Mechanism of Action of Probiotics

Our gut contains both beneficial and harmful bacteria.  Digestive experts agree that the balance of gut flora should be approximately 85 percent good bacteria and 15 percent bad bacteria. If this ratio gets out of balance, the condition is known as dysbiosis, which means there is an imbalance of too much of a certain type of fungus, yeast or bacteria that is affecting the body in a negative way. By consuming certain types of probiotics foods and supplements we can help bring these ratios back into balance. The efficacy of a probiotic effect often depends on the mechanism by which they exert their activity. By and large, to treat a disease, the probiotics follow a set of mechanisms, which is discussed in this review. The effective performance of the probiotic depends on their strong adherence and colonization of the human gut, which in turn improves the host immune system. The mechanism of adherence is still under investigation, but Lactobacillus plantarum 299v has been shown to exhibit a mannose specific adhesion by which it can adhere to human colonic cells. Once the probiotic adheres to the cell, various biological activities take place, which primarily include the release of cytokine’s and chemokine’s. These then exert their secondary activity such as stimulation of mucosal and systemic host immunity.

  • Competitive exclusion
  • Elaboration of Bacteriocins
  • Expression of antimicrobial substances
  • Adhesion to the intestinal-lumen interface
  • Enhancement of mucosal barrier function
  • Promotion of innate and adaptive immune responses
  • Competition with pathogens for nutrients, receptor binding, and colonization
  • Modulation of cell kinetics via alterations in the proliferation to apoptosis ratio

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