It’s easy to read about the myriad of health benefits of a thriving community of living probiotics within the microbiome. From supporting immune response (lactobacillus casei) and bowel function (bifidobacterium), probiotics have been shown in multiple independent studies, and across a variety of strains, to impact our health in a variety of ways.
Once in the gut, probiotics attach to the intestinal walls and proliferate, where they get to work inhibiting pathogens (E. coli exponential phase was markedly shortened in the presence of lactobacillus casei, beginning declination at nine hours compared to over 24 hours stationary phase in pure culture(1)) and interacting with the human immune and digestive function.
However, getting the probiotics to the gut alive is no easy task. When exposed to low pH levels, like that found in the human stomach, living microorganisms like probiotics can begin to deteriorate. In a 2007 study at Victoria University (we’ll call this study A) eight probiotic strains were studied for their acid, bile and heat tolerance (2).
At the beginning of the study the total probiotic count was around 10 bil cfu/ml. After 2 hours, subjected to a PH of 2, similar to that in the stomach, the probiotic count dropped to around 1000-10,000 cfu/ml.
In a second independent study (study B), Lactobacillus Casei was exposed to low PH (1.5), high bile salt concentration (1% or 2%) and heat processing (55, 60 or 65 °C for 20 min). This to simulate the stomach conditions. After 3 hours of exposure in this environment, probiotic counts dropped significantly, from 10 mil to 1000 cfu/ml (3).
Micro-shielded to protect against stomach acids
Built to actively resist acidic PH environments, like the one found in the human stomach, PERKii micro-shield technology provides a protective vessel for our probiotics as they make their way to your gut.
The micro-shield itself is made of a natural alginate material, filled with nourishment for the living probiotic microorganism inside. Once through the stomach and into the gut, this shield then swells and dissolves, allowing the probiotics to attach to the intestinal wall and proliferate.
The proof is in (and around) the probiotic
In both studies A and B, this alginate micro-shield technology proved to be significantly beneficial to the probiotic’s survival. The micro-shielded probiotics survived at a rate 1000x greater, when exposed to the exact same environment as the free probiotics.
The evidence continues in a CSIRO study, in which similar survival rates were experienced. In simulated gastric conditions (pH 2), probiotics micro-shielded saw up to a 1000x activity rate, vs free probiotics, over a period of 3 hours (4).
What does it all mean?
We all know the benefits of living probiotics in the human gut. But getting them there, where they matter most, is a challenge in itself. Subjected to the acidic nature of the human stomach, living probiotics have been shown to die, before ever reaching the gut. Through our patented micro-shield technology, PERKii probiotics are built to actively resist low PH levels and survive the stomach environment (at a rate 1000x greater than free probiotics) for a targeted release in your gut. For a difference you can feel.
(Apella et al. 1992, Gonzalez et al. 1993).
Ding, W. and Shah, N. (2007), Acid, Bile, and Heat Tolerance of Free and Microencapsulated Probiotic Bacteria. Journal of Food Science, 72: M446-M450. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2007.00565.x. Victoria University (Werribee)
S. Mandal, A.K. Puniya, K. Singh (2006). Effect of alginate concentrations on survival of microencapsulated Lactobacillus casei NCDC-298,International Dairy Journal,Volume 16, Issue 10, Pages 1190-1195, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.idairyj.2005.10.005
V. Chandramouli, K. Kailasapathy, P. Peiris, M. Jones (2004), An improved method of microencapsulation and its evaluation to protect Lactobacillus spp. in simulated gastric conditions, Journal of Microbiological Methods, Volume 56, Issue 1, Pages 27-35, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mimet.2003.09.002.