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You might think that no organism living in the human stomach could withstand the combined, brutal chemical assault of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes. Yet some exceptionally tough micro-organisms can survive and even multiply in such a hostile environment.
Among the most prevalent is the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (h.pylori) which is believed to infect the stomachs of up to 40% of the world's population. As its name suggests, H.pylori is a helicoidal-type bacteria which burrows like a corkscrew in the epithelial cells close to the pylorus. It survives by secreting urease, an alkalinizing enzyme which neutralizes stomach acids.
H.pylori infection is associated with gastritis, dyspepsia and peptic ulcers - in fact, it is now recognized as the cause of the latter. Standard treatment to eliminate H.pylori involves long and extensive multi-therapy with antibiotics and other drugs. The side-effects of this treatment (nausea, diarrhoea and allergies) can be hard ...
Acacia gum (also known as gum arabic) is a natural exudate from sap collected from the trunk and branches of certain species of acacia forest shrubs. This sap has traditionally been consumed by Africans and Indians to improve digestive health and intestinal transit. It’s a complex blend of polysaccharides and glycoproteins, specific compounds that the human body is unable to digest. This means it is resistant to digestive enzymes and is thus a source of energy for beneficial species of gut flora (probiotics), particularly bacteria from the genus Bifidobacterium and those able to produce lactic acid. It therefore fits this definition of a ‘prebiotic’ proposed by a team of researchers: “A selectively fermented ingredient allowing specific changes both in the composition and activity of the gastrointestinal microflora that confers benefits upon well-being and health.” (2). »
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