By Ross Pelton, RPh, PhD, CCN
Scientific Director, Essential Formulas
Essential nutrients are nutrients that the body must have on a consistent basis but the body is not capable of producing, and science always assumed that humans could only get these crucial nutrients from the foods. Now we are learning that humans have a second method of obtaining some of our important essential nutrients. They are synthesized by some of the probiotic bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract.
Scientists are discovering that probiotic bacteria are amazingly complex chemical factories. We refer to the compounds that probiotic bacteria produce as postbiotic metabolites (other synonymous terms appearing in the scientific literature are bacterial metabolites and microbial metabolites). Some of our most important essential nutrients are now known to be ‘postbiotic metabolites’ that are produced in the gastrointestinal tract by various strains of probiotic bacteria.
All of our B-vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, folic acid,and biotin are synthesized in the colon by various strains of Bifidobacteria.i ii iii B-vitamins are critical essential nutrients that are required as precursors or co-factors for enzymes that are necessary for vital chemical reactions in every cell through the human body.
B-vitamin deficiencies occur more commonly among the following groups of individuals: teenagers, adolescent athletes, obese individuals and the elderly.iv v The recent understanding that various strains of probiotic bacteria synthesize B-vitamins provides new insight into how humans get some their most important nutritional needs met.
Another fascinating fact about probiotic bacteria producing B-vitamins is the fact that they actively cooperate with each other by exchanging B-vitamins among themselves for mutual benefit and survival. For example, Probiotic Strain A produces vitamin B12 and Probiotic Strain B synthesizes vitamin B6. Probiotic Strains A and B require both require vitamins B6 and B12 to survive. Therefore, strain A utilizes the B6 that strain B produces and strain B utilizes the B12 that strain A produces and they each successfully exist in a supportive symbiotic relationship.vi
Research conducted in Japan in 2017 revealed that Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics contain the following B-vitamins: B2, B3, B6, biotin and inositol. It was also reported that Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics contain vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin E and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. Thus, in addition to delivering probiotic bacteria and prebiotic foods, some of the postbiotic metabolites in Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics are important essential nutrients that help people meet their daily nutritional needs.