The Health Benefits of Probiotics

Posted on 2011/04/27. Filed under: Health issue |

What Are Probiotics?

Repeatedly demonstrated to aid gastrointestinal health in the human body, acidophilus and other probiotics are key elements of our overall health and well being. This is particularly true when we consider that many of our common-day chronic ailments begin in the digestive system. It is also true when we consider the sheer number of people that suffer from poor gastrointestinal health, a condition which lowers the overall level of good bacteria in the body. Before we go into the multi-fold benefits of taking probiotics, let’s define what probiotics are. The Joint FAO/WHO Working Group defines probiotics as “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” In plain English, probiotics are a type of living bacteria that actually benefit your health when taken in the appropriate amounts. This friendly bacteria, located in the gastrointestinal tract, comes in a variety of forms. With more than 400 different bacteria living in the human gastrointestinal tract, the most common forms of intestinal probiotics are L. acidophilus and Bifidobacteria bifidum. These bacteria act as balancing agents for non-friendly, pathogenic, gut-bacteria such as Candida or E. coli. When the “good-guys” are not present enough, a number of bacteria-related health problems such as digestive upset, headaches, sluggishness, irritability, cadidiasis (an overgrowth of the bacteria Candida albicans), and even anxiety can ensue. Lactobacillus acidophilus is, quite possibly, the strongest of our probiotic fighters. Studies show that L. acidophilus actually creates a natural form of antibiotics in the body. This natural antibiotic increases our ability to produce antimicrobial action against the pathogens in the food we eat, the air we breath, and the things we come in contact with. Stress, unhealthy lifestyles, and most importantly, unhealthy acidic diets, destroy our natural amounts of probiotics. In this sense, it is a great idea to add a probiotic supplement to your diet.

The Health Benefits of Probiotics

The following health benefits are associated with the intake of daily doses of probiotics. Enhanced immune system response Reduces negative affects of taking many types of antibiotics Aids in preventing and treating colon inflammation following surgery Helps to prevent eczema in youth Increased ability to digest food Therapeutic for viral respiratory tract infections by enhancing the overall immune system Reduces lactose intolerance Reduces incidence of yeast infections, vaginitis and candidiasis Increases ability to assimilate the nutrients from food Alleviates many common digestive disorders such as constipation, diarrhea and IBS Acts as a remedy for bad breath (halitosis) Increases ability to synthesize vitamin B Increases ability to absorb calcium Promotes anti-tumor and anti-cancer activity in the body

Who Should Take Probiotics?

 There is no question that candiasis sufferers require supplemental use of probiotics to replenish beneficial GI bacteria and rebuild the immune system. Even if you don’t have candidiasis, environmental and food toxins, coupled with the high-stress lifestyle of most North Americans, are good indicators of the widespread need for probiotics. This is especially true if you are consistently taking antibiotics, or if you have ever been on a course of particularly strong antibiotics, have frequent colds, or exhibit any symptoms of candida related problems. The reason for this is that antibiotics kill bacteria both good and bad. Despite their value, antibiotics have been overused to the point that there are at least two bacteria that have developed complete resistance to antibiotics. Needless to say, these bacteria present a serious problem to our health.

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