The large intestine most important functions is the formation of stool and the absorption of water, electrolytes, and remaining nutrients from the end products of digestion. Under normal circumstances, the transverse colon is where the process of stool formation begins, as water is absorbed from the waste products in the large intestine until they reach a consistency that allows them to be easily eliminated.
If the stool remains in the colon for too long, however, too much water is absorbed and the stool becomes hard and dry, resulting in constipation.
Conversely, if the waste products pass through the colon too quickly, not enough water is absorbed and this can lead to diarrhoea. In a healthy intestinal tract, stool is made up primarily of water, undigested fibre, and bacteria. There are trillions of bacteria that inhabit the large intestine.
The bacteria that are beneficial and help support the health of the organism are referred to as probiotics. You may be familiar with some of these probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus (which is found in yogurt) and Bifidobacterium bifidum. These advantageous bacteria perform a myriad of functions, including:
• enhancing immune function
• eradicating harmful bacteria, yeasts, viruses, and parasites
• manufacturing vitamins A, K, and some of the B vitamins
• fermenting fibre in order to produce the short-chain fatty acid butyrate, which protects the cells of the intestinal membrane
• helping to prevent illnesses such as ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and colon cancer by ensuring a healthy intestinal environment
A number of drugs, including antibiotics, steroids, and hormone replacement products, can interfere with probiotics and disrupt the balance of these beneficial organisms in the colon. While antibiotics have the ability to eradicate harmful bacteria and have saved the lives of countless people with serious infections, one of their unfortunate consequences is that they also kill off the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in the large intestine.
This in turn sets the stage for the development of a variety of digestive illnesses, including irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation or diarrhoea, and intestinal overgrowth of Candida and other types of yeast.
Besides disrupting the intestinal ecology, antibiotics can also compromise the health of the immune system, leading to more frequent colds and infections. In order to prevent these complications, it is always important to supplement with probiotics when antibiotics must be administered, both during the days the patient is on the antibiotics and also for several weeks after finishing the medication.

COLOSTRUM

Colostrum has been called “nature’s first food” because it is secreted by the mammary glands of all female mammals in the first few days afterthey give birth. Colostrum supplies important immune factors and growth factors along with a combination of vitamins and minerals to insure the health, vitality, and growth of the newborn. .
Recent studies suggest that peptide fractions from colostrum (individual peptides present in colostrums) might be useful for the treatment of a wide variety of gastrointestinal conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced gut injury and chemotherapy-induced
mucositis.
The GI tract is really the body’s major battleground against most invading diseases, toxins or any kind of pathogen. This is where the major assaults take place, and where we need to ward them off.
Colostrum either destroy pathogens and/or prevent them from attaching to the intestinal walls, but it also helps repair and regenerate the critical surface of the intestinal wall at a cellular level.
In addition to successfully combating harmful organisms in the intestines, colostrum also encourages the colonisation of beneficial
bacteria in the bowel.

Colostrum has had a long history of use, with some of the earliest documentation regarding its use as a medicinal, reported several
thousand years ago in India and the Far East.

Humans produce relatively small amounts of colostrum, however cows produce approximately 9 gallons, which provides an excellent source for nutritional supplementation. Bovine colostrum is also unique in that it is recognized to be four times richer in immune factors than in human
colostrum. Additionally, colostrum has been found to be 21 times richer in Vitamin B-12 than milk, which is important because adequate levels of B-12 significantly increase the immune system’s ability to fight disease. Fortunately, the immune and growth factors in colostrum are known to be transferable from one species to another. This means that
humans can use the immune-rich colostrum from cows to boost the immune system, accelerate healing, as well as perform other important functions.

Colostrum has been extensively researched and there is excellent documentation in the medical and scientific literature regarding its
powerful action which is the results from:
1) Immune factors/Immunoglobulins
2) Antimicrobial peptides,
3) Growth factors
Each of these exert significant responses in the body.
Antibodies found in colostrum have been documented to protect against E. coli,
Salmonella, Shigella, V. cholera, Bacteriodes fragilis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Clostridium, Streptococcus and Candida albicans.
Clinical trials have been conducted showing the effectiveness of the oral use of
immune factors from colostrum against specific disease-causing organisms
in the intestinal tract.
Colostrum contains many factors that influence cell growth, their differentiation and their function. These growth factors are crucial for the maintenance and integrity of the mucosal tissue as well as influence
healing of the gastrointestinal lining.


Digestive Enzymes
Digestive enzymes can exert a powerful influence
in addressing a full range of commonly
recognised gastrointestinal conditions including
1) Inflammation
2) Maldigestion and Malabsorption,
3) Intestinal Hyperpermeability
4) Intestinal Dybiosis
5) Food Allergies and Sensitivities,
6) Enzyme Deficiencies.
The impact of digestive enzymes in gastrointestinal health has been recognised for decades.
One of the approaches to addressing
intestinal inflammation involves the use of
digestive enzymes, which take over a large part
of the responsibility of digestion in the already
compromised intestinal system. These enzymes
support the appropriate breakdown of foods,
ultimately lessening the overall irritation of the
already inflamed intestinal tract.

Maldigestion is the result of foods not being
properly broken down into the elemental building
blocks that are needed to nourish the tissues.
When this occurs, the cells of the body do not
receive sufficient quantities of the nutrients that
are necessary to provide energy for the body, or
to undertake the important tasks of repair and
healing. This results in malabsorption, characterised by the incomplete uptake of nutrients, which leads to a lack of available fuel and oxygen for supporting the body’s cellular function. Digestive enzymes play an important role in addressing these malabsorption problems by thoroughly breaking down (digesting) foods,
thereby allowing for more optimal absorption
and utilisation of the essential vitamins, minerals,
fatty acids, amino acids, and other nutrients
necessary for the proper functioning of vital
tissues and organs.

Intestinal Hyperpermeability
It is well documented in the medical literature
that irritation and inflammation of the intestinal
membrane can be caused by chronic exposure
to incompletely digested foods, exposure
to food preservatives, additives, artificial colourings and flavourings, pesticide residues, the presence of food allergens and exposures to toxins (including. These assaults on the mucosal membrane lead to further inflammation and significant damage to the intestinal lining, resulting in increased gastrointestinal permeability. This condition has
been appropriately referred to as “Leaky Gut
Syndrome”. The consequences of this inflamed,
overly porous mucosal membrane is that toxins,
food allergens and undigested proteins pass
into the lymph and circulatory systems, where
they can trigger a cascade of neurological and
systemic symptoms.
Here again, digestive enzymes play a role in
addressing intestinal hyperpermeability issues
by allowing for the more optimal breakdown of
foods, thereby preventing undigested food
antigens and opiate peptides from passing
through the leaky intestinal membrane and
triggering a variety of systemic problems.

4. Intestinal Dysbiosis
“intestinal dysbiosis”, a condition characterized
by the overgrowth of pathogenic yeast, bacteria
or other organisms in the digestive tract.
These organisms set up residence and multiply
along the lining of the intestinal tract, further
accentuating the leaky gut problems. As the
pathogens take control of the intestinal membrane, they crowd out the beneficial, health promoting bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and others.
Contributing to the problem is that these yeasts and bacteria actually produce toxins and by products that pass through the intestinal lining.
Plant-based digestive enzymes function even in the acidic environment of the stomach, they begin the work of breaking down foods early on in the digestive process. This in turn minimises the amount of undigested food proteins available to potentially serve as a food source for the
pathogenic organisms found throughout the
gastrointestinal tract.
Many food allergies are thought to be due to
the “leaking” of partially digested food fragments
across an overly permeable intestinal
membrane, provoking a series of immune responses. The problem of food allergies and sensitivities can, in part, be helped by the use of broadspectrum digestive enzymes. Digestive enzyme supplements assist in breaking down foods more completely so that only the essential elements are absorbed. When foods are thoroughly digested, the potential for developing hypersensitivity reactions to foods may be significantly lessened.

Among the gastrointestinal disorders is a complex range of enzyme deficiencies. Studies suggestmthat these enzyme deficiencies may explain some of the significant intestinal problems, including chronic diarrhea and foul-smelling stools.


Unlike the animal-based pancreatic enzymes,
plant-based enzyme formulations are effective
in improving digestion in a full range of gastrointestinal pH conditions. They have the ability to digest a broad spectrum of foods throughout the length of the digestive tract
because they are active in a pH range of 2 through 12.
They start their digestive activities in the stomach, which has a very acidic pH of around 2. Pancreatic enzymes, on the other hand, are not able to survive the stomach acids without being degraded, so they are enterically coated and will only begin digesting foods once they reach the small intestine. Plant-based enzymes also have activity in the small intestine, with a pH of 4-8, and finally in the colon/large intestine, which has an alkaline pH range of 10-12.
PROBIOTICS

Probiotics have been called “sustainers of life” and nature’s “internal healers” because of their
crucial role in promoting the health and functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
These friendly bacteria are acknowledged to keep the intestinal environment in balance and exert
other life-sustaining functions.

Dr. Eli Metchnikoff, a scientist from Eastern
Europe, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1908
for his research into the role of the friendly
bacteria in gastrointestinal health.
He was the first to recognise that the long, healthy lives of Bulgarian peasants were the result of a diet containing fermented milk products, specifically yogurt.
He found out that the bacteria in yogurt prevented or reversed gastrointestinal
infections. In the decades that followed, he
continued his research and was able to prove
that the Lactobacillus strains of probiotic flora
could combat pathogenic organisms and reduce
the toxic by-products (endotoxins) that they
produce.
The term “probiotic” means “for life” and is derived from the Latin “pro”, meaning “for”, and the Greek “biotikos”, meaning “living”.
Probiotics are friendly bacteria that are supportive of life. They have the remarkable ability to beneficially affect the delicate balance of the intestinal flora and the capacity to prevent or significantly reduce the effects of harmful pathogenic organisms.

Gastrointestinal dysfunction is known to develop
after the body has been assaulted by continuous,
repetitive and cumulative exposures to a wide
range of influences.
These exposures may come from the ingestion of foods, from certain drugs such as antibiotics, chemical contaminants and additives in the diet, environmental exposures to toxins (heavy metals, pesticides, etc.), and pathogenic infections of the intestinal tract.
Each of these factors contributes to the total load of physiological stress on the intestinal tract as well as on the immune system. The process of restoring gastrointestinal health begins with recognising and addressing each of the factors that contributes to intestinal dysfunction.

Research on the use of probiotics has demonstrated that they have the ability to strengthen the intestinal tract’s immunological barrier.
Probiotics help control the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, viruses, and yeast (including Candida albicans) and have documented
ability to colonise the intestinal membrane
by adhering to human mucosal cells.
Probiotics can produce anti-microbial substances that
are active against pathogens, including Salmonella species, E. coli, Clostridium, and others.
They are clinically effective in controlling diarrhea
and constipation, gastroenteritis associated with
rotavirus shedding, traveler’s diarrhea, antibiotic
associated diarrhea, as well as infections of the
genito-urinary tract.

Probiotics have been shown to help in managing allergic inflammation, alleviating the symptoms of lactose intolerance, enhancing the nutritional content and bioavailability of nutrients, and in the production of natural antibacterial substances.
They have also been shown to have an inhibitory effect on carcinogenic and mutagenic activity (specifically in the colon),20 and have demonstrated the ability to reduce serum cholesterol.


Probiotics support the growth of beneficial
intestinal flora while they help rid the body of
non-beneficial bacteria. Since these “bad”
bacteria are known to give off harmful toxins,
probiotics are a natural way to detoxify. There
are also scientific theories regarding the ability
of high doses of probiotics to detoxify methyl
mercury by reducing it to a less toxic form, after
which it moves along the gastrointestinal tract
toward elimination.


When the yeast take control and colonise the membrane of the bowel, they can change forms from a “budding yeast spore” to more invasive “hyphae” or “mycelium” forms.
The hyphae yeast actually imbed themselves in the mucosal membrane, where they exert powerful control and have the ability to deeply penetrate the tissue. This attachment is made easier when the intestinal lining is damaged by yeast colonies that secrete enzymes (proteases, alkaline phosphosphatases, coagulase, phospholipase, and others).
These enzymes further break down the intestinal
lining, allowing for greater penetration of the
mucosal tissue.
This destruction of the GI membrane can cause a cascade of symptoms, including inflammation
of the intestinal tract that destroys the mucosal
cells even further.
To compound the problem, when yeasts colonize the intestinal tract they produce toxins and
other by-products that cross the mucosal membrane and are absorbed into circulation, where they can travel to different tissues and organs in the body, including the brain.
This is referred to as “translocation” and can result in significant problems with the immune system and nervous system.
These pathogenic organisms leave a trail of destruction throughout the intestinal tract.
Among the toxins and toxic by-products they
produce are substances like amines, ammonia,
hydrogen sulfide, indoles, and phenols, all of
which can accentuate the damage to the intestinal lining.
Given this situation, there is a crucial role for the use of probiotic supplementation, which can help maintain a full spectrum of health-promoting bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and displace any pathogenic organisms that may be present.
Probiotics accomplish this by competing for attachment sites on the mucosal membrane and, if delivered in sufficient quantities, can crowd out the pathogenic organisms, stimulate the intestinal immune response, and manufacture natural antibiotics and hydrogen peroxides that prove hostile to these unfriendly yeasts.

A full spectrum of pathogenic bacteria, including
Clostridium difficile, Pseudomonas, Klebsiella, Bacteroides, Staphylococci, Helicobacter, and others are recognized to cause many of the intestinal infections.
However, the most problematic and frequently
encountered of these organisms is Clostridium
difficile.
Clostridia are generally present in small amounts
in the intestinal tract. However, when the normal
intestinal equilibrium is disturbed, Clostridia can
flourish and cause major damage to the intestinal
membrane.
Clostridia are spore-forming bacterial organisms that are very resistant to treatment despite the use of high powered, broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Clostridia are strict anaerobes, meaning that
they cannot tolerate oxygen and therefore
flourish in the intestinal environment that is
devoid of oxygen.
Unfortunately, even when powerful antibiotics are used, the Clostridia frequently resurface after the antibiotic therapy ends.
Key to the restoration and healing of the gastrointestinal tract is removing the pathogenic
organism and re-establishing appropriate levels of the health-promoting bacteria.
The use of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum
(lactis) and other friendly flora is of paramount
importance in the treatment process, and there is
extensive documentation and clinical research
regarding the role of these probiotics in supporting and maintaining the integrity of the intestinal membrane.

Rotating Of Probiotics
If improvement is not sustained when using a specific probiotic product for a period of time.
An alternative treatment is to substitute another probiotic, or series of probiotic strains. This practice called rotating may use several different strains of probiotics. For example, one might take Lactobacillus rhamnosus for a period of time, followed by a Bifidobacterium formulation and then by Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus ruteri, Lactobacillus salivarius, or any other single strains or combination of strains.
There are numerous options that can be used in following a rotation protocol.

Probiotic Supplementation
Hundreds of species of friendly bacteria flourish in the 25 to 28-foot long intestinal tract. Some are “resident” microorganisms, including Lactobacillusacidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum (lactis), and numerous others.
These probiotics set up residence by attaching to the mucosal lining and colonizing the intestinal tract, where they crowd out the pathogenic (unfriendly) bacteria. Additionally, there are “transient” friendly flora, including Streptococccus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, which do not set up residence but instead travel through the intestinal tract and exert many positive benefits. Both the resident and transient strains of friendly bacteria may be among the most important nutritional influences on the health of the gastrointestinal tract. Their supplementation as part of a comprehensive treatment plan is of great importance in healing the intestinal disorders.