Bacteria are usually related to diseases and therefore the idea of swallowing a few millions of them seems a bit difficult to digest. But scientific studies and evidence suggest that there are certain bacteria and live micro-organisms that can actually help in treating various health problems such as digestive disorders ranging from diarrhea to constipation, improving immune health, preventing and treating vaginal yeast infections and relieving chronic fatigue.
These healthy bacteria are known as probiotics. Probiotics in combination with prebiotics can be introduced in the body through probiotic supplements or foods that confer health benefits to the host.
Most Beneficial Probiotic Strains
There are a wide range of useful probiotic bacteria strains that help in maintaining a healthy digestive system and boosting immune functions. When choosing a probiotic supplement it is best to choose one containing the combination of any of the following strains.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus – Helps in maintaining the health of the intestinal walls so that it can maximize the absorption of nutrients and also promotes the functions of the immune system
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus – Helps in preventing and relieving traveler’s diarrhea
- Bifidobacteria longum – Aids the breakdown of carbohydrates, fights disease causing bacteria and neutralizes the level of toxin in the gut
- Bifidobacteria bifidum – Aids smooth digestion of food
7 Amazing Benefits of Probiotics for Health
The health benefits of probiotics are numerous. Probiotics are widely present in fermented foods and can be administered as supplements in the form of capsules to treat digestive disorders by balancing intestinal microflora.
Improving Digestive Health
Probiotics function as the most effective natural remedy for digestive disorders. Our digestive tract is the home to more than 1000 different types of bacteria that includes both good and bad ones.
These microflora or microbiota helps in breaking down foods and absorbing the nutrients from the food while flushing out toxins, chemicals and waste products from the gut.
But the problem arises when this balance is disturbed leading to a rise in the number bad bacteria that leads to various gastro-intestinal diseases such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), abdominal pain and cramps.
The good bacteria present in probiotics help in relieving these digestive problems by crowding out the bad bacteria and neutralizing the effects of harmful toxins produced in the gut.
The benefits of antioxidants for improving immunity are well known, but probiotics also work effectively in boosting immune functions.
The digestive system is the largest source of toxins and microbial agents, and it requires a strict vigilance of the immune cells to maintain the health of the digestive system and it is considered an extremely vital immune centre.
The friendly pathogenic organisms present in probiotics challenges the immune system to keep it active and functioning, therefore preventing allergies, colds and flu and auto-immune diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Another amazing benefit of probiotics is that it helps in treating allergies- largely an immune-mediated disorder that is caused due to reduced early microbial exposure.
Raising the level of gut microbiota through consumption of probiotics can help in treating allergies. Research shows that consumption of probiotics during pregnancy leads to 30% reduction in instances of developing childhood eczema.
It can also be used for treating seasonal allergies, excessive tissue inflammation and psoriasis.
Probiotics also help in maintaining urogenital health. The dominant Lactobacilli strains present in the urinary tract and vagina of women prevents the growth of micro-organisms by maintaining the pH at an acidic state.
But the balance of these bacteria can be disrupted due to the intake of antibiotics, birth control pills or spermicides which can lead to bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.
Probiotics rich in Lactobacillus acidophilius helps in preventing and treating vaginal infections and maintaining maternal health because pregnant women are more susceptible to vaginal infections.
Improving Brain Functions
Probiotics also help in improving brain power and aids in effective cognitive functioning. Only few of us know that our gastrointestinal system is also our enteric nervous system and is connected to the central nervous system by the vagus nerve and the gut bacteria use the vagus nerve to send information to the brain.
Therefore, any problem in the gut will have a direct effect on mental health. Lactobacillus rhamnosus present in probiotics has been shown to lower the production of stress-induced hormone corticosterone which leads to stress and anxiety. Probiotics also help in elevating the mood and relieving depression and aggression.
Lowering High Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance in the body that is required to carry out various functions, but abnormally high level of cholesterol in the blood can lead to plaque buildup on the walls of the arteries- the major reason for coronary heart diseases.
The bacteria strain called Lactobacillus reuteri found in certain probiotic rich foods can help in lowering the level of LDL “bad” cholesterol by almost 12 %. It also helps in reducing the level of total cholesterol.
The bacteria functions by binding the cholesterol to the small intestine that prevents it from being absorbed in the blood stream.
Improving Oral Health
Oral hygiene is extremely important for maintaining overall health and poor oral health can lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Research shows that a daily intake of probiotics through foods or substitute helps in preventing and treating gingivitis, periodontitis, bleeding gum, tooth decay, cavities and fighting bad breath.
The bacteria Lactobacillus reuteri fights off the bad bacteria and occupies their space to prevent their multiplication. Add probiotics to your daily oral care regime to get healthy and sparkling teeth.
Importance of Probiotic and Prebiotic Substitutes
There are several foods that are a rich source of probiotics. Some of the natural sources of probiotic include yogurt, soft cheese, kefir, miso and ginger beer.
The most common types of probiotics present in supplements are Bifidobacterium bifidus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus. But it is important to take probiotics and prebiotics together in order to maximize the benefits of these healthy micro-organisms.
Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that promote the growth of these micro-organisms in the digestive tract.
The best way to utilize the health benefiting aspect of probiotics and prebiotics is through supplements like INLIFE’s Prebiotics and Probiotics capsules that is prepared from a blend of over 5 billion bacteria that improves digestive health, promotes better nutrient absorption by the intestinal walls, provides relief from acidity and treats ulcerative colitis.
Make it a point to include probiotic rich foods such as yogurt and cheese in your daily diet or consume probiotic supplements and say goodbye to digestive disorders and infections.