The World Health Organization defines probiotics as live micro-organisms that confer a health benefit on the host, when administrated in adequate amounts.
Probiotics are basically microorganism such as bacteria, viruses and yeast that are similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut.
Mostly probiotics consist of bacteria, hence the moniker 'friendly bacteria' or 'good bacteria'. These friendly bacteria are vital to proper development of the immune system, to protect against the harmful microorganisms that cause disease. Probiotics can be found in natural foods as well as supplements.
The Need for Probiotics
Our bodies are host to both good and bad microorganisms numbering in the trillions, but this is a delicate balance. This balance is crucial for our health but is too often disturbed due to our poor habits and modern medicine.
One reason is that 'unfriendly' microorganisms such as: disease-causing bacteria, yeast, fungi, and parasites increase and upset the balance. These microorganisms flourish due to lack of hygiene and massive amounts of junk foods that we consume.
The other reason is because of antibiotics, these antibiotics are definitely useful – but repeated use of antibiotics deaths the friendly bacteria, subsequently disrupted the balance.
This disorder causes a variety of diseases such as:
- Vaginal infections
- Infectious diarrhea
- Frequent colds and flu
- High cholesterol levels
- Candida yeast infections
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Bad breath and body odor
- Crohns Disease Symptoms
- Delayed development in children
- Chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia
- Tooth decay and periodontal disease
- Skin problems such as acne, eczema and psoriasis
- Inflammatory bowel disease (eg ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease)
- Helicobacter Pylori (H. Pylori), a bacterium that causes most ulcers and many types of chronic stomach inflammation
Probiotics: Natures Medicine
Probiotic therapies suggest a range of potentially beneficial medicinal uses for probiotics. Probiotics suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria, improve immune functions, enhance the protective barrier of the digestive tract, and help to produce vitamins B and K.
Probiotics are also effective against diseases caused by environmental pollutants and toxins. They form a natural barrier against diseases by building colonies of good bacteria in the small and large intestine.
Probiotics: Sources and Supplements
There are many strains such as: Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces and Streptococcus – and not all strains are probiotic. For example, not all strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus are probiotic, although they are all good bacteria.
A good source of natural probiotics is live yogurt, Japanese Miso, Tempeh and some cheeses; but you cant be sure if you are getting the right amount or the right bacteria's, so it is always a good idea to use supplements in addition.
Supplements come in various formats such as powders, tablets and liquids. They contain millions of live bacteria to boost and replenish levels of good bacteria, creating a harmonious balance.
An effective Probiotic supplement should have:
- A single dose of probiotic supplement should have a minimum of 10,000,000 live bacteria
- The bacteria should be a combination of different strains with one or more from the Lactobacillus family
- The bacteria's have to be in their natural state and alive so they can multiply instantly in the gut
- The probiotic supplement should be a 'certified organic' with the official endorsement
So when choosing a supplement you have to be careful that it is from a reputable company, ensuring the delivery of maximum health benefits.
Source by Sitwat Khalid