The digestive system is made up of the digestive tract which consists of a long, twisting tube and a series of organs from the mouth to the anus. This includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, together with the liver, gall bladder, and pancreas.
The primary function of the digestive system is to break down the food we eat into smaller parts so our body can use them to build and nourish cells and provide energy, and package the residue for waste disposal.
Gastrointestinal Bacterial BalanceGastrointestinal tract, being one of the most important parts of the digestive system, is populated with over 400 different species and close to 100 trillion of bacteria. The balance of these bacteria is the key to good health. However, the “balancing act” of the micro organisms in our gastrointestinal tract can be thrown off in various ways such as drug usage like antibiotics, illness, ageing, poor diet, traveling and stress. This will lead to health problems of the digestive and immune system.
Digestive Disorders and Gastrointestinal Disturbances
Peptic UlcerPeptic ulcer is a sore or inflammation on the lining of the stomach or duodenum, the beginning of the small intestine. Peptic ulcers are common and usually followed by abdominal discomfort. Bacterial infection by Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is the major cause of peptic ulcers. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin and ibuprofen, are another common cause.
IndigestionIndigestion is a feeling of uncomfortable fullness during or after meals. It can be accompanied by bloating, belching, nausea, or heartburn. Indigestion can be caused by a condition in the digestive tract such as gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcer disease, cancer, or abnormality of the pancreas or bile ducts.
Irritable Bowel SyndromeIrritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of the gastrointestinal tract, characterized most commonly by cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. IBS causes a great deal of discomfort and distress.
ConstipationConstipation is a symptom defined as having a bowel movement fewer than three times per week. With constipation stools are usually hard, dry, small in size, and difficult to eliminate. Sometimes it is painful to have a bowel movement and often experience straining, bloating, and the sensation of a full bowel. Almost everyone experiences constipation at some point in their life, and a poor diet typically is the cause.
DiarrheaDiarrhea is a discomfort condition with loose, watery stools more than three times in one day. May be accompanied by cramps, bloating, nausea and an urgency to have a bowel movement. People of all ages can get diarrhea and causes of diarrhea include bacteria, viruses or parasites, certain medicines, food intolerances and diseases that affect the stomach, small intestine or colon. In many cases, no cause can be found.
ProbioticsProbiotics are defined by WHO as Live microorganisms which, when consumed in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. Probiotics being the health enhancing bacteria, help reestablish the gastrointestinal beneficial micro flora and alleviate health disorders. Probiotics is important for digestive health, improved immunity, urinogenital health and general well-being.
Probiotics help in
Lactobacillus (predominant in small intestine) and Bifidobacterium (predominant in large intestine) are the two most important families of health enhancing bacteria. Combinations of these bacteria will provide multi gastrointestinal sections coverage. Different strains from the same family are distinguished for specific health benefits. Multiple strains help provide multiple health benefits.
Probiotics need to be carefully selected with evidence of clinical health benefit, viability, quality and safety. For improved functionality, probiotics must be able to survive passage through the acidic environment of the stomach, resist the bile present in the small intestine and achieve colonization of the gastrointestine.
Prebiotic inulin works synergistically with probiotics to help improve the survival, implantation and colonization of probiotics in the gastrointestine.