Probiotics are what are commonly known as “good” bacteria which assist in restoring levels of gut microflora which are depleted by chemicals(via food and drink) and life’s stresses. Supplements which have been fortified with probiotics provide live bacteria which can assist with digestive health. Probiotics are believed to assist the body in two principle ways. Firstly they restore the balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria within the digestive tract, which may be compromised by lifestyle (sleep deprivation, emotional stress, poor diet, antibiotics, and other environmental issues). When an individual’s digestive tract is healthy, anything damaging is eliminated, inclusive of bad bacteria, toxins and waste products. It also removes essential nutrients and assists with absorption and delivery to the cells where they are required. The body has a requirement for the bad bacteria as well as the good bacteria, but maintaining balance in favour of the good bacteria, reduces risk of fatigue, muscular pain, diarrhoea and urinary tract infections. Restoring gut microflora in favour of “good” bacteria encourages optimal function within the gut, in addition to limiting bacterial and viral infection. These “good” bacteria are naturally present within the digestive tract and assist in the improvement of intestinal function, encourage good digestive health.
The following are the most common probiotics:
More than 50 species of Lactobacilli exist. They are found within the several bodily systems (digestive, genitor-urinary). Lactobacilli are used to treat and prevent a number of conditions and diseases. The main Lactobacilli found commonly within supplements and foodstuffs are; Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. acidophilus DDS-1, Lactobacillus blugaricus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, Lactobacillus plantarium, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus johnsonii, and Lactobacillus gasseri. Whilst further research is required regarding probiotics and their potential benefits prior to any definitive claims being made about their effects, research has shown some benefits associated with Lactobacillus supplementation in the treatment of, or prevention of yeast infections, urinary tract infection, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, the treatment of lactose intolerance, skin disorders (fever blisters, eczema, acne, and canker sores), and in preventing respiratory infections.
There are approximately 30 species of Bifidobacteria. They comprise approximately 90% of healthy bacteria present within the colon. The main bifidobacteria found commonly within supplements and foodstuffs are; Bifodbacterium bifidum, Bifodbacterium lactis, Bifodbacterium longum, Bifodbacterium breve, Bifodbacterium infantis, Bifodbacterium thermophilum, and Bifodbacterium pseudolongum. Whilst further research is necessary to confirm definitive benefits, research has shown that Bifidobacteria can assist with IBS, dental cavities, improved blood lipids, and glucose tolerance.
Saccharomyces boulardii is the only yeast probiotic. Research has shown that it is effective in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea antibiotic linked to antibiotic use and travelling. It is also used in the treaetment of acne, and the reduction of sideeffects associated with the treatment for Helicobacter pylori. Streptococcus thermophilus Streptococcus thermophilus creates large quantities of the enzyme lactase, which may support in the prevention of lactose intolerance.