What are the Health Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics are live microorganisms that appear in fermented food such as yogurt or kefir. Probiotic food has plenty of beneficial health effects for the people who consume them, which explains why so many countries in Eastern and Northern Europe have an established tradition of using these beneficial microorganisms in their cuisine.
The name "probiotic" comes from pro and biotikos, and it means "for life". Do you want to learn more about these products and have a healthier diet? Stay with us at oneHOWTO and discover what are the health benefits of probiotics.
Where do probiotics come from?
Probiotics can originate from bacteria or yeast. Probiotic microorganisms survive during the passage through our gastrointestinal tract and reside in the colon or small intestine, helping our digestive system work better.
There are different types of probiotics. The most beneficial probiotic bacteria for the human organism include the following strains:
- Bifidobacterium: B. longum, B. breve, B. infantis
- Lactobacillus: L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. helveticus, L. rhamnosus, L. salivarius, L. plantarum.
- Streptococcus thermophilus
What are the benefits of probiotics?
- Probiotics help maintain the balance of intestinal flora, and they have a direct positive effect on the immune system, the majority of which is in the intestines.
- Probiotics improve and recover intestinal flora when it's been altered by infections, diarrhea or the use of medications such as antibiotics.
- Probiotics offer different health benefits beyond those in the digestive and immune system. They help in the digestion of certain foods, they're involved in the synthesis of B vitamins, they improve calcium absorption and help maintain the balance of vaginal flora. It is believed that probiotics help weight loss too. They also help improve bad breath in both humans and animals.
- Probiotics can also help when used topically. For example, you can make probiotic face masks to help regulate bacteria that is found in the dermis.
Probiotics are with us since the first day of life. Newborns have their first contact with probiotic microorganisms at birth, as they have their first contact with maternal bacteria during labor.
What are the sources of probiotics?
You can find probiotics in natural sources and ready-made products.
- Natural probiotics are mostly found in fermented dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, water kefir, milk kefir and also fermented fruits and vegetables, meat or fish.
- Biotherapeutic probiotics are found in capsule or powder form and contain very high concentrations of microorganisms and a variety of bacterial strains. Biotherapeutic probiotics are often enriched prebiotic foods that aren't digested and help the growth and proliferation of beneficial bacteria, that is, of probiotics.Prebiotic fibres come from carbohydrates called oligosaccharides. These preparations are stable at room temperature and don't need refrigeration. They're resistant to the acidic environment of the stomach and intestines. This type of source is more effective than traditional food sources. You can get these biotherapeutic probiotic products at your pharmacy.
Why should you take probiotics?
Probiotic products are also used for other reasons, as their health benefits are wide:
- Some digestive disease specialists recommend them to treat diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies have shown that treatment with probiotics can help treat several gastrointestinal diseases, delay the development of allergies in children and treat and prevent vaginal and urinary tract infections.
- Probiotic therapy has been very effective in the treatment of diarrhea. Controlled studies have shown that Lactobacillus GG can shorten the course of infectious diarrhea in infants and children, although not in adults.
- Probiotic therapy can also help people with Crohn's disease.
- A popular treatment for recurrent yeast infections is to eat yogurt or use it as a topical treatment in the vagina. However, medical science offers limited support for that remedy. It has been suggested that oral and vaginal administration of Lactobacillus can help in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis, but there still isn't enough evidence to recommend it over conventional approaches.
This is our answer to what are the health benefits of probiotics. Have we missed any? What do you take probiotics for? Tell us in the comments section!
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to What are the Health Benefits of Probiotics, we recommend you visit our Healthy living category.