Recently the inclusion of the micro-organisms known as probiotics to foods and supplements has increased. This is because the studies are showing that these micro-organisms can provide us with many health benefits. The extent to which they can benefit us is dependent on the type of micro-organism contained in the food or supplement, and in the condition of our own body.
Probiotics: What are they?
There is a bacterium that is present in the human body that is considered to be good for us. Probiotics are good bacteria that can be found naturally in a wide variety of things. The ones that are being added to the supplements are comparable with the ones that occur naturally in the human body so they are beneficial in replacing those we lose due to illness, age, medications, and lifestyle changes.
What do the Probiotics do?
When you take a supplement that contains probiotics or you eat something like yogurt that has had them added to it they go directly to your small intestine. Once they are inside the small intestine the conditions are perfect to make them grow and flourish.
They remain in the small intestine multiplying and keeping the levels of good bacteria at a normal level so that when you develop something like a bacterial infection they can stop it from becoming a devastating infection.
Are Probiotics used just for Infections?
Probiotics live and thrive in the small intestine which is a part of your digestive system. They are frequently recommended for use to help people relieve the symptoms of some of the digestive discomforts or problems that people experience. They have been proven to aid in reducing the symptoms of:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Colitis and the prevention of colon cancer
- Inflammatory bowel disorder
- Ulcerations in the stomach or intestinal track
- Urinary tract infections and their complications
Benefits of Restoring Your Good Bacteria
Probiotics help us to rebuild the good bacteria we have lost. The biggest reason for the loss of these good bacteria is because we have been taking antibiotics to treat an infection. The antibiotic will effectively kill all the bacteria in the body because it cannot tell the good from the bad. Probiotics can help restore the balance of bacteria that we are supposed to have. The good bacteria then have many health benefits like:
- Helping to lower and maintain cholesterol levels
- Helping to maintain and lower blood pressure
- Fighting off infections
- Preventing bacterial diseases from happening
- Reducing the symptoms of lactose intolerance
- The reduction of inflammation and swelling in the intestines
- Fighting gum disease
- Helping to prevent tooth decay
- The treatment of bacterial skin conditions such as eczema
Currently there are studies being conducted to see what benefit’s the probiotics may have for diabetes patients.
Where do Probiotics Come From?
The best sources of probiotics are yogurts and dairy foods like soft cheeses. A lot of people either have trouble digesting dairy products or they are vegan so they do not consume these products. In those cases the best places to get the beneficial good bacteria is from:
- Fermented cabbage like sauerkraut
- Soy based drinks
- Pickles or other pickled vegetables