Probiotics: Not Just for Humans Anymore

by J.J. Lin, PhD

Have your beloved four-footed friends experienced loss of appetite and/or energy, maybe even diarrhea, after being boarded or left at a friend's house? Dogs, in many ways, are similar to humans. They, too, experience "stress" when placed in an unfamiliar environment.

For years, scientists have identified that stress directly interrupts the eco-balance of microorganisms naturally present in our gastrointestinal (GI) tracts. Stress has been proven to significantly decrease those populations of the beneficial microorganisms, also known as probiotics. In healthy humans and animals, probiotics have dominant populations throughout the GI tract. Probiotics produce enzymes that support digestion and nutrient absorption. They also produce lactic acids that lower the pH in the GI tract to prevent unfavorable pathogenic microorganisms from replicating, compete against bad microorganisms to prevent infection, and stimulate the host's immune responses that strengthen natural defense mechanisms. When the number of beneficial microorganisms decreases because of physical, chemical, or environmental stress, valuable probiotic functions are diminished, and dogs are prone to illness.


Probiotics are in a delicate, yet dynamic balance in our GI tract. To function effectively, probiotics must be alive in adequate numbers upon reaching a pet's small and large intestines. Scientists have repeatedly demonstrated that at least 1 billion cells of live probiotics must be consumed (by both animals and humans) to experience its benefits. Two challenges pet owners should be aware of to ensure their probiotics provide pets their maximum potency and effectiveness are 1) administering high enough numbers of probiotics so that they arrive alive in the intestinal tract, especially when commercial probiotic products go through highly variable transportation and storage conditions before even reaching the pet owners; and 2) the series of internal defense mechanisms a probiotic must survive upon being fed to your pet, such as the highly acidic environment of the stomach.

Pediococcus acidilactici is one of the beneficial microorganisms naturally existing in an animal's GI tract. Though not a dominant microorganism (like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus,), P. acidilactici is much more resistant to oxygen degradation, high temperatures, and acidic exposure. Saccharomyces boulardii is a probiotic yeast that is commonly used to enhance immune responses and fight infectious diseases like Clostridium. Mitomax, from Imagilin Technology, encapsulates P. acidilactici and S. boulardii in a gelatin capsule, has more than two years of stability, and has high numbers of live microorganisms so as to ensure survival in different transportation and storage conditions. Mitomax's live microorganisms were also shown to survive the acidic environments of the stomach.


Studies also show Mitomax to be safe. Imagilin Technology, along with the University of Maryland, fed rats doses ranging from a half capsule to five capsules of Mitomax per day, and performed thorough morphological, biochemical, histological, and blood translocation examinations. Very similar results were observed between the rats fed with Mitomax and those fed without Mitomax, which indicated no level of toxicity. From these studies, it was concluded that pets taking Mitomax do not suffer from harmful toxic effects.

Mitomax yields excellent benefits for dogs with digestive disorders. Scientists and veterinarians have conducted extensive field studies on over 100 dogs with digestive disorders in 17 animal clinics in eight different Japanese cities. Veterinarians observed significant improvement on dogs either treated only with Mitomax or Mitomax with antibiotics. More than 60 dogs taking Mitomax and boarded for a three-day or longer stay at canine hotels experienced fewer problems with diarrhea, weight loss, or bowel movements compared to dogs fed without Mitomax.

Mitomax and related products, Mitobird and Mitofish, have significant effects on pets suffering from biological or environmental stress. When goldfish were fed Mitofish, a two- to threefold decrease in mortality was seen when compared to fish fed without Mitofish. In studies performed by USDA scientists in Beltsville, MD, birds infected by coccidal parasites were given Mitobird. Researchers detected not only a significant decrease in the numbers of parasites, but an increase in antibodies against parasites.

These studies clearly demonstrate that Mitomax and its related probiotic products are safe and can help pets, such as dogs, cats, small animals, exotic birds, and ornamental fish, who are suffering from digestive problems, stress, and weak immune systems against diseases.