Probiotics can help to prevent illness and may significantly improve health throughout a person’s lifetime.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, provide a health benefit for the host. Probiotic bacteria favorably alter the balance of the intestinal microflora, inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, promote good digestion, boost immune function and increase resistance to infection.
People with flourishing intestinal colonies of beneficial bacteria are better equipped to fight the growth of disease-causing bacteria. Probiotics such as Lactobacilli and bifidobacteria maintain a healthy balance of intestinal flora by producing organic compounds like lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and acetic acid that increase the acidity of the intestine and inhibit the reproduction of many harmful bacteria. Probiotic bacteria also produce substances called bacteriocins, which act as natural antibiotics to kill undesirable microorganisms.
Trillions of bacteria normally live in the human digestive tract. These bacteria and their human hosts have a symbiotic relationship: the bacteria help digest food, provide protection from disease, and improve immune functions.
Without these bacteria, humans could not survive very long. Unfortunately, many people suffer from illnesses related to an imbalance of these gastrointestinal bacteria illnesses that are caused by too many aggressive bacteria and too few defensive, “healthy” ones.
Allergies, eczema, vaginal and urinary tract infections, diarrhea, and inflammatory bowel disease are just a few of the medical conditions known to arise when unhealthy bacteria overgrow and outnumber the healthy ones in the human gastrointestinal system. Fortunately, probiotics provide an easy way to put things back into balance.
Probiotics and Weightloss
Gut microbiota composition is regarded as one of the major etiological factors involved in the control of body weight and many studies investigating its link to obesity have been conducted in the past several years. Dysbiosis of the gut microbiota is an important factor in weight gain, meaning that alterations in the composition of gut microbiota show a disturbed balance of beneficial and detrimental bacteria.
This unbalanced state promotes intestinal inflammation-induced metabolic disorders (insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity) and the administration of probiotics was considered as an important therapeutic manipulation in many studies. Several clinical studies have shown administration of diversified probiotic flora of Bifidobacterium spp and Lactobacillus spp resulted in decreased weight, BMI, and fat mass in subjects. They also showed probiotic intake significantly reduced weight-gain inducing endotoxemia and chronic gut inflammation. The probiotic-induced weight loss in women was associated not only with significant reductions in fat mass and circulating leptin concentrations but also with the relative abundance of bacteria of the Lachnospiraceae (a bad bacteria which induces weight gain) in the gut.
Maintenance of the gut environment is a key factor in determining outcomes in the care of critically ill and postoperative patients. The use of non-digestible oligosaccharides (prebiotics) can fortify intestinal microflora and stimulate their growth. Prebiotics has been shown to reduce the rate of infection and restore health in sick and postoperative patients. A combination of prebiotics and probiotics is referred to as “synbiotics”. Synbiotic treatment in critically ill patients is limited but results from studies of severe acute pancreatitis, chronic hepatitis, and liver transplantation offer great hope for the future.
Probiotics may be beneficial for the following problems:
- Yeast infections
- Tooth Decay
- Food Allergies
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Impaired immune system
- Gastric Ulcers
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