Probiotics are comprised of live microorganisms that when introduced to the gut are thought to provide health benefits by restoring the natural balance of healthy. The word is Greek and translates as ‘pro life.’ It is the opposite of the term antibiotic.
Most probiotics contain bacteria that are form part of a healthy diet including Lactobacillus, Acidophilus and Bifidobacillus strains. Probiotics have been linked to a wide range of health benefits and the management of certain disease. Here are some examples:
- Probiotics have been shown to reduce the severity of infection diarrhea and shorten the length of time the infection persists.
- Probiotic therapy may also help people with Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Probiotics have been linked to improvements in unitary tract infections.
- Sufferers of yeast infections have reported a reduction in the negative sysmtoms of Candida after a course of probiotics.
- Probioptics may have a postive role to play in the prevention of colon cancers.
- Probiotics can help people who suffer from lactose intolerance.
- More generally, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function.
Probiotics are found in many fermented foods including yogurt and soy sauce. They are also a commonly taken as a dietary supplement. The best probiotic supplement brands provide detailed information on the type of bacterial strain and its concentration – which is normally measured as (millions of) colony forming units. Probiotics are available freeze dried in powder form or in liquid form. The best delivery method for liquid probiotic supplements is via an enteric capsule designed with a special coasting that is not damaged by gastric acids in the stomach. Check for the expiry date before purchasing any product as cell counts are known to fall drastically after a period of time.