Probiotics – Effective Digestive Health Alternative Option?

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast which are good for your health especially the digestive system. We often think that bacteria is the leading cause of health problems but the body is full of bacteria both bad and good. Probiotics is the good bacteria in the body and it is responsible for keeping the gut healthy.

Probiotics are found naturally in the body but they are also found in certain foods and supplements including:

· Yogurt
· Aged cheese
· Kefir
· Kimchi
· Miso
· Sauerkraut
· Soy beverages
· Tempeh

Other products such as flour, chocolates, juices and cereals are probiotic fortified.

How Different Types of Probiotics Work

The gut contains both harmful and beneficial bacteria. According to digestive experts, the balance of bacteria in the gut should be 15 per cent of the bad bacteria and 85 per cent of the good bacteria.

If this ratio gets out of balance, the health condition is known as dysbiosis meaning that there is too much of a certain type of bacteria, yeast or fungus which affects the body negatively. By taking probiotics supplements and food, it helps to balance these ratios by replacing them which in turn keeps the body working as it should.

There are many types of bacteria in the body which are classified as probiotics. Each type has different benefits. The two major groups are:

· Lactobacillus

This is the most common type of probiotic. It is mostly found in yogurt and other fermented foods. Its different strain helps with diarrhea as well as help people who cannot digest lactose; the sugar contained in milk.

· Bifidobacterium

This type of probiotic can be found in dairy products and it helps to alleviate the symptoms of IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) and some other health conditions.

Benefits of Probiotics

Though most of the health benefits of probiotics still require scientific research, probiotics can help with the following:

· Digestive health

We have over 1000 types of bacteria living in the digestive track that helps in the breakdown of food and absorption of nutrients. However, after taking antibiotics, the drug kills even the healthy intestinal flora that helps in digestion hence causing health problems such as diarrhea or some form of gastrointestinal distress.

As a result, doctors prescribe probiotics to add healthful bacteria in the digestive track. Probiotics helps with certain type of digestive track issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain bloating, constipation and cramps.

Generally, probiotics enhances the health of the digestive system.

· Urinary Health

According to research, probiotics is a great complement to antibiotics among people suffering from urinary tract infections.

Regular probiotics helps to prevent bacteria from entering the urinary tract by maintaining balance of the healthy bacteria on the adherence sites of the tract.

· Allergies

According to research, there is s 30 per cent decrease in the occurrence of childhood eczema, an early sign of allergies among women who take probiotics during pregnancy.

· Immunity

One of the main function of healthful bacteria is to boost one’s immune. By eating probiotic rich foods, a person is able to maintain a healthier immune system.

· Obesity

According to a study carried out in 2006, the gut bacteria of obese people is different from that of normal weighted people which indicates that the gut flora plays a role in maintaining a healthy weight.
Research also shows that probiotics helps obese people who have undergone weight loss surgery to maintain their weight.

· Brain function

According to researchers at UCLA, probiotics can be beneficial to the function of the brain. In addition, probiotics bacteria has the potential to change the brain neurochemistry as well as treat depression and anxiety.

How to Use Them Safely

Just like foods, FDA regulates antibiotics. They are not regulated like medications. Unlike drug manufacturers, makes of probiotic supplements and food do not have to prove that their products are safe for use or even that they work. Therefore, you should confirm with your doctor which supplement ill work best for you as well as the dose.

Side Effects Of Probiotics

Probiotics supplements and foods are generally safe to most people though individuals with immune system problems as well as those with serious health conditions should not take them.

It is prudent to talk to the doctor to determine if they are OK for you. Some mild side effects of probiotics include:

· Diarrhea
· Upset stomach
· Bloating

Though it only happens for the first few days after you begin using them Probiotics may also trigger allergic reactions, if this happens, you should stop taking them and contact your doctor.

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