Probiotics are live microorganisms that when taken in the right amount confers health benefits in preventing and treating diseases and promoting optimal health standards. There are food supplies, beverages and supplements which contain probiotics.
These live cultured bacteria found in food, beverages and in supplement form includes:-
- Lactobacillus- they are of different species.
- Bifidobacteria- are of different species and inhabits the intestinal tract. They are good markers for intestinal health, improves glucose tolerance and cholesterol in the body.
- Saccharomyces boulardii- a yeast probiotic
- Streptococcus thermophilus
- Enterococcus faecium
There are good and bad bacteria in the body. Maintaining a healthy balance between these two bacteria is of essence for optimal health. Our lifestyle is both the solution and problem to this delicate healthy balance between good and bad bacteria. Misuse of antibiotics, emotional stress, unhealthy food sources are some of the few factors that can influence the balance between good and bad bacteria.
There are food sources which functions like probiotics. These food sources contain a non-digestible carbohydrates which are also resistant to enzymatic digestion in the upper and lower gut. In the lower gut, these non-digestible carbohydrates ferment and produce short chain fatty acids. MedicineNet gives a list of foods that contain these non-digestible carbohydrates like :-
- Sugarcane juice
Benefits of probiotics
Gut health- When the balance between the good and bad bacteria is maintained, gut health is ensured. Health gut helps in elimination of waste products from the body and also getting rid of the harmful bacteria. MedicineNet indicates that, probiotics play an essential role in prevention of infectious diarrhea, antibiotic induced diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, crohn’s disease and necrotizing enterocolitis in newborns,
Intact immune system- it is because of our body’s immune status that we can stay off sickness. When the immune status is compromised, our bodies can’t fight infections well and we tend to get sick more often. Autoimmune diseases are common with weakened immune status like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis. Other common infections are vaginal infections (candidiasis), skin infections, Infectious diarrhea. These are common when the immune status of an individual is compromised.
Other benefits of probiotics may extend to the reproductive tract in which the beneficial bacteria may translocate to the reproductive tract and help to maintain the healthy balance between the bad and good bacteria. The lactobacillus in the vaginal canal helps in maintaining an acidic media that is meant necessary to fend off infections. The acidic media helps to kill germs that may pose as a threat in causing infections.
Prevention of lactose intolerance- each cultured bacteria in either food, beverage or in supplement form play specific role in the body. Streptococcus thermophilus is a bacteria thought to produce enzyme lactase which helps in prevention of lactose intolerance.
Treatment of acne vulgaris- Acne vulgaris or simply acne is characterized by pimple on the face, chest or shoulders with either white or blackheads. Saccharomyces boulardii , a yeast probiotic is good in treatment of acne symptoms.
What is probiotic- MedicineNet.com. Address: http://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics/article.htm.
Acne visual dictionary- MedicineNet.com. Address: http://www.medicinenet.com/acne_visual_dictionary_pictures_slideshow/article.htm.
Probiotic- Wikipedia. Address: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probiotic.