Probiotics

Probiotics are healthful strains of live bacteria and yeast. Taking probiotics can provide a range of benefits, but it can also cause side effects. Some yogurts, supplements, and fermented foods, including kefir, sauerkraut, and tempeh, contain probiotics. The most common probiotics that manufacturers add to commercial products are species of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus bacteria. The body does not need the addition of food and supplements that contain probiotics to be healthy. However, food and supplements that contain probiotics assist the job of the "good" bacteria that are already present in your gut. Probiotics may help keep you healthy by: a)Decreasing the number of "bad" bacteria in your gut that can cause infections or inflammation (swelling) b) Stabilizing the digestive tract’s barriers against “bad” bacteria, or producing substances that hinder their growth. C) Replacing the body's "good" bacteria that have been lost, for example, when you take antibiotics.

Probiotics that are naturally found in your intestines include: Saccharomyces boulardii (a yeast) and bacteria in the Lactobacillus and Bifobacterium families of microorganisms. Probiotic supplements may be useful in treating and preventing inflammatory digestive tract conditions such as pouchitis (which affects people who have had their colons removed), inflammatory bowel diseases (such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease), and chronic (long-term) stomach inflammation and ulcers caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacterium. Probiotics may also be helpful in treating constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, and spastic colon; shortening the duration of infectious diarrhea; and reducing the recurrence (return) of bladder and colorectal cancer. Probiotics are also being studied as a method of boosting the immune system. People who have weakened immune systems (on chemotherapy, for example), the critically ill, those who have had surgery, and very sick infants should use probiotics with caution, because infection has been occasionally reported.

 

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