Probiotics and your health
What are probiotics?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines probiotics as “living organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”
Probiotics are some types of bacteria, not all bacteria are bad, there are the good ones, and the probiotics fall into that category. Scientist estimates that there are about 500 different species of bacteria live in and on us. In the human gut, there are about one trillion micro-organisms in there belonging to these 500 species. Probiotics mean “for life” and you should think of probiotics as a friendly and good bacteria.
Is Probiotics new to us?
Absolutely no, foods containing them have been with us for thousands of years. It is referred to as fermented milk by the Romans.
Elie Metchnikoff, a scientist who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1908, studied peasants in Bulgaria, who lived longer than 100 years. He deduced that their good health and long lives were due to a microbe in a type of yogurt that they ate; he subsequently named this type of bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus.
A lot of talks have been focused more on the harmful bacteria than the friendly ones. Fermented milk products were only available in the Middle-East and south-western Europe but due to migration, it has spread across the world, and many people are getting to know their benefits.
Probiotics and Our Health
Humans can benefits from probiotics in the following ways as stated below:
Strengthening the Immune System – if your immune system isn’t up to par, it makes you vulnerable to harmful micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeast) that can lead to illness. People with uncontrolled diabetes also have a vulnerable immune system; this is because the study has shown constant high blood sugar to weaken the immune defenses, likewise sleeplessness and stress. But you can strengthen your immune system via proper rest and a good diet. It is established by researchers that including probiotics in your diet can strengthen your immune system to fight against the disease.
How Probiotics do it – good bacteria may somehow communicate with the body system via the immune cells in the digestive tract to launch an attack against harmful invaders. They may also outnumber harmful bacteria by taking up space and food, thereby reducing the chances of invaders to survive.
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Lowering the Effects of Antibiotics – Antibiotics are like a double-edged sword, they kill the harmful bacteria on one hand and also destroys the useful bacteria throughout the body on the other hand including the digestive tract, the urinary tract, and reproductive organs. As a result of this, one infection can be swapped for another.
Taking probiotics has been shown to reduce antibiotics induced diarrhoea and be helpful to women who get yeast infection anytime they use an antibiotic.
Improves lactose intolerance – lactose is a sugar found in milk, and lactose intolerance means the inability to digest this sugar. This occurs when there is a lack of lactase, an enzyme needed to break down lactose in the digestive tract. Symptoms can include mild to severe, including abdominal pain or cramping, gas, bloating, nausea or diarrhoea.
How probiotics can help: The Lactobacillus genus of bacteria (which includes many different species) converts lactose to lactic acid, this is why some people with lactose intolerance can eat yoghurt or drink acidophilus milk without experiencing negative effects.
Fighting Irritable bowel syndrome – this is not a disease but a common digestive system disorder. And one of the most difficult to treat. There are few medicines available to treat IBS. IBS signs include constipation, pain, cramping, diarrhoea, and bloating. Some people get relieved by cutting out caffeine and alcohol, eating more fibre and avoiding refined carbohydrates. Stress reduction, massage, yoga, and exercise can also help.
How Probiotics help – One study showed that a multibacterial probiotic reduced diarrhea in 84 people with IBS compared with those given a placebo (inactive pill). Combining this without legendary Forever Aloe Vera Gel will treat IBS in no time.
Combating C. difficile infection – If you or someone you know has ever been hospitalised, you may be familiar with a common infection called Clostridium difficult, or C. diff for short. C. diff infection usually sets in after a course of antibiotics. Although it doesn’t affect everyone, the symptoms can include watery diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea, blood or pus in stool and dehydration. Symptoms can be from mild to very severe. In extreme cases, it can cause kidney failure, bowel perforation, and even death. C.diff is common in hospitals and other healthcare facilities; it is thought to be spread by workers who don’t adequately wash their hands. Healthy people usually don’t get sick from C.diff, but if you’re ill and given antibiotics, the antibiotics may wipe off both good and bad bacteria that can keep C.diff under check.Not all antibiotics work on all strains, and some might make the infection worse.
How probiotics can help: Fortunately, several types of probiotics have been shown in studies to prevent or reduce diarrhoea caused by C. diff infection. A probiotic yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii, along with antibiotics may also help prevent recurrent C. diff infection.
Other Health benefits of probiotics include –
- Prevention and treatment of eczema in infant
- treating kidney stones,
- lowering the risk of heart disease,
- reducing inflammation linked to arthritis,
- fighting cavities.
- Post-pregnancy fat
- Colon cancer (research on-going)
- Peptic Ulcer (research on-going)
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