'Live Cultures' or 'Active Cultures' are microorganisms (bacteria) that occur naturally in the human body.
Are these different to Probiotics?
No, Live Cultures and Probiotics are really the same thing and the terms are used interchangeably. Recent European legislation suggests the word 'probiotics' could be seen as making a health claim and this is still scientifically unproven in many of the digestive supplements1. It has proven very difficult to categorically assess the effectiveness of probiotics as a whole due to the vast array of factors including our genetic makeup, and the foods we eat and bacteria we come into contact with.
Why would you take a Live Culture food supplement?
So you are probably thinking 'ew', why would I want to take something that is made of bacteria?!
Well did you know that we humans carry more bacterial cells than human ones? 90% of the cells within us are not ours but microbes. According to Scientific American2, the number of bacteria living within the body of the average healthy adult human are estimated to outnumber human cells 10 to 1!
What you are doing when you take a live culture food supplement is boosting the population of certain bacteria in you body.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Not all of these bacteria are alike. There are hundreds of different types of bacteria, in all parts of our bodies and some play a major role in our lives.
The bad and the ugly are the most notorious, causing everything from tooth decay to tonsillitis to food poisoning...and even death.
The good news is that 70% of bacteria in our bodies are 'good' or beneficial to us. They help us digest food and maintain a healthy balance so the bad guys can't take over.
It's all about BALANCE
"We compulsively wash our hands, spray our countertops and grimace when someone sneezes near us—in fact, we do everything we can to avoid unnecessary encounters with the germ world2."
When we douse our bodies and systems with antibacterial washes and antibiotics, we are effectively wiping our the good guys too. This can create a place where certain bacteria can 'take over' and create an imbalance, if these bacteria a the 'bad' ones, the result can impact our digestive systems, skin, our teeth, breath and causing those nasty infections.
Here is Professor John Tagg, the self-styled 'spokesperson for the germs of the world' talks here on breakfast news.
Streptococcus salivarius and the ecosystems in our mouths and throats
The S. salivarius species, occurs naturally in the mouth alongside over 500 types3 of other bacteria that we come into contact with from the moment we are born through food, drink and general contact with other humans and animals.
While the Streptococcus bacteria has a bad reputation for causing nasty infections like strep throat (tonsillitis) and meningitis, these are only two strains within a genus of over 50 different types.
BLIS K12™ and BLIS M18™ are the strains of the Streptococcus salivarius bacterium.
They are the result of a lifetime of research of Professor John Tagg, a Microbiologist from the University of Otago, New Zealand (see video above). With a dream of one day curing the world of tonsillitis, Professor Tagg derived Streptococcus salivarius K12™ after observing that some children had a greatly reduced occurrence of strep throat (tonsillitis) and oral throat infections when this particular strain of of the species was present.
After years of scientific research and testing, the was able to isolate this microbiota and reproduce it in a simple lozenge.
BLIS M18™ is the second strain of Streptococcus salivarius developed by BLIS Technologies, similar to BLIS K12™, it's naturally occurring in some people and available in a lozenge. While BLIS K12™ has been for developed for the throat, mouth and breath, BLIS M18™ is for support of healthy teeth and gums.
BLIS K12™ and BLIS M18™ are now available in the UK under the brand PROTEC.
The name BLIS comes from the industry term 'Bacteriocin-like Inhibitory Substances' which are a type of microorganism that have shown characteristics of inhibiting other bacteria of the same type.