It is often difficult to comprehend the fact that some bacteria are beneficial to the human body since it is common knowledge that the existence of bacteria in the body is simply unbeneficial, harmful and dangerous to the body system—but it is important to note that the right bacteria in the right places are very necessary for different fundamental processes in the body. The composition of bacteria in the body can be affected by age, diet and genetics; when there is an imbalance of these good bacteria in the body, there is possible links to intestinal tract diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, diabetes and obesity.
Food is taken in daily into the body and requires the digestive system to break down the food substance into smaller particles for the release of energy. However, there are bacteria that need to be present in the body to help in the digestion of these food substances. These microorganisms that aid the digestion process are known as the good bacteria and are very vital for living a healthy life.
The human body is full of live bacteria and yeasts; some good and others bad—the good and helpful ones are called probiotics. Probiotics are simply live microorganisms and yeasts that live in the digestive tract of the human that aid digestion, fight disease-causing bacteria and produce vitamins in the body. Probiotics, according to International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) are live microorganisms that when administered in adequate amounts, give a health benefit on the host. They help prevent and treat some illnesses in the body; they are also very good for the digestive system because they help keep the gut clean and healthy.
It is an established fact that most times when there is bacterial infection in the system, antibiotics are employed to help clear these bad bacteria from the body system. Nonetheless, the antibiotics when administered, cleans the system of both bad and the good bacteria which is not really a good state for the body system. Probiotic helps to replenish and replace the lost good bacteria that may have been lost in the body system after the intake of antibiotics.
Studies have proven that probiotics help in balancing out the bad bacteria in the body with the good ones to keep the body functioning as expected. It is also on record that probiotics help to keep the level of good bacteria in the body in check.
There are however, different types of probiotics—the lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, saccharomyces boulardili; they are classified according to their benefit to the body. The lactobacillius are the type of probiotics usually found in digestive tracts, urinary tracts, yogurt and other fermented food. Lactobacillius help in the control of diarrhea and also in the digestion of lactose. Bifidobacteria make up most of the healthy bacteria and are seen in the intestinal tract within days of birth and especially in children that are breastfed. Saccharomyces boulardii is the only yeast probiotic that is effective in preventing and treating diarrhea related with the use of antibiotics; it is most times used in the treatment of acne.
Report has it that a balanced dose of good bacteria in the body gives a great looking skin and besides helping in digestion, probiotic reduces depression and promotes heart health. Unlike many other elements vital for a healthy living, probiotic is available in food, other nutritive supplement and also exists naturally in the human gut. The already existing probiotic in the gut does not need additional nutrition-supplied probiotic to do its work. Nevertheless, the food and supplement-produced-probiotic help the natural existing probiotic to carry out their work properly in the system.
This article would be looking into the probiotic and its nutritive supplement–the facts about it, the roles, sources of probiotic, the effects and side effects encountered during its usage, its health benefits, and when it is not safe to use it.
FACTS ABOUT PROBIOTIC
Probiotics are very delicate and their sustainability can easily be reduced by various elements when in contact with them. Some of the elements that need to be avoided when handling probiotic supplement are, heat, light, humidity and oxygen. It is therefore advised to store probiotic supplements properly to prevent it from getting destroyed by these elements. One of the good ways to store probiotic is by refrigerating it in other to sustain the usefulness.
Probiotics are widely believed to have the most important role in the body system because they have a huge impact on the immune system. The immune system protects the entire human system against germs, when it does not function properly so many kinds of allergic reactions, infections and autoimmune disorders attack the body. The work of the probiotic is to keep the immune system in great condition and protect it from attacks from unwanted germs and bacteria.
SOURCES OF PROBIOTIC
Probiotics are transferred first and foremost to a newborn through the birth canal; during birth, the bacteroides, bifidobacterium, lactobacillus and Escherichia get passed on to the new born baby by his or her mother. However, studies have it that children born through cesarean sections do not have these good bacteria transmitted to them and hence the reason why most tend to suffer from allergies and also have lower levels of gut microflora.
Probiotic was first discovered in sour milk, today, there are many other options to get various bacteria from food. For probiotic to give maximum health benefits however, the microorganism has to be able to pass through the gastrointestinal tract, the food manufacturing process, the ripening and storage period, alive.
Other sources of probiotics are foods such as soy drinks, fermented and unfermented milk, buttermilk, some soft cheeses, miso, tempeh, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, and yogurt.
Probiotic can also be seen in nutritive supplements as capsules, tablets, powders and liquid extracts forms. These extracts, powders and supplements contain various types and levels of probiotic and they can be gotten in health food and natural food stores, vitamin shops, and other stores.
Probiotic aids digestion and checks the balance between the good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract. When the digestive tract is healthy, however, it sifts off and gets rid of bad bacteria, toxins, chemicals and other waste products that can damage it.
Probiotic found in yogurt is also accommodating in preventing diarrhea—a common side effect found with treatments using antibiotics. Studies have also shown that probiotics are used to prevent and treat urinary tract infections and vaginal yeast infections in women.
Besides aiding digestion, probiotic help in transporting food through the gut by affecting nerves that control gut movements. Probiotic is also known to be very effective in treating infectious diarrhea caused by viruses, parasites, bacteria, and antibiotics. It is also very effective in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, urinary and vaginal health, prevention of allergies and colds, oral health, and skin conditions like eczema. It is also used in the treatment of constipation, acid reflux, and spastic colon; shortening the duration of infectious diarrhea; and reducing the recurrence of bladder and colorectal cancer.
The side effects associated with probiotic are very mild and digestion related such as gas or bloating. Besides the discomfort and irritation it may cause due to bloating, no serious effects have been seen in average users.
Serious effects like infections have however been witnessed in people with underlying health condition; other effects like cause unhealthy metabolic activities, too much stimulation of the immune system, or gene transfer have also been encountered in other people with other health challenges when they used probiotic supplement.
WHEN NOT TO USE PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT
Due to the high chance of a large intake of probiotic resulting in infections that might need antibiotics treatment, people with certain health conditions are advised to be cautious while taking probiotic supplements. Research proved that probiotic can cause metabolic activities, insertion of genetic material into a cell also known as gene transfer, and an enormous stimulation of the immune system.
Cancer patients, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are advised to double check with their health providers before using this supplement. Also children, people with compromised immune systems, need to use this supplement with great care and under thorough supervision.
Studies have revealed that patients with compromised immune systems and leaky guts had infections and infection of the bloodstream when they took probiotic.
Probiotic supplements fall under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). This simply means that the dietary supplement or dietary ingredient manufacturer would be responsible for ensuring that probiotic supplement is safe before it is marketed. Since it is not monitored by FDA this suggests that the safety of the supplement is at mercy of the manufacturers. It is nevertheless advised to purchase these supplement from trusted manufacturers.