short), a neurotransmitter responsible with coordination, stress management, pain and anxiety receptors. The logical implication of this study would be that constant supplementation of probiotics like Pediococcus acidilactici can not only improve your biological health, but it can also have a decisive impact on your neurological system and, by extension, on your sense of wellbeing and even happiness.
Can Pediococcus acidilactici cause any health problems too?
While probiotics are generally considered as safe for usage by the majority of today’s population, you should keep that certain medical circumstances are incompatible with this sort of dietary supplementation.
Specialists strongly advise against resorting to Pediococcus acidilactici enhancement if you are experiencing a weakened or compromised immune system. While septicaemia cases involving this bacterium are currently categorized at the ‘rare’ end of the spectrum, it is also true that a lowered immunomodulatory response does make it easier for bacterial translocation to occur and then give rise to a number of serious and potentially fatal health conditions.
Secondly, you must refrain from using probiotics such as Pediococcus acidilactici is you are suffering from any other illness that requires either short-term or long-term treatments involving medication. One investigation brought into view the fact that patients already suffering from pneumonia had developed a variation of the Pediococcus acidilactici species which had become resistant to Vancomycin (an antibiotic aimed specifically at bacterial infections of this kind).
It is also a good idea not to mix antibiotics with probiotics in general because the first cancel the effects of ‘friendly’ microorganisms by drastically reducing their numbers, as well as by leading to a series of unwanted side effects (bloating, gas, abdominal pain, irregular bowel motility, etc.).
When it comes to Pediococcus acidilactici, caution is also advised if you are pregnant or nursing, under the age of 18 years, and/ or if you have shown any signs of sensibility towards probiotic supplementation in the past. A doctor’s appointment is hence required before making any drastic changes in your daily eating regime, even if it is only to stay on the safe side of things.
Sources of Pediococcus acidilactici supplementation
As mentioned beforehand, the majority of Pediococcus acidilactici cultures have been so far isolated from forage crops and silage. The predominance of this lactic acid bacterium in corn or ryegrass cultures, for instance, allows for both successful extraction and reintroduction of Pediococcus acidilactici in these environments for additional nutritive support.
As for human-friendly sources of Pediococcus acidilactici, there are a number of options available nowadays. One of these is that of dairy products – with Pediococcus acidilactici being a lactic acid bacterium of the same rank as the ones pertaining to the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera, it becomes only natural for dairy manufacturers to make this probiotic a starter culture for natural yogurt, kefir, buttermilk or various brands of cheeses (Mozzarella, Gouda, Emmental, etc.).
The same goes for fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut or brine pickles, which also use probiotic starters in their maturation process. Again, manufacturers are becoming more and more inclined to use ‘good’ bacteria like Pediococcus acidilactici for their products as a result of this microorganism’s increased resistance to changes in temperature and acidity.
Moreover, Pediococcus acidilactici can be found in certain variations of cured meat like a special sort of fermented sausage originating from Portugal, for instance. While the aforementioned products most likely require an additional Pediococcus acidilactici infusion before worldwide distribution (as a result of pasteurization procedures), the advantage of cured meats is that the probiotic cultures remain active from the get-go and are then able to settle within your own gastrointestinal system through adequate consumption.
Indeed, one of the most versatile and sought-after sources of Pediococcus acidilactici is that of dietary supplements. Companies have started targeting this probiotic for their powders, tablets, drops, and pills as a direct consequence of Pediococcus acidilactici’s health benefits, ease of manipulation, and strong nature. You will most likely encounter this probiotic strain as a singular component in dietary enhancers or as part of a probiotic blend in different CFUs potencies (colony-forming units, also known as the number of live organisms guaranteed to be present in every serving of the product).
Choosing Pediococcus acidilactici
If current studies and nutritional uses are any indication of success, then Pediococcus acidilactici promises to achieve even greater health and wellness strides in the future.
This ‘fresh face’ of the probiotic market admittedly still has a lot of ground to catch up before it reaches the height of ‘relatives’ like Bifidobacterium longum or Lactobacillus acidophilus.
Nevertheless, its role in human welfare is slowly (but surely) becoming recognized by the medical world, with its subsequent inclusion in increasingly more health boosters having the capacity to increase its popularity further on in time.