Did You Know Probiotics Does Wonders to Your Digestive System?
Healthy Living

Did You Know Probiotics Does Wonders to Your Digestive System?

Mehvish Hamdare profile Authored by Mehvish Hamdare on 5 Sep 2014 - 15:04.

Bacteria have a reputation for causing disease, so the idea of gulping down a few billion a day for your health might seem weird. But a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria. Many people take probiotic bacteria in their food in the form yoghurt/curd or take them in capsule form.

Probiotics: Healthy Bacteria

The word probiotics is originally taken from Greek word “pro” meaning “for” and “bios” “meaning life”. An expert panel commissioned by The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) defined probiotics as “Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” They are also called ‘friendly bacteria’ or ‘good bacteria’ as they improve absorption of nutrients, improve immunity, aid in better digestion, improve synthesis of vitamin, and prevent some bacteria and yeast infections The definition itself affirms life and health. Once in the colon, the bacteria multiply and help to keep a balance between the good and bad bacteria that live there. Probiotics are added to certain foods and two of the most common strains of probiotics are lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.

How do probiotics work?

Our guts are filled with billions of friendly bacteria that help regulate our immune systems. The bacteria in the intestine become disturbed or altered by consumption of some antibiotics or drugs, excessive consumption of alcohol, stress and leading a poor lifestyle causes some digestive disorders or disease. Probiotics help in improving intestinal function and maintaining the integrity of the lining of the intestines. It helps by increasing the population of the gut’s good bacteria by adding billions of different strains of flora.

The best way to ensure optimal gut flora is to regularly consume traditionally fermented foods. Healthy options include:

  • Yoghurt/Lassi (sweet buttermilk)
  • Buttermilk
  • Soy Milk
  • Cultured cottage cheese
  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh (substitute for tofu)

Benefits of probiotic food:

Maintains low pH

Supplementing your diet with probiotics, may help you to sustain a low pH level in your digestive tract that may prove to be beneficial by warding off certain infectious diseases that are passed through oral ingestion.

Prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD)

Consumption of antibiotics tends to wipe out the protective gut bacteria and disrupt the normal balance in the intestines which results in diarrhea. In a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association it was conclude that adjunct probiotic administration is associated with a reduced risk of AAD.

Help in Irritable bowel syndrome

Probiotics therapy may help reduce abdominal bloating and flatulence in some people with IBS, and they may help relieve pain and provide general relief.

Probiotics for pouchitis

There is growing evidence that probiotics contain beneficial bacteria may help prevent the development of pouchitis (inflammation of the lining of the internal pouch). According to a study published in American Gastroenterological Association Treatment with VSL#3 (probiotic supplements) is effective in the prevention of the onset of acute pouchitis.

Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common vaginal infection wherein the conditions of the vaginal tract change and allow anaerobic bacteria to overgrow. Lactobacillus acidophilus (L. acidophilus) is the most commonly used probiotic, or "friendly" bacteria.

A small number of clinical studies suggest that eating yogurt with L. acidophilus cultures may help. Some people also use L. acidophilus to treat or prevent vaginal yeast infections, although the evidence about whether it is effective is mixed. You should talk to a doctor about using probiotics for treating bacterial vaginosis before attempting to treat yourself.

Enhance immune system

Studies have suggested that consuming yogurt or milk that contains specific strains of Lactobacillus or taking supplements with Lactobacillusor Bifidobacterium may improve the body’s natural immune response.

Reduces the risk of childhood eczema

Improves lactose tolerance

Lactose intolerance can be an embarrassing problem for some people as it can lead to gastric upset, bloating, gas, cramps, diarrhea and other digestive issues. Studies have shown that people with lactose intolerance tolerated the lactose in yogurt better than the same amount of lactose in milk. The assumption was that the presence of lactase producing bacteria in the yogurt, especially Lactobacillus acidophilus, contributed to the digestion and absorption of lactose.

 

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*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.