The intestine plays a key role in the complex system that constitutes the human organism: in optimum conditions it has the ability to eliminate waste and toxins, thus promoting the necessary changeover and regeneration to keep the body healthy and well balanced.
The intestine’s mucous membrane, furthermore, has a fully functioning immune system that’s capable of communicating with the cells of the entire body and alerting them to the arrival of potentially harmful substances.
The gut can be defined as our second brain: its form and appearance are similar to those of the actual brain, and like the brain, it receives and transmits signals and stimuli and reacts to all types of external agent, sensation, state of mind, emotion and stress.
It is inhabited by micro-organisms of bacterial and non-bacterial origin (=microbiota), which live in symbiosis with the organism itself, which is why this intestinal microflora is also known as the “microbial organ”.
In the right state of balance (eubiosis), the microbiota:
takes part in maintaining immune response to pathogens (immunomodulation)
- by impeding the colonisation and proliferation of pathogenic or “enemy” bacteria
- by constantly modulating the physiological mechanisms of immune defence controls the metabolic functions by regulating digestion and the absorption and assimilation of nutrients
- by eliminating unused substances through the production of intestinal gases enhances the two-way connection with the brain (neuro-endocrine function)
- by producing hormones and other substances that communicate with the central nervous system
The gut microbiota consists chiefly of micro-organisms of bacterial origin, such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, but also of non-bacterial origin, such as yeasts, which are friendly micro-organisms that live in symbiosis with our bodies and take part in a range of physiological processes.
The entire microbiota is made up of over 400 species of bacteria, distributed over an intestinal surface area of approximately 300 m2. The large intestine alone (consisting of colon, caecum and rectum) contains between 10 and 100 billion resident bacteria per gram of intestinal content. IMG Intestine
Frantic pace of life, stress, a diet that often contains too much fat and refined sugars, prolonged use of pharmaceuticals: all this can compromise the normal balance (eubiosis) of the microbiota.
This impairment (dysbiosis) has potentially harmful consequences not only on the gut, which reduces its protective role, but on other organs too, such as the liver, kidneys, muscles, skin and joints. It can therefore trigger a broad spectrum of physical and psychological symptoms, some of which you would not automatically associate with the intestine.
Wu GD & Lewis JD (2013). Analysis of the human gut microbiome and association with disease. Clinical Gastroenterology Hepatology 11(7):774-777. Tremaroli V & Bäckhed F (2012). Functional interactions between the gut microbiota and host metabolism. Nature 489:242-249.
- intestinal dysbiosis, which can manifest itself in a sense of abdominal bloating and tension, heaviness, nausea and digestion difficulties
- constipation, in the form of irregular, slow or difficult intestinal transit acute diarrhoea caused by a reaction to multiple predisposing factors such as sharp temperature changes, pharmaceutical medication, toxins, infections, intense emotions
- traveller’s diarrhoea, which can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or tropical climates combined with low levels of hygiene
- pharmaceutical treatment with antibiotics, sulphonamides, antimycotics, oral contraceptives, anti-inflammatories
- candidiasis deriving from quantitative and qualitative changes in the bacteria residing on the mucous membranes of the intestine or vagina
- stress characterised by physical signs (cramps, nausea) and psychological signs (anxiety, irritability)
- food intolerances, in which the difficulty of assimilating foods due to dysbiosis can have repercussions on other organs such as the stomach or skin, and cause symptoms such as migraine, headache, insomnia, painful joints, etc.
In all cases, you need to help restore the balance of the microbiota to enhance the health of the organism. To achieve this, it can be useful to take probiotics, commonly known as lactic cultures. Probiotic, which means “in favour of life”, is a term used to describe the “friendly” micro-organisms (lactobacilli, bifidobacteria and yeasts) capable of helping restore the gut microbiota and rebalance the different populations of intestinal micro-organisms.
Lactic cultures can be defined as probiotic if they:
- are specifically for human consumption
- resist the acidity of the stomach and the action of biliary salts
- adhere to the intestine wall and colonise the gut
- acts as antagonists against pathogenic micro-organisms
- are time-limited in their action
- show clinical and dietary safety, with proven beneficial health effects and absence of transmissible antibiotic resistance
- are stable during production and retain their vitality until the expiry date marked on the product
Guidelines established by the World Health Organisation WHO/FAO in October 2001
- Your diet consists mainly of:
A) high-protein foods of animal origin (meat, cured meats, sausages and salami, fish)
B) foods rich in starch (cereals, legumes), cooked vegetables, fruit
C) ready meals and/or processed foods
D) leavened foods and/or desserts and/or milk and dairy products and/or alcoholic drinks
E) I don’t have a regular eating pattern and sometimes I skip meals
F) I eat a bit of everything and try to keep it varied
- Do you experience frequent episodes of:
A) constipation, wind
B) colitis, abdominal tension, bloated belly
C) diarrhoea, frequent bowel movements
D) candidiasis and various mycoses
E) cramps, nausea, vomiting, irritability, anxiety
F) I never experience any of these symptoms
- Do you make frequent or prolonged use of the following pharmaceuticals?
A) laxatives and/or oral contraceptives and/or lipid-lowering drugs and/or anti-depressants
B) anti-inflammatory and/or cortisone and/or anti-hypertensive drugs
C) antibiotics or sulphonamides
E) sedatives, including natural sedatives, anti-anxiety agents
F) I don’t usually use pharmaceuticals
Mainly A: your probiotic is AXIDOPHILUS
Its specific formulation and the number of bacterial strains (3 billion per capsule) help rebalance the gut microbiota in the most common situations of dysbiosis characterised by slow intestinal transit, wind and bloating.
Mainly B: your probiotic is ENTERODOPHILUS
The high concentration of lactic cultures per capsule (10 billion per capsule) helps swiftly rebalance intestinal activity in the case of frequent bowel movements, with hyperactive bowel, bloating and diarrhoea.
Mainly C: your probiotic is AXIBOULARDI
A dietary supplement comprising probiotic lactic cultures (6 billion saccharomyces boulardii cells per capsule) and Vitamin B6, which is useful if you are taking antibiotics. Saccharomyces boulardii is a micro-organism of non-bacterial origin, which therefore resists the action of antibiotics that act against pathogenic bacteria. Unlike ordinary lactic cultures, which can be partially deactivated by antibiotics, Axiboulardi helps combat the diarrhoea that often accompanies antibiotic treatment, and restores the gut microbiota and its natural function as a defence against harmful bacteria.
Mainly D: your probiotic is CANDINORM
Its special formulation makes it ideal for enhancing the balance of intestinal and vaginal bacterial flora and stimulating the body’s natural defences in the event of candida infections and other intestinal and genito-urinary mycoses.
Mainly E: your probiotic is PEGASTRESS
Its exclusive formulation contains an innovative combination of lactic cultures, which help rebalance the gut microbiota, and vitamin B5, which helps reduce mental and physical fatigue and tiredness. The combination of two particular strains of lactic cultures (lactobacillus helveticus + bifidobacterium longum) in association with vitamin B5 (also known as the anti-stress vitamin) has shown a positive effect on brain/gut interaction, with distinct benefits for physical and emotional state.
Mainly F: your gut is in great shape. Congratulations!
A couple more tips:
Not getting much dietary fibre (wholegrain cereals, vegetables)? We recommend your chosen probiotic in conjunction with BIOCOLONIC soluble prebiotic fibre, which nourishes the bacterial flora.
Do you make periodic use of natural or synthetic laxatives? You can use Modulax (adults and children) A syrup made from vegetable extracts that help restore intestinal function. Also suitable for pregnant women and elderly people.
And what about your children? AxiDophilus Junior and AxiBoulardi Junior: dietary supplement in the form of lactic cultures formulated specifically for the youngest users