The Health Benefits of Probiotics
What are probiotics?
Gut flora is comprised of a mass of bacteria, yeasts, virus, and one-cell structures that live in our digestive tracts. Out of this mass of micro biota, the portion of “bugs” that are beneficial to our health is called probiotics–coming from the Greek “pro” and “biota” meaning “for life.” Probiotic bacteria keep pathogenic or harmful microbes in check. They aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. And most importantly, they support the body’s immune system.
Probiotics are microorganisms that offer some form of health benefit to the host – they can be found in various different foods. Probiotics are believed to play very important roles in regulating proper intestinal function and digestion – by balancing intestinal micro flora.
These ‘good bacteria’ are considered to be “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”, according to the World Health Organization.
Probiotics are normally consumed in fermented foods with active live cultures such as yogurt.
Probiotics are also available in supplement form as capsules, liquid and chewable. There are many different strains of probiotics, but the most common strains available today in are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
The website Green Med Info has assembled an amazing list of more than 200 studies, which together explore more than 170 diseases which can be helped or treated with probiotics.
The conditions include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Atopic Dermatitis
- Allergic Rhinitis
- And even the common cold!
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
Improves Brain Function
Researchers at UCLA report that brain function improved among healthy women who regularly consumed probiotic-containing yogurt.
In addition, probiotic bacteria might have the potential to change brain neurochemistry and treat anxiety and depression-related disorders, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). There was a fascinating article published in Psychology Today, discussing this very topic-“Can Yogurt Cure Depression?” (April 2014). You might be able to read a copy online.
Help With GI Issues
According to a report published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, probiotics are “useful in the prevention or treatment of several gastrointestinal disorders”, such as infectious diarrhea, antibiotic diarrhea, and travelers diarrhea.
One study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, concluded that Lactobacillus species are a safe and effective form of treatment for children with infectious diarrhea. The researchers concluded, “Prophylactic use of Lactobacillus significantly reduced the risk of nosocomial diarrhea in infants, particularly nosocomial rotavirus gastroenteritis.”
Irritable bowel syndrome
There is growing evidence that probiotics can help treat IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Two review articles, published in Nutrition in Clinical Practice, examined the therapeutic approaches to irritable bowel syndrome and found that probiotics, specifically Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 (Bifantis®), are very effective at managing IBS.
A study published in the prestigious scientific journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), found that probiotic bacteria can protect against bacterial infection.
The research was the first of its kind to demonstrate that Lactobacillus salivarius offered significant protection against Listeria infection.
Psoriasis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Scientists at University College Cork, Ireland, reported in the journal Gut Microbes that Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 may also have benefits for patients with psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
This study is significant, the authors added, because it shows that a single probiotic can affect the systemic immune system in humans, and not only the mucosal immune system.
Probiotics Effective For Bacterial Vaginitis
A recent study published in the European Journal of Obstetrics confirms what many integrative doctors already knew, probiotics are an effective treatment for bacterial vaginitis. Antibiotic therapy works 70% of the time, yet reinfection often occurs within 3 months. Of course antibiotics are associated with numerous potential health hazards including triggering yeast infections. For chronic vaginal yeast or bacterial infections, a maintenance dose of probiotics is recommended.
You’ve heard that probiotics are good for your health. You’ve heard that they support a healthy immune system. And you’ve seen advertisements telling you to take them for help with digestive disorders such as bloating, gas, and indigestion.
Unfortunately, most people who are now taking probiotics are wasting their money – and still suffer from bloating, gas, indigestion, and other digestive problems.
Most probiotic supplements on the market are simply worthless. In fact, an independent laboratory recently tested many of the most popular brands and found that nearly a third of them flunked. Some products contained less than 1% of the amount of live bacteria claimed. What’s worse, a quarter of the products contained only one-ten thousandth the amount claimed.
Every probiotic supplement claims to have a high number of organisms. But, and this is a big but, these organisms are counted at the time of manufacture, not at the time they reach your grocer’s shelf.
By the time you buy them, they’ve often been exposed to light and heat, which kill off and drastically reduce the number of the beneficial bacteria.
In fact, Consumer Reports tested 27 different probiotic products and found that one in four supplements contained fewer bacteria than the amount claimed at the time of manufacture. And because these organisms can be weakened or killed by the acids in your stomach they need to be packaged in an enteric-coated capsule. If not they are destroyed in your stomach and they never reach your intestinal tract where they are needed to do their job. Worthless!
I recommend the Essential Therapeutics Probiotic Formula, which contains the 3 most important strains of beneficial bacteria that are crucial to your health:
These 3 are the three most important healthy bacteria:
- Lactobacillus (L. acidophilus)
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus (L. rhamnosus)
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
Iron Supplements Improve Chronic Cough
A study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice reports that iron supplementation for nonsmoking, unexplained chronic cough, yields positive results. Iron supplementation has previously been shown to help reduce the severity and frequency of coughing associated with taking certain blood pressure medications known as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.
The new study found that chronic cough could be due to an iron deficiency, even a low normal ferritin level.
Ferritin is protein produced by nearly every cell of the body. Ferritin molecules are huge; each molecule can hold 4,500 atoms of iron. The greatest concentrations of ferritin are in the brain and the liver. One function of ferritin is to serve as the primary iron reservoir from which iron can be mobilized and used in the production of new red blood cells to circulate in hemoglobin.
I recommend all patients get tested and shoot for ferritin levels above 50 ng/ml.
Want to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stoke? Be Optimistic.
Research from the Harvard School of Public Health shows that cheerful, optimistic people have lower levels of arterial clogging triglycerides, and fewer heart attacks and strokes. Be Happy! 🙂
Walking To Health-Ten Ways Walking Can Improve Your Health
A Good Night’s Sleep Is Crucial For Optimal Health
Sleep deficiency is linked to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression.
Sleep deficiency is also linked to a higher chance of injury in adults, teens, and children. For example, sleepiness while driving (not related to alcohol) is responsible for serious car crash injuries and death. In older adults, sleep deficiency may be linked to a higher chance of falls and broken bones.
Sleep deficiency has also played a role in human mistakes linked to tragic accidents, such as nuclear reactor meltdowns, grounding of large ships, and plane crashes.
A common myth is that people can learn to get by on little sleep with no negative effects. However, research shows that getting enough quality sleep at the right times is vital for mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.