Overview of Probiotics and its Effects:
Human are safe when inside the womb. Once outside, they are subjected to different types of microbes. These microbes can be useful or may be harmful. As soon as the baby is out of the mother’s womb, they are subjected to different kinds of diseases caused by the microbes. This is the situation where probiotics comes in and plays the role of regulating disease causing microbes.
Lactobacillus is the best example for probiotics. These probiotics stimulate immune system for better digestive health and also produces an antibiotic, which leads to the destruction of disease causing microbes.
What are Probiotics?
As per Food and Agricultural Organization and World Health Organization (FAO/WHO), probiotics are: “Kind of live microorganism, capable of offering health benefits to mankind when administered in an adequate amount.
Eg of microorganisms that falls under probiotics category:
- E. Coli
- S. Thermophilus
History of Probiotics
- Ilya Ilyich Mechnikoy was the first to discuss about the Probiotic benefits of the lactic acid bacteria in the beginning of the 20th century.
- In the year 2001 (FAO/WHO) defined the term probiotic.
- Probiotics market is considered as one the most rapidly growing market in the world.
- As per Menrad (2003), Probiotics are considered as a multibillion-dollar industry.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) playing a major role in the development of probiotic by funding large research project known as the Human Microbiome project. Its mission is to generate resources enabling comprehensive characterization of the human microbiota and analysis of its role in human health and disease.
How do probiotics work?
Probiotics is one of its kinds, which helps in creating balanced microorganism colonization in the intestine and thereby increasing the number of useful bacteria bacteria.
Why you may need probiotics?
We need probiotics in order to maintain the balance of useful and harmful bacteria in our small and large intestine and also to keep a check on the proper working of our digestive system. Useful bacteria decrease with age, stress, diet, and antibiotic use.
What are the benefits of probiotics?
Probiotics helps in improving the symptoms of IBS, infectious diarrhea, vaginal yeast infections, and increase immune support.
Not all probiotics are the same:
It has been observed that all strains of probiotics are very important, though they may be of same strain; they differ in function at the species level. Example includes: Lactobacillus casei Shirota and Lactobacillus casei DN-114 001.
In the above example Lactobacillus belongs to genus, casei, is the species and Shirota and DN-114 001 are the different strains of the microorganism.
Microorganism Colonization of Intestines:
As we all know our large and small intestine are fertile ground of flora and fauna, with approx 500-1000 types of bacteria. Adequate colonization of the intestine creates a perfect balanced ecosystem for microorganism that allows the resistance of pathogens and no disease expression.
In some abnormal conditions, such as pre-mature delivery or delivery by cesarean section, or the use of prophylactic antibiotics in the prenatal period; due to incomplete colonization of the intestine the child is more susceptible to allergens, pathogens and immune-suppressed disease.
How Microorganisms Nourish the Human Digestive System:
|Protective Functions||Structural Functions||Metabolic Functions|
|Displace pathogens||Immune system development||Aid digestion|
|Compete for receptor sites with pathogen||Reinforce intestinal barrier effects||Produce organic acids which inhibits pathogens|
|Nutrient competition||Intestinal cell health and development||Synthesize vitamins|
|Production of antimicrobial Substances||Increase mineral absorption|
Reduction in the quantity of beneficial bacteria depends on:
- Incomplete colonization at the time of birth
- A diet with refined foods, saturated fats, hydrogenated oil and sugars.
- Chlorine in the water
People use Probiotics in order to prevent Diarrhea Due to Antibiotic Use; Traveler’s Diarrhea; Side Effects of Radiation Therapy; Irritable Bowel Syndrome; Vaginal Yeast Infections; Ulcerative Colitis; Crohn’s Disease; Immune Support; Lactose Intolerance; Prevention of Colds; Allergic Rhinitis / Hay fever; Constipation; Colon Cancer Prevention; Pouchitis; Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth; and Canker Sores
What are the benefits of Probiotics?
- It improves the symptoms of IBS.
- It improve immune system and reduces the chance of getting sick, if you eat bad bacteria.
- It reduces the chance of acquiring viruses that cause URI.
- It also reduces minor gastrointestinal conditions, such as flatulence and lactose intolerance because they help digest carbohydrates and lactose.
- It reduces blood pressure.
- IT also improves mood disorders such as depression.
What are the sources of probiotics?
Foods such as cheese, yogurt, sour kraut, and milk are few among those sources, which contain Probiotics. All live cultures are not the same as Probiotics.
Some of the other sources or forms of probiotics includes: tablets, capsules powder, and in food. The effectiveness of probiotics dependents mostly upon the strain of the microorganism. It is also depends upon its ability to remain active in stomach acid, and to withstand high levels of heat.
Criteria for Probiotics:
- Should be alive microorganisms
- Should have a beneficial health effect
Probiotics in the Marketplace:
- Probiotics are available as a food supplement in the supermarket and health food stores.
- Some products in the market claims to be probiotic, but it may not necessarily be.
Note: Though scientific knowledge for probiotics and their potential for preventing and treating health conditions is at an early stage, it is moving ahead with a faster pace.