CONCEPT Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is approximately 25 feet long and is responsible for digesting and absorbing the nutrients in the foods you eat, while also helping eliminate waste products from your body. Beyond these important functions, your GI tract, particularly the intestines, also performs very important immune functions in the body. A healthy intestinal tract is critical for optimal digestive function and immune system support. Intestinal Immunities The walls of the intestine are covered with millions of hair-like cellular microstructures called villi and microvilli. It is through the villi that our food nutrients are assimilated for use. (The surface area of the intestinal tract is estimated to be as large as a tennis court!) The villi of the intestine also include specialized immune cells that function as immune messengers alerting mobile immune cells in the blood stream and in other parts of the body when under attack from invaders. Living on the villi of the intestinal tract is a group of microorganisms called intestinal microflora or microbiota. There is an estimated 10 times more microorganisms in the intestinal tract than the 10 trillion cells making up the human body, suggesting their importance in our physiology. Friendly intestinal microflora have a symbiotic relationship with us, providing healthy digestive and immune system support. When healthy colonies of friendly bacteria are present in the intestine, they help maintain a positive balance and proliferation of beneficial bacteria, while preventing the adherence and colonization of other “bad” microorganisms that can challenge our health and well-being. Healthy colonies of friendly microflora prevent the proliferation of unfriendly organisms by competing for nutrients necessary for growth and by crowding them out as they compete for intestinal surface area. They also produce chemical by-products that create an intestinal environment in which “bad” microorganisms cannot flourish.
Acquired Immunities of the GI Tract Before birth, a healthy baby’s GI tract is free of bacteria and other microorganisms. During the natural birthing process, a baby is exposed to colonies of microflora from his or her mother. As healthy colonies of friendly microflora grow in a new-born baby’s intestinal tract, the baby’s immune system is “trained” or “programmed” to differentiate between unfriendly and friendly microorganisms and respond appropriately. The body’s ability to respond in a measured way to “bad” bacteria and not to respond to “good” bacteria is an important part of overall immune health. By the second year of life, a child’s intestinal microflora is very similar to adults. Digestion of Food Nutrients Intestinal microflora also plays a critical role in the breakdown and absorption of food nutrients, particularly carbohydrates. Some strains of intestinal flora produce enzymes the human body cannot produce but are necessary for breaking down certain carbohydrates into short-chain fatty acids, or SCFAs, for digestion. SCFAs are a major source of food energy and metabolism for bacteria and also support the cardiovascular system. SCFAs also contribute to the proliferation and specialization of epithelial cells in the intestine and to the healthy function of the gut. In addition to helping the digestion of carbohydrates, gut microflora also produce vitamin K and can help with absorption of other nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. Probiotic Supplementation There are many ways intestinal microflora can be compromised or even killed. Stress, physical exertion, toxins in our diet, exposure to unfriendly microorganisms, and other factors can pose significant challenges to the colonization and function of friendly microorganism in the gut. Healthy intestinal microflora is also challenged in people whose diets consist of high levels of animal fats and proteins and are low in fiber. Furthermore, studies have shown a steady decline in friendly intestinal flora in both men and women as they age. When intestinal microflora is compromised, the digestive and immune systems function sub-optimally. To help maintain a healthy microflora balance, supplemental strains of friendly microorganisms, or probiotics, can be used as part of a regular dietary supplement program.*
PB Assist®+ Probiotic Defense Formula dōTERRA PB Assist+ is a proprietary blend of six active strains of friendly probiotic microorganisms that support healthy colonies of friendly microflora in the gut.* PB Assist+ includes active strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus salivarious, and Lactobacillus casei to promote healthy colonization and function of microflora higher in the intestinal tract, and Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Bifidobacterium longum for healthy digestive and immune function of the lower intestine.* Each of these proprietary strains has been demonstrated to have superior propensity for intestinal adhesion and colonization.* Unique Double-Layer Pre- and Probiotic Delivery System PB Assist+ employs a unique double-layer capsule delivery system that provides a short-chain FOS pre-biotic fiber in the outer capsule and a timerelease inner capsule providing active probiotic cultures. FOS, or fructo-oligosaccharides, are indigestible fibers that are found in fruits and vegetables that have the ability to selectively promote the growth of friendly bacteria.* Inside the outer capsule delivering the pre-biotic FOS is a small inner capsule with 6 billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units) of six active strains of lacto- and bifido-probiotic cultures. The timerelease inner capsule is designed to help protect the probiotic cultures from the harsh environment of the stomach delivering the active benefits of the cultures to the site of adhesion in the intestinal tract. The combination of pre-biotic FOS and active probiotic cultures in a single delivery system represents a comprehensive intestinal flora support system that is safe and effective.*