Probiotics ~ How Good Bacteria is tied to Good Health~
This article is a REPOST from YaHoo Voices, YaHoo Contributor Network
Are Probiotic Supplements Right for You?
With all the media attention probiotics are getting lately, you might think that the use of “good” bacteria is a relatively new discovery. Actually, the idea of using bacteria to improve health goes back over 100 years. In the late 1800s a Russian physiologist and microbiologist name Elie Metchnikoff was widely scorned for his theories; twenty years later, in 1908, they won him the Nobel Prize.
Dr. Metchnikoff’s work was based on his observations of the eating habits of the Balkan people of Eastern Europe. Dr. Metchnikoff noticed that Balkan people, who typically consumed large volumes of fresh yogurt, lived long, healthy lives–at least compared to people in other ethnic groups. Dr. Metchnikoff’s theory of “good” germs was radical at the time but today, probiotic supplements are sold in pharmacies, health food stores and supermarkets around the world.
How Probiotics Work
One important function of probiotics or “good” bacteria involves maintaining a healthy balance between the beneficial and harmful bacteria that live naturally in your digestive tract. When you eat probiotic foods or take probiotic supplements, you increase the number of beneficial bacteria and keep the population of potentially harmful bacteria in check.
Another very important function of your body’s flora, which is what biologists call the various organisms that live in and on your body, is to aid in digestion. Various strains of microorganisms help break down food, improve absorption of some nutrients and even produce some vitamins.
Probiotics may also help many people better manage conditions like high cholesterol, dental caries and various bowel conditions. Finally, since your immune system is so heavily influenced by the health of your digestive tract, probiotics may help some people strengthen and maintain a healthy immune response.
Can Probiotics Prevent Cancer?
Most of the focus on probiotics and cancer has centered on bladder and colon cancers. And the results are encouraging. While the authors of a 2006 Canadian study stopped short of recommending probiotics to all people at risk for bladder cancer, their study concluded that probiotic supplements containing two species of Lactobacillus may help prevent a recurrence of bladder cancer in some women.
Another recent study, this one focused on the relationship between probiotics and colon cancer, also found that probiotic intervention “significantly reduced” the biological actions that often lead to the development of colon cancers.
Can Probiotics Be Harmful?
Aside from a temporary increase in flatulence, probiotics have no known side effects in normally healthy people, assuming that you take probiotics in recommended doses and aren’t immunocompromised or otherwise seriously ill. Allergies are apparently rare but not impossible.
Of course, if you have any questions about probiotics, the best source of information is your primary care physician. Only your doctor is qualified to give you medical advice and he or she will give you the information you need to make an informed choice about probiotics and their potential health benefits.
Reid, G., Bruce, A. (2006). Probiotics to prevent urinary tract infections: the rationale and evidence.
Rafter, J., Bennett, M., Caderni, G., et al. (2007). Dietary synbiotics reduce cancer risk factors in polypectomized and colon cancer patients.
ConsumerLab.com. (2006). Product Review: Probiotic Supplements (Including Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium, and Others).
The following portion is from an article by Deborah Oakes, from YaHoo Voices 101, Probiotic Health 101
Recommended Probiotic Supplements When choosing probiotic supplements, watch for GMP on labels . This stands for good manufacturing practices. and ensures potency of products. Rotate brands to obtain as many strains as possible to maintain good probiotics health.
Probiotics Health Take probiotics according to directions. If taking antibiotics, take 4 hours apart and continue taking once the prescription is over. Probiotic supplements and cultured, fermented foods provide health by keeping good bacteria thriving.
HAPPY SUNDAY TO YOU!! ~ Paula ♥