fbpx
Probiotics and Health

Probiotics and Health

An area of increasing popularity in the medical community is probiotics and their impact on health. Probiotics are defined as live microorganisms that can provide health benefits to the host [1]. In recent years, scientists have performed more studies examining the effect that probiotics have on human health, especially the gastrointestinal tract. Results indicate that overall health is linked to the levels of bacteria in the digestive system, and probiotics can help manage friendly bacteria balance. In addition to improved general wellness, it has been shown that probiotics can have a positive impact on immune health, weight loss, and many other functions.

The most prominent benefit of probiotics is the impact on digestive health. Being live bacteria micro-cultures, probiotics are able to aid in the restoration of proper bacteria levels in the gut. The human digestive system contains both “good” and “bad” bacteria, and the levels of each can vary, depending on numerous factors. Sickness, poor diet, certain medications, and other variables can decrease the number of good bacteria present and increase the amount of bad cultures. Many negative health consequences can result from this imbalance such as weight gain and heightened sensitivity to allergies. Probiotics can be taken as supplements or by consuming certain foods, and will help to increase friendly bacteria levels in the gut. They have also been seen to help combat acute diarrhea. [2]

In addition to improved digestive health, probiotics also have positive effects on the immune system. Experiments show that probiotics can reduce and lessen the severity of respiratory infections in children, and also help prevent symptoms of the common cold [3,4]. The specific strain, Lactobacillus crispatus, can even reduce the risk of urinary tract infections in women [5]. Many studies are still being performed to explore the impact of probiotics on the immune system, but results have already indicated their effectiveness in this area especially when dealing with fighting infections.

To receive the numerous benefits associated with probiotics, it is recommended to consume at least one billion live organisms per day. These bacteria can be found in certain fermented dairy products, primarily yogurt, as well as fermented foods like kimchi. There is also a wide range of probiotic supplements available for purchase, and many can even be shopped for online. The consumption of probiotics has been linked to numerous health benefits, and is a great addition to your everyday diet.

References

[1] Hill C, Guarner F, Reid, et. al. Expert consensus document. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014 Aug; 11(8):506-14.

[2] Brown AC, Valiere A. Probiotics and medical nutrition therapy. Nutr Clin Care. 2004;7(2):56-68.

[3] Hatakka K, Savilahti E, et. al. Effect of long term consumption of probiotic milk on infections in children attending day care centres: double blind, randomised trial. BMJ. 2001 Jun 2;322(7298):1327.

[4] King S., Glanville J., et. al. Effectiveness of probiotics on the duration of illness in healthy children and adults who develop common acute respiratory infectious conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Nutr. 2014 Jul 14; 112(1): 41–54.

[5] Stapleton AE, Au-Yeung M, et. al. Randomized, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial of a Lactobacillus crispatus probiotic given intravaginally for prevention of recurrent urinary tract infection. Clin Infect Dis. 2011 May;52(10):1212-7.

0 Comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.