Glossary of Probiotic Health Terms

Antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
A word that originated in the natural products industry. The term is used to describe products that normalize function. Many of the postbiotic metabolites produced by probiotic bacteria could be classified as adaptogens. For example, if your intestinal tract is too alkaline, the short-chain fatty acid postbiotic metabolites will decrease the alkalinity. This makes the GI tract slightly more acidic and normalizes the acid/base level. On the other hand, if your intestinal tract is too acidic, the same postbiotic metabolites will help to make the environment slightly more alkaline. Both Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics and Dr. Ohhira’s skin care products contain the postbiotic metabolites that are produced during the multi-year fermentation production process. As explained above, many of these compounds are adaptogenic. Therefore, Dr. Ohhira’s skin care products can be thought of as adaptogenic skin care products. They help to normalize your skin by helping to maintain optimal levels of skin hydration, acid/base balance, production of the skin’s antimicrobial peptides, and support the maintenance of a healthy skin microbiome.
Alimentary canal
The mucous membrane-lined pathway by which food enters the body, digestion takes place, and solid wastes are expelled. The alimentary canal includes the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and anus.
Hypersensitivity of the body's immune system in response to exposure to specific substances (antigens), such as drugs or vaccines, resulting in pathological conditions in predisposed people.
Antibiotics are drugs that are used to treat infections caused by bacteria and other organisms, including protozoa, parasites, and fungi.
Antibiotic resistance
A type of drug resistance where a microorganism is able to survive exposure to an antibiotic.
Any agent that destroys or prevents the growth of fungi.
Capable of destroying or inhibiting the growth of disease-causing microorganisms.
Antioxidants are molecules which can interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged.
Any drug or other agent that interferes with the life cycle of a virus and suppresses its replication and/or pathogenic activity.
Artepillin C
Artepillin C is the major compound in the Brazilian green propolis from Baccharis dracunculiforia. It is a potent antioxidant and immune modulator.
A red carotenoid from seaweed that produces a highly absorbent ester form capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier to deliver anti-oxidant benefits and help promote normal inflammatory response though out the entire bodythroughout the entire body. It is one of the most complete antioxidant and anti-inflammatory natural substances known to scientists.
B Lymphocytes
Immune cells that play a large role in humoral immune response. The principle functions of B cells are to make antibodies (IgA, IgG and IgM) that attack foreign molecules and the germs and toxins they produce.
A peptide produced by some strains of bacteria which inhibits the growth of, or kills, other bacteria.
Bifidobacterium strains
Common in the natural flora of human and animal digestive systems. As probiotics, they stimulate the immune system, aid in digestion, and assist in the absorption of food ingredients and nutrients. They are also capable of synthesizing some vitamins.
Bifidobacterium breve
The most common Bifidobacterium in infants but remains in the gut throughout adulthood. B. breve assists in the production of the natural antibiotic called “lactobrevin”. It tolerates bile avid well thereby surviving its trip through the digestive system.
Bifidobacterium infantis
This bacterium is important because it has proven to stimulate the production of such immune agents as cytokines.
Bifidobacterium longum
Found in high concentrations in the large intestine, it helps prevent the colonization of invading pathogenic bacteria by attaching the the intestinal wall and crowding out unfriendly bacteria and yeasts.
An alkaline fluid secreted by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. It is discharged during digestion into the duodenum, where it aids in the digestion of fats.
The ability of a drug or other chemical to be taken up by the body and made available in the tissue where it is needed.
Beneficial components, which are produced outside the host (for instance, in fermentation vats), along with the proliferation of living beneficial bacteria, through similar decomposition and fermentation by various microorganisms.
Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB)
The specialized system of capillary endothelial cells that protects the brain from harmful substances in the blood stream, while supplying the brain with the require nutrients for proper function.
The part of the alimentary canal between the stomach and the anus.
Brazilian Green Propolis
Derived from the vegetation surrounding the bees’ hive the potency and composition of propolis depends highly on its regional source. Known as the “Gold Standard” of propolis, the best Brazilian propolis is referred to as “green propolis” due to its vivid color. BGP is found in the Minas Gerais region and is derived mostly from Alecrim (Baccharis dracunculiforia). BGP has the highest potency of Artepillin C, P-coumaric acid and Kaempferide.
Broad-spectrum antibiotic
An antibiotic with activity against a wide range of disease-causing bacteria. These are used when more than one strain of bacteria are involved in an illness or when the strain of bacteria causing the illness has proven resistant to other antibiotics.
Chia Seed Oil
Chia seed oil is a expelled and filtered liquid that derives from the chia seed. The high fat content of approximately 33.8 percent oil, the majority of it being beneficial fatty acids, has led to the popularity of chia seed oil as a dietary supplement. There are two chia plants, one native to Mexico, and another that is commonly grown in the U.S., Australia and Bolivia. The seeds are harvested and pressed for their clear oil.
Clostridium difficile
Clostridium difficile is a strain of bacteria that is usually found in the gut flora. When the gut has proper bacterial balance, the presence of C. difficile does not result in disease. However, under conditions of dysbiosis, C. difficile can flourish and cause diarrhea and even colitis.
Coenzyme Q10
A compound needed for the proper functioning of an enzyme, a protein that speeds up the rate at which chemical reactions take place in the body. Coenzyme Q10 is used to produce energy to fuel cell growth and maintenance and is thought to improve the function of mitochondria, the "powerhouses" that produce energy in cells.
The colon is the last part of the digestive system and starts with the first portion of the large intestine and extends to the rectum. It extracts water and salt from solid wastes before they are eliminated from the body. It is also the site in which bacteria-aided fermentation of unabsorbed material occurs.
Colony Forming Units (CFUs)
A measure of viable bacterial cells in a colony representing an aggregate of those cells derived from a single originating bacteria.
The process by which bacterial cells are grown under controlled conditions.
The process that transports ingested food through the digestive system to process and break it down into nutrients that can be absorbed, or turn it into waste material that can be eliminated.
Digestive Enzymes
Enzymes that break down polymeric macromolecules into their smaller building blocks, in order to facilitate their absorption by the body. Digestive enzymes are diverse and are found in the saliva secreted by the salivary glands, in the stomach secreted by cells lining the stomach, in the pancreatic juice secreted by pancreatic exocrine cells, and in the intestinal (small and large) secretions, or as part of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
The duodenum is the first section of the small intestine starting at the lower end of the stomach. The walls of the duodenum are highly convoluted to increase the surface area for absorption of nutrients. The duodenum is largely responsible for the breakdown of food in the small intestine, using enzymes.
Bacterial imbalance characterized by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria.
Salts that conduct electricity when in solution; they are found in body fluids, in the tissues, and in the blood. Examples are chloride, calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. Proper balance of electrolytes is essential for muscle coordination, heart function, fluid absorption and excretion, nerve function and concentration.
Enterococcus faecalis TH10
This strain was discovered by Dr. Iichiroh Ohhira, and was isolated from the Malaysian food Tempeh. This strain has been proven to be 6.25 stronger in proteolytic activity than any other known strain of lactic acid bacteria. Enterococcus faecalis TH10 has been found to produce compounds that help in multiple ways to promote a balanced microbiome and healthy gastrointestinal function.
Tissue composed of cells that line the cavities and surfaces of structures throughout the body. Functions of epithelial cells include secretion, selective absorption, protection, trans-cellular transport and selective permeability.
Essential Fatty Acids
Unsaturated fatty acids that the body cannot manufacture and that may cause nutritional deficiency if not supplied through the diet and or/ supplementation. EFA’s help cells release toxins and absorb nutrients. The two dietary essentials are α-linolenic (Omega-3) and linoleic (Omega-6).
Flax Oil
Flax oil provides a high concentration of Omega-3 often lacking in modern diets, balances the common excess Omega-6 intake and acts as a base when synthesizing other fatty acids in the body.
The collective bacteria and other microorganisms that inhabit the outside or inside surfaces of people (or animals). There are three main floras in relation to the digestive system: the intestinal, the oral, and the vaginal.
Free radical
An unstable molecule that causes oxidative damage by stealing electrons from surrounding molecules, thereby disrupting activity in the body's cells.
Gastrointestinal tract
The stomach and intestinal tracts involved in digestion and the elimination of waste products.
The branch of medicine that studies the digestive system and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, which include the organs from the mouth to the anus.
This is another term for the digestive tract, which is the hollow tube that stretches from the mouth to the anus.
Helicobacter pylori
A gram-negative bacterium that can weaken the protective coating of the stomach, allowing digestive juices to irritate the sensitive stomach lining. H. pylori is the bacteria responsible for most ulcers and many cases of stomach inflammation.
Human Microbiome Project
NIH sponsored project to study microorganisms present in or on five different parts of the human body using live volunteers.
Immunoglobulin A (IgA)
IgA is an antibody that plays a critical role in mucosal immunity.
Immunoglobulin E (IgE)
IgE is an antibody that is only found in mammals. All of us carry IgE in small amounts. Allergic persons, however, produce IgE in abnormal quantities. During the sensitization period in allergy, IgE is overproduced and reacts with cells that produce chemicals that cause inflammation and the typical allergic symptoms.
Immunoglobulin G (IgG)
The class of immunoglobulin normally present in largest amount in the blood. They are the smallest but most common antibody. IgG antibodies are very important in fighting bacterial and viral infections.
Immunoglobulin M (IgM)
The first antibody produced in response to an infection. They are found in the blood and lymph fluid. They also cause other immune system cells to destroy foreign substances.
The body’s response or reaction to infection, irritation or injury. Inflammation is characterized by pain, redness, swelling and heat. It may be acute or chronic. The inflammatory response directs immune system components to the site of injury or infection.
Lactobacillus organisms
Normal inhabitants of the human mouth, intestine and vagina. Lactobacillus can also live in fermented products. They produce lactic acid in the digestive tract, which is vital for overall health. Some nutritional benefits gained from lactic acid include an improved nutritional value of food, control of intestinal infections, and control of serum cholesterol levels.
L. acidophilus
The most commonly known probiotic bacterium. It is found primarily in the small intestine where it produces natural antibiotics called “lactocidin” and “acidophilin”. These increase immune resistance against such harmful bacteria and fungi as Candida albicans, Salmonella, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus.
Lactobacillus brevis
Important in the synthesis of vitamins D and K. Research studies have shown that L. brevis decreases intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome), improves intestinal micro flora, and has a positive effect on the intestinal immune system.
Lactobacillus bulgaricus
A transient microorganism that roams throughout the GI tract providing an important protective role. L. bulgaricus assists in the metabolism of lipids and may help control cholesterol levels.
Lactobacillus caseii
Closely related to L. acidophilus and L. rhamnosus. It secretes a substance called “peptidoglycan”, which supports the natural defenses of the body and stimulates immune responses in the intestinal tract
Lactobacillus fermentum
An anti microbial and anti-oxidative probiotic that is useful in protecting the vaginal area from vaginitis.
Lactobacillus helveticus
Stimulates the immune and digestive system, controls diarrhea, reduces lactose intolerance and inhibits unfriendly bacteria. L. helveticus enhances the recovery of gut atrophy induced by malnutrition.
Lactobacillus plantarum
L. plantarum has been studied for the treatment of recurrent Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea and for Candida yeast infections. The adherence of this bacterium reinforces the barrier function of the intestinal mucosa, thus preventing the attachment of the pathogenic bacteria.
A microscopic organism that transmits disease.
The group of associated microflora in a human.
A minute living organism, such as bacteria or viruses, that can only be seen under a microscope.
A moist layer of semi-permeable tissue that lines and protects particular organs and cavities throughout the body.
Natural killer cells
A cell that can react against and destroy another cell without prior sensitization to it. Natural killer (NK) cells are part of our first line of defense against virus-infected cells.
Any group of carbohydrates consisting of a small number of simple sugar molecules; most commercial prebiotics are oligosaccharides.
Oxidative Stress
A form of stress on the body caused by the cumulative damage done by free radicals unopposed by antioxidants.
p Coumaric Acid
A phenolic acid, an organic compound that is a hydroxyl derivative of cinnamic acid, that has antioxidant properties.
An organism that lives in or on a host and obtains nourishment from the host.
Any organism or substance, especially a microorganism, capable of causing disease, such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa or fungi.
Chemical substances found in plants that research indicates may have antioxidant characteristics with potential health benefits. Their contribution to the antioxidant capacity of the human diet is much greater than that of vitamins.
Refers to the vast array of compounds that are produced by the metabolic activity of your probiotic bacteria. These probiotic-produced postbiotic compounds play extremely important roles in the regulation of health and in the maintenance of a healthy microbiome.
See also Explaining Postbiotic Metabolites: The Unsung Heroes of Our Health.
Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or activity of bacteria in the digestive system which are beneficial to the health of the body.
Probiotic (American definition)
Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.
Probiotic (Japanese definition)
Probiotics are viable microorganisms, when taken orally beneficially affect the host by improving the intestinal bacterial balance.
Propolis is a natural protective antibiotic substance that bees apply throughout the interior of their hives. Flavonoid-rich, it is derived from plant and tree resins.
Streptococcus thermophilus
This organism is known to be efficient in breaking down lactose, a desirable trait for those who are lactose-intolerant. In addition, it stimulates the production of “cytokine” which are involved with the immune system.
A dietary supplement that contains one or more prebiotics and probiotics that work synergistically.
T lymphocytes
There are two types of T lymphocytes: helper T cells and killer T cells. Helper T cells do not attack invading micro-organisms but decide whether it is a threat and whether to stimulate the B cells to make antibodies. Killer T cells kill the body’s cells that have been invaded by the viruses or bacteria. This prevents the bug from reproducing in the cell and then infecting other cells.
Vitamin E in water soluble form, extracted from vegetable oils. A powerful anti-oxidant that protect cell membranes against damaging effects of free radicals.
One of the two molecule groups that makes up Vitamin E and has great antioxidant properties.
A microscopic infectious agent that is unable to live outside of a host; viruses cannot be killed by antibiotics.
Vitamin D3
A vitamin produced by the body when exposed to ultraviolet light or obtained from dietary sources. Vitamin D3 is a hormone that has an important role in calcium and phosphorus metabolism.
Vitamin E
An important antioxidant that protects cell membranes and other fat-soluble parts of the body, such as LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol), from damage. Several studies have reported that supplements of natural vitamin E help reduce the risk of heart attacks.
A single cell fungi used to leaven bread and also found in cheese and other fermented foods and beverages.

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