The word bacteria make us think of diseases, contamination and infection. But, what if you are told that some bacteria are good for you? In fact they can benefit your health in several unknown ways! Years of microbial research has revealed that some types of live bacteria and yeasts can be beneficial for health. They are thus called ‘Probiotics’ meaning ‘in favor of life’. Probiotics rose to fame somewhere in 1990s and since then have been tapped by various brands to produce healthy probiotic supplements. Although these friendly bacteria are normally found in your body naturally but these days you can even obtain them from a range of supplements.
How do these ‘good bacteria’ benefit your health?
Your gut has a wide area covered by friendly bacteria that get destroyed due to antibiotic drug course or in case of ‘bad’ bacterial infection. Hence, supplements with probiotics act as inoculums to increase the good bacteria population. The probiotics prevent monopoly of bad bacteria in your gut by creating a competition for space and nutrition. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two of the most common genus of bacteria found in probiotic supplements.
Benefits of probiotic supplements
There is a long list of advantages of probiotic supplements. Some of them are:
Isn’t it strange that most common causative agent of diarrhea is bacteria but this condition can be treated using some good bacteria in probiotic supplements! Well, there are well documented studies to show that probiotics can be used to possibly treat various forms of gastroenteritis.
Cholesterol: Isn’t yoghurt, a tasty way to lower your cholesterol? Several animal studies have demonstrated that some strains of lacto bacillus bacteria are capable of lowering serum levels of LDL or bad cholesterol.
Blood pressure: Have you tried the fermented probiotic milk widely available in the market? If not, go for it because it has been found to reduce blood pressure in people suffering with hypertension.
Boosts up the Immunity: This may sound ironical but is certainly true! Taking probiotic supplements regularly can improve your immunity by production of immune cells such as T lymphocytes, antibody producing plasma cells and natural killer cells, all of which are involved in fighting microbial infections. Probiotics also help to curb dental caries and prevent respiratory tract infections too. Thus these supplements help to support the intestinal flora which proves to be protective against various infections and thus strengthen the immune system.
In a study involving pregnant ladies, it was found that women taking probiotic supplements during pregnancy gave birth to infants with 30 % lesser chances of eczema as compared to others who didn’t consume probiotics.
Healthy for women:
Probiotics help to prevent commonly occurring vaginal infections in women and even manage an active infection by supporting the effect of antibiotic medicines. This proves to be a boon for pregnant women who are more vulnerable to vaginal infections which have been known to cause pre term labor in women. Hence, taking probiotics during pregnancy has an array of benefits for the mothers as well as for the infants.
Yes! Bacteria can help you lose your fat. A recent research shows that probiotics can help obese people to shed their extra weight. That doesn’t means that you can rely entirely upon probiotic supplements for weight loss. But consuming probiotics along with normal weight loss activities have been shown to have positive results. These supplements may also help the people who have had liposuction done, to maintain ideal weight post surgery.
Irritable bowel syndrome and colitis: Being known for its anti inflammatory effect, probiotics can be beneficial for people with irritable bowel syndrome and colitis.
You can also have your vitamin tank refueled with the help of probiotics as some gut friendly bacteria are capable of producing vitamins such as Vitamin K, Vitamin B12 and folic acid.
Are probiotics safe?
Even though probiotics offer multifaceted benefits, you must be careful before making them part of your daily diet. Probiotics are treated as foods and hence are not regulated by regulatory authorities like pharmaceutical products. So, it is best to ask your doctor about the suitable product and required dose for you. In case you encounter any allergic reaction from probiotic supplements, discontinue their consumption and consult your doctor immediately.
Supplements enriched with probiotics offer an easy way to ingest millions of friendly bacteria looking forward to improve your health and immunity. However, if you want to avoid trying a range of new probiotic supplements, there are several food products that can serve you with a good dose of probiotics. Homemade yoghurts, soy milk and even chocolates can help you enjoy the benefits of probiotics. So, make yourself healthier with the world of bacteria which have more of affection than infection for you!