Modern medicine is only now catching up to the benefits of probiotics, a slow realization considering probiotics were discover by Russian scientist, Eli Metchnikov nearly 100 years ago. Meaning “for life”, probiotics are the direct opposite of antibiotics. While antibiotics kill harmful bacteria, and occasionally even beneficial bacteria, probiotics promote the growth of healthy bacteria that naturally occurs in the body.
It was only after positive findings of a group of researchers responsible for infection control in hospitals, that the medical community took notice. However, health food stores and homeopaths were already way ahead of the learning curve. As the list of the benefits of probiotics grow, modern medicine has begun to get on board and incorporate them into mainstream treatments.
The following is a short list of the most recognized benefits of probiotics:
• Children- With clinical studies that reveal the potential link between bacterial imbalances and the occurrence of childhood eczema in children, probiotics were employed as a remedy that not only reduced the symptoms of eczema, but also, on some occasions, eliminating it entirely. Infants given probiotic fortified formula experienced fewer instances of diaper rash for the same reasons. Minimizing the symptoms of acute diarrhea and rotavirus shedding are two other benefits of probiotics for children.
• Adults – Men have experienced a lowering of overall cholesterol levels with the use of probiotics. In women, probiotics have proven to relieve symptoms of yeast infections by promoting the growth of vaginal flora (healthy vaginal bacteria). Because of the well-known ability of probiotics to regulate the digestive process, the elderly have experienced marked improvements in episodes of constipation.
• Digestive Disorders – With multiple causes like stress, travel, infection and the use antibiotics that can upset the balance of bacteria in the digestive tract, symptoms of digestive disorders can include constipation, gas, diarrhea and discomfort. If left untreated, symptoms such as these can cause other problems like disruption of the immune system. However, the use of probiotic supplements or eating foods containing probiotics can bring the natural bacterial balance back into line allowing the body to self correct and reduce symptoms of discomfort. By promoting the growth of flora in the colon, particular forms of acidophilus found in probiotics can stop the conversion of bile into carcinogens thereby inhibiting autoimmune disorders. Likewise, active bacterial cultures in certain strains of probiotics can create lactase enzymes that counteract the effects of lactose on those who are intolerant. This is why many people with lactose intolerance are capable of eating yogurt with active culture.
• Bioavailability – The body’s capacity to absorb nutrition from food is known as bioavailability. Probiotics increase bioavailability by breaking down complex hydrocarbons, which allow for superior absorption.
The use of probiotic supplements allow the body to regulate itself in a natural way. This allows a person to increase quality of life, avoid common discomforts and lead a healthier lifestyle.