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What are probiotics?
Indeed, that is a good question. So what are probiotics after all? In order to be able to respond to such a question, we need to analyze a little the eating tendency that our society is headed towards, because it is a more important aspect than you may think. Now people usually consider that an overweight body can cause health problems strictly due to the extra fat, but this may not always be the case. Also, the same problems can be found in a perfectly fit and strong body that only appears to be flawless, but in fact it is not. In fact, bellow that fine looking body, there are a lot of bacteria swarming in your gut and these bacteria are not there just to hang around. Seems like an apocalyptic scenario, but I assure you it is more than that. However, it is not all bad, because among all that bacteria, there are many that take care of your digestive processes. The rest are responsible for a wide variety of health problems and not everyone is aware of this. There have been a lot of testing trials over the years through which the researchers tried to make a clear separation between good and bad bacteria and they finally have. Their conclusion was that some bacteria can offer comfort in what is called irritable bowel syndrome and can also help against vaginal yeast infections with the same efficiency. But it soon seemed like these bacteria are even more efficient than that and that their influence can even be observed in other more important areas such as vascular health, anti-depression and most important of all, cancer stabilization. The good bacteria are called “probiotics” and their influence in one’s health is still to be determined by scientists, but one thing is certain: probiotics are not a magical remedy. That does not mean that their benefits are now widely known and appreciated. On the contrary, they are so famous and used that there are entire industries based on using probiotics as a main source of nutrition and natural medication. Take the yogurt industry, for example, and you will observe that there are billions of products coming from this sector, being sold in the US alone every year, according to the Specialty Food Association. But there is not only the yogurt at stake because there are plenty other foods that contain probiotics, although not in the same amount. What makes the difference is the amount, which makes some products more efficient than others.
Among the most efficient probiotic sources are the fermented foods, which is why you see them in the commercials all the time.
How bad is my body in need of probiotics?
Well, to be honest, probiotics are not an absolute necessity if you are looking to remain healthy and strong. That does not mean that you should not take them into consideration when planning for your next meal or considering your future diet planning. These tiny but useful microorganisms are very efficient in helping with the digestive processes and will not only improve your system’s productivity and efficiency but they will also provide protection against harmful and unwanted bacteria that can have a meaningful impact on your health. Now, prebiotics are a certain type of non-digestible carbohydrate, being used as a food for probiotics that, when combined with prebiotics, form synbiotics. This refers to those fermented foods that we were talking about earlier, including yogurt and kefir. They contain live bacteria that use the fermented environment to thrive. On the other hand, prebiotics are usually found in a completely different are of the food sector, including onions, honey, bananas and so on.
Now returning to the main question: How bad is my body in need of probiotics? The answer should not include the word “need”, because probiotics, like we have already discussed previously, are not absolutely essential to the organism, but a beneficial factor in some minor affections. And in the general functionality of body. These being said, here are the most widely known benefits that probiotics are responsible for:
- Help treating diarrhea and have a more powerful effect when combined with antibiotics or other relevant medication
- Prevent and treat various vaginal yeast infections and also assists in providing relief against urinary tract infections
- Help easing the irritable bowel syndrome
- Speed up the treatment of specific intestinal tract problems
- Reduce the symptoms cause by flu and colds
There are no specific side effects, aside from pretty rare and harmless ones.
Now let’s talk a little about what probiotics really help against these affections and which should you take into consideration when looking to improve your health. First you need to know what not all probiotics are efficient in fighting against diarrhea and most of them are only useful in certain types of diarrhea, which is why you need to be aware of all these variations. There has been a lot of testing in order to establish what makes probiotics useful and efficient and what areas do they act on and, when talking about children diarrhea, it has been proven that probiotics are mostly efficient in affections caused by the rotavirus. Of course, in order to reach a higher understanding regarding this subject, further analysis had to be considered and the results showed those specific probiotics that are relevant in the treatment of these affections. These are: Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus reuteri and Saccharomyces boulardii. Aside from these, they have also identified few other probiotics responsible for positive effects in such cases.
An interesting fact that has been noticed during these studies if the fact that antibiotics, for example, which most people use when experiencing some health problems, can actually disrupt the normal bacterial balance in your body. What does that mean? It means that antibiotics can and will destroy the good bacteria, as well as the bad one, and this almost always leads to one thing: acute diarrhea. Not only that, but such cases are common to as much as 30% of the people and this seems to be on an upward road. Further studies have been conducted on both adults and children in order to establish once and for all the connection between probiotics and antibiotics and the result was that one does not exclude the other. On the contrary, when combining probiotics with antibiotics, the effects are positive and this way you can avoid unwanted side effects, such as diarrhea, as long as probiotics are administered prior to the antibiotic treatment. Furthermore, it seems like the most efficient probiotics are Saccharomyces boulardii and Lactobacillus.
Another type of diarrhea is called the “traveler’s diarrhea” and for a long time it has been considered that probiotics are not working against this type of illness. Traveler’s diarrhea is caused by the infected food or water that the subject consumes in different occasions and many cases are known where the affection will last for a whole month or even longer in certain aggravated cases. Not even now there are no conclusive profs that probiotics are efficient in treating this type of diarrhea, but the search still continues and there have been several testing sessions in order to determine whether they are effective or not. Some of the older studies have shown no effect of the probiotics over this kind of problem, but a 2007 report reached to the conclusion that probiotics are actually effective. The evidence gathered so far point towards S. boulardii, L. acidophilus and B. bifidum.
Now we will move to a more serious type of diarrhea, which is a type of diarrhea cause by C. difficile. C. Difficile is actually an extremely aggressive bacteria and the type of diarrhea that it causes can even lead to death in many cases, aside from colon inflammation and other serious health problems. The role that probiotics play in this area is, first of all, one of guardian. This means that aside from curing and cleaning, probiotics also offer protection, preventing that unwanted bacteria from coming back and causing further damage. This is a particularly interesting and important point, because it has been proven that recurrent infections are increasingly harder to control and cure as they become more resilient in the face of medication.
The specific probiotic being tested for these types of problems is S. boulardii, and the testing trials involved several subjects taking probiotics along with placebo so that the effects would be relevant enough. The group that was treated with S. boulardii recorded an almost 90% positive results, meaning that only 5 out of 30 people contracted diarrhea after using probiotics. This result is way better than the placebo group, because in that case only 22% of the subjects recorded positive results, which means that 24 out of 30 people contracted diarrhea. This is more than relevant in showing that probiotics are effective in many diarrhea cases.
Aside from diarrhea, several studies have also shown that probiotics may also assist in treating the inflammatory bowel disease. Specifically, probiotics can help treating ulcerative colitis, which is a form of inflammatory bowel disease and even more than that, probiotics may also help in treating Crohn’s disease. However, the results were not definitive and less conclusive than the researchers would have liked to see.
What are the health benefits that we can get from probiotics?
This is the right question, isn’t it? It is redundant to say that everyone prefers to be healthy rather than sick, but you should consider that not everyone take this statement at its true value. Yes, every people want that, but not everyone actually sits down, thinks about it and starts taking measures. If you only get worried about your health when you get sick, then there is something wrong with the way you set your priorities. You should keep in mind that preventing a disease is always easier and cheaper than to actually treat it. Now for those not that familiarized with probiotics, you need to know one important thing. Despite of the fact that you may consider them new in the food industry, actually probiotics are bacteria that accompany us ever since we were born. The newborn actually picks good bacteria from his mother as he goes through the birth canal and an important aspect of this is that the Cesarean does not fall under the same category. This means that only a natural birth can provide the child with these essential good bacteria.
So what do probiotics actually do? In fact, there are 2 known ways through which probiotics can assist and improve our health and protect us from future harm. First thing that you should know about is that probiotics play an important role in our digestive tract, providing a much needed balance between good and bad bacteria, but this is useless as long as we interfere with this process. Most if not all people do it without knowing and without considering the consequences. There are a lot of ways through which we can interfere with our own inner chemical balance and these are: poor dietary plans, high levels of emotional stress, a constant lack of sleep, overusing antibiotics and other medication, various drugs and environmental problems that can cause an imbalance in your digestive processes. A healthy digestive tract will efficiently process the food and eliminate toxins and every other thing that can cause harm and disrupt your system’s chemical balance. This is where the good bacteria can provide their assistance, which is why everyone should be aware of their positive effects. If you are interested to buy probiotic you need to read Perfect Biotics – Probiotic America Review .
The second way through which probiotics impact our health is their determined effect on our immune system. If you think this is redundant or unimportant, it is actually quite the contrary that is true. In fact, it has been determined that probiotics’ effect on our immune system is actually the most important aspect of all. You need to take into consideration that our immune system is everything that stands between us and various germs that can cause a wide range of health issues, some more serious than others. Any malfunction in our immune system will result in an increased vulnerability in the face of allergens, bad bacteria and all types of diseases. The easiest way through which you can improve your immune system’s response to alien threats is to control what you eat on a daily basis. It may not be the ultimate resolution to your problems, but it is a step forward and, as you may know, every step towards your goal is a small victory in itself. Everyone should take care of their health because there is no other asset that would value more than that.