top of page

What is lactic acid bacteria?

Lactic acid bacteria are microorganisms that belong to the group of bacteria and are common in various environments, including the human digestive tract and dairy products. These bacteria are capable of producing lactic acid, which gives many foods their sour taste. They also have several beneficial properties, especially for digestion and strengthening the immune system.

The history of lactic acid bacteria is closely related to food preservation and fermentation processes:

  • Fermentation, including fermentation by lactic acid bacteria, was already known to people thousands of years ago. Early cultures used this method to preserve food and enhance flavor;

  • At the beginning of the 20th century, scientists began to understand more about the importance of gut microbiota to health. Later, especially in the second half of the 20th century, the role of probiotics, including lactic acid bacteria, in supporting gastrointestinal health and general well-being began to be explored;

  • Since the late 20th century and especially in the early 21st century, probiotics have become a popular dietary supplement. Thanks to scientific progress and better production technologies, products containing lactic acid bacteria are available in a wide variety of forms - as a dietary supplement or as a functional food;

  • In recent decades, there has been much research into the role of lactic acid bacteria in gastrointestinal health, immune system enhancement, and other health-related aspects. This has increased the use of probiotics.

In summary, lactic acid bacteria have been an important part of our cuisine and nutrition, and their importance in the context of health has become increasingly evident over time.


How does lactic acid bacteria become a probiotic and what is it?

Probiotics are live microbes of human origin, the use of which in certain amounts has a positive effect on human health. Lactic acid bacteria such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are mostly used as probiotics, but several other microbes are also used. It should be remembered that not all lactic acid bacteria are probiotics, in other words probiotic is not synonymous with lactic acid bacteria.

The development of the microbe into a probiotic and the scientific evaluation of its health effects are carried out on the basis of international guidelines, i.ethe effects and safety of the microbial strain must be scientifically proven, to call it a probiotic at all.

Health benefits of probiotics

Effect on the immune system: probiotic microorganisms affect the human immune system through several different pathways.

Digestive flora balance and diarrhea: probiotics in particular have been used to balance the digestive flora and for the prevention and treatment of diarrhea (e.g. diarrhea associated with antibiotic treatment, so-called tourist's diarrhea, diarrhea resulting from chemotherapy and rotavirus diarrhea in infants).

Relief of lactose intolerance: milk sugar (lactose) is broken down by the enzyme lactase (β-galactosidase) into glucose and galactose, which are absorbed in the small intestine. Probiotics have the ability to relieve lactose intolerance in certain individuals by providing the human body with the enzyme needed to digest milk sugar.

Food allergies: the cause of food allergies is seen as a wrong response of the body's immune system to certain components of food, i.e. to allergens. Probiotics have the ability to alleviate allergic reactions in the human body, for example by breaking down milk protein in the case of cow's milk allergy.

Reducing the risk of cancerous growths: probiotics are described as having the ability to reduce the risk of colon cancer. The effect is based on reducing the amount of some metabolites, especially mutagens, of the microflora of the large intestine.

The most special features are:

Supporting cardiovascular health.

  • Lowering cholesterol and increasing LDL oxyresistance: cholesterol is undoubtedly important in many functions of the body. At the same time, an excessive level of cholesterol in the blood serum, and especially some of its fractions, is one of the reasons for the development of cardiovascular diseases. Some probiotic microbes have been described as having the ability to influence serum cholesterol levels. Clinical studies have shown that the lactic acid bacterium Lactiplantibacillus plantarum Inducia® developed by BioCC increases the resistance of LDL (low density lipoprotein) to oxidation processes and reduces the content of ox-LDL in the blood.

  • Stabilization and lowering of blood pressure. Probiotics have been documented to have several blood pressure lowering mechanisms, some of which are similar to the effects of blood pressure medications (ACE inhibitors). For example, the lactic acid bacterium L. plantarum Tensia® discovered by BioCC researchers is capable of lowering blood pressure through various mechanisms (it produces nitric oxide with a relaxing effect on blood vessels, di- and tripeptides with a similar effect to ACE inhibitors, polyamines, short-chain fatty acids, CLA, etc.).

  • Antioxidant activity and reduction of oxidative stress levels: recently, the antioxidant activity of lactobacilli and their ability to neutralize reactive oxygen species have been observed. Clinical studies of the probiotic L. plantarum Inducia® have been scientifically proven to lower the risk of atherosclerosis.

Non-infectious intestinal infections: probiotics have been shown to have an effect on small and large non-infectious intestine inflammations, incl. alleviating ailments (bloating and pain) caused by Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Combinations of probiotic microbes with different properties have proven to be particularly effective.

Oral health: oral and gum diseases are one of the most common health problems in all population groups. Influencing the microbial communities in the oral cavity for the prevention of caries and periodontitis using probiotic microbes is a relatively new trend.

Some of the aforementioned properties are common to most probiotics, especially aspects related to digestion and gut health. Targeted properties (e.g. lowering cholesterol or blood pressure, antioxidant activity) are strain-specific, so not all probiotics have these properties.

As a result of years of continuous research and development, the researchers of BioCC OÜ, a company operating in Tartu, have developed and patented a number of useful probiotic lactic acid bacteria in cooperation with researchers from the University of Tartu. BioCC's brand Nordwise® owns food supplements that contain precisely these patented beneficial bacteria, vitamins, and minerals that support the specific health effects of the probiotic microbe strain. 
The Nordwise® brand belongs to  to Nordwise Biotech OÜ, a subsidiary of BioCC OÜ.

bottom of page