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It is a fact that probiotics are entering the public’s perception increasingly more these days. This is because the health industry is constantly evolving and we are looking for more and more ways of getting the same results or even better, but a lot more effectively and faster.
This is where probiotics come in, because, ever since they have been discovered, the health industry took a major turn for the better.
If there is one thing everybody would agree on that is the fact that we still have a lot to learn about the way they function. So far we have only found out that their main purpose is to promote a healthier and more efficient immune system, take part in the digestive processes, which is one of the main roles, and even treat some digestive problems like bloating, diarrhea and so on.
But the research suggests that there may be a lot involved here. Some studies have claimed that using healthy bacterial strains to support the organism could prove efficient in preventing some types of cancers among other life threatening conditions. However, since the evidence pointing to those conclusions is rather scarce, we should be focusing on what it is already certain.
But before we go any further, let’s jump into the subject a little and talk about probiotics. It is a long known fact that these microorganisms outnumber your body cells by approximately 10:1. This means that there are more bacteria in you than you. If that makes any sense. It could be a potentially scary thought, but it is actually how things are.
Considering their importance, we would have not survived without them because their influence is not to be ignored. The probiotics will be first introduced to us right after we are born. Coming out from the sterilized womb, the first thing we meet is the bacterial strains we collect from the vaginal canal at the moment of birth.
These are useful agents that our mother’s body delivers to use and immediately start working by activating our immune system. While not fully developed yet, a 1 year old baby’s immune system resembles that of an adult and this is only possible due to the consistent and regular bacterial influence.
This is the part where we need to talk about one scary tendency. You get to see a lot of people raising their children like they are porcelain trinket. They make everything possible to keep them safe from germs, bacteria and viruses by surrounding them with 24/7 attention and resourcing to impeccable cleaning, almost raising them in a fully sterilized environment.
Contrary to what you may believe, this is what causes the babies to get sick more often and to prevent them from growing an effective immune system. In adulthood they will have a lot of health problems to account for, because the natural defensive system did not have the chance to develop properly.
But how is that? How does that work? While the parents’ actions are designed to keep the baby safe, the effects are quite the opposite. For quite some time we were simply baffled by this aspect and nobody knew what to make of it. What was going wrong?
Once we have discovered how probiotics work, everything became clearer. It became obvious that the immune system is deeply related to the efficiency of the microbiota. The healthier and the more effective the microbiota is, the stronger and healthier the organism will become. The bacterial rates should be 80/20 for good/bad. Any imbalance in this system will begin causing various health problems.
Those parents that sterilize the environment their babies live in are destroying both beneficial and harmful bacteria, which damages the immune system. In other words, it prevents it from ever developing like it should. The bacterial influence over the human body is essential, especially in the first years of life.
The immune system cannot properly develop without receiving bacteria to exercise on. This is the role of the microbiota – it provides the body with an active bacterial mass whose main goal is to destroy all the competition. In this case, the competition consists in potentially harmful agents that could colonize and destroy the functioning of the organism.
Right from the beginning the immune system will acknowledge the beneficial role of some of the bacteria, as well as the harmful influence of others and will tolerate ones, while destroying the rest. This exercise is essential in the development of a flawless and reactive immune system.
However, this is not everything that these bacteria do. There are a lot of other benefits, as it turned out that they are basically involved in every biological process.
The health benefits of probiotics
This section is particularly important, because it is still an incompletely charted territory. There are still many things we need to find out, because this benefits list is by no means exhaustive. So let’s proceed:
- Decrease the inflammatory response – Simply by reducing the systemic inflammation, the probiotics can help you prevent many health affections being linked to this aspect
- Can fight depression and anxiety pretty efficiently – While the research is not enough into supporting this claim, the evidence surely points towards this conclusion. Especially when talking about strains like Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum, the studies suggest that they could be linked with reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Lower blood cholesterol – While not all of them can do that, at least some strains can. This is why, whenever looking for a probiotic supplement, you should always choose those that contain a higher strain diversity.
- Improve the immune functionality – While the immune system has its own ways to cope with the threats, you cannot deny the beneficial influence of these microorganisms when it comes to this aspect. During both the initial stages of life and later on, in adulthood and old age, the probiotics can successfully tackle and prevent infections and other health affections.
- Improve skin health – As a matter of fact, there are some probiotics that only live at skin level. This is why some consider that antibacterial soaps are rather harmful, because they tend to destroy these agents, along with the harmful ones. Sort of like antibiotics do, which usually causes you diarrhea and digestive issues. Skin related probiotics can help you prevent acne, rosacea and eczema, to name just a few of them.
- Improve urinary and vaginal health
- Take care of your oral region by destroying the harmful cultures of bacteria
- Treat antibiotic related diarrhea
- Counter the irritable bowel syndrome
- Fight against the inflammatory bowel disease symptoms
Like we have already mentioned, these are just a few of the benefits that are coming along with them, with a lot more to be confirmed in the future, as there are around the clock studies analyzing this aspect.
What about probiotic supplements?
Most likely you have first heard of probiotic supplements from the internet, out of the thousands of reviews out there. This is the main reason for why you may be a bit skeptical into ordering one. However, let’s have a look at the facts.
First of all, probiotic supplements are not only in the online environment. Doctors are prescribing them also these days. After the FDA has approved probiotics as legitimate products, even doctors are giving them to patients, especially those who are known to suffer from antibiotic related problems.
Whenever you have to take antibiotics, you have to be ready for an incoming diarrhea almost every time. This is a natural occurrence, because the antibiotics will destroy everything that it is alive in your body. Every live foreign organism that is, including probiotics. The beneficial bacteria will be extinguished along with the harmful pathogens, which will leave your digestive system astray.
In these cases, the best way to go back on track is to use probiotics and doctors will prescribe you probiotic supplements according to the law. This is actually not a false claim, check it out. However, there are only prescribing a certain type of probiotics and they are not condoning the rest of the strains.
But this is not something to be concerned about. After all, this was the case for the strains that they are prescribing now. Before FDA approval, they were widely regarded as not being trustworthy, since there were not enough studies to back them up. After these have been finally met, the situation changed altogether.
There is no question that other probiotic strains will eventually end up being approved by the FDA, leading to the expansion of the medicine sector. Until then we have the supplements. The FDA does not approve health supplements, it only does so for medicinal drugs. But the strains that are being used are the exact same as those used by professional health physicians under the specifications of the law.
However, there is a difference. While the drugs only use certain types of strains, the supplements often combine multiple strains in order to get many effects at once. This is why the probiotic supplements are in many cases a lot more effective than any other drugs, mainly because they are natural and do not contain any ingredient that could come with a potential hazardous side effect.
Regarding the probiotic side effects
This had to be opened. We have talked about all the rest of the aspects and now we are at the side effects section. Usually, the probiotic usage is free from any harm. However, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. There are some cases when taking probiotics would rather cause you more harm than good. In this regard, you should not take probiotic supplements if you:
- You are under the age of 12
It is not that you will experience side effects, it is just that probiotics are concentrated formulas and the immune system may not cope with that concentration. The adults’ organisms are a lot more forged and can deal with them a lot easier.
- You have a compromised immune system
This stands for people who have AIDS and HIV, for instance, as well as other similar health problems
- If you are suffering from any dangerous health affection
In order to avoid complications, the best way to do it is to consult your health physician whenever panning into spending your money on probiotics
This being said, the usage of probiotics is completely safe if you do not suffer from any dangerous health affection.
Oh, and one more thing. Stop worrying about the fact that probiotic supplements are not FDA regulated. FDA does not regulates food supplements, only drugs. The probiotics are designed to improve your regular eating habits, help you remain healthier for longer and protect the body against some serious health affections.
Do not treat them as drugs, because they are not. Be smart and stay safe!