Posts tagged ‘good bacteria’

August 9, 2012

Health Benefits of Taking Probiotics

From Harvard Medical School’s Family Health Guide

Bacteria have a reputation for causing disease, so the idea of tossing down a few billion a day for your health might seem — literally and figuratively — hard to swallow. But a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria. Northern Europeans consume a lot of these beneficial microorganisms, called probiotics (from pro and biota, meaning “for life”), because of their tradition of eating foods fermented with bacteria, such as yogurt. Probiotic-laced beverages are also big business in Japan.

Enthusiasm for such foods has lagged in the United States, but interest in probiotic supplements is on the rise. Some digestive disease specialists are recommending them for disorders that frustrate conventional medicine, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies have established that probiotic therapy can help treat several gastrointestinal ills, delay the development of allergies in children, and treat and prevent vaginal and urinary infections in women.

Self-dosing with bacteria isn’t as outlandish as it might seem. An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel. These microorganisms (or microflora) generally don’t make us sick; most are helpful. Gut-dwelling bacteria keep pathogens (harmful microorganisms) in check, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function.

The best case for probiotic therapy has been in the treatment of diarrhea. Controlled trials have shown that Lactobacillus GG can shorten the course of infectious diarrhea in infants and children (but not adults). Although studies are limited and data are inconsistent, two large reviews, taken together, suggest that probiotics reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 60%, when compared with a placebo.

Probiotic therapy may also help people with Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Clinical trial results are mixed, but several small studies suggest that certain probiotics may help maintain remission of ulcerative colitis and prevent relapse of Crohn’s disease and the recurrence of pouchitis (a complication of surgery to treat ulcerative colitis). Because these disorders are so frustrating to treat, many people are giving probiotics a try before all the evidence is in for the particular strains they’re using. More research is needed to find out which strains work best for what conditions.

Probiotics may also be of use in maintaining urogenital health. Like the intestinal tract, the vagina is a finely balanced ecosystem. The dominant Lactobacilli strains normally make it too acidic for harmful microorganisms to survive. But the system can be thrown out of balance by a number of factors, including antibiotics, spermicides, and birth control pills. Probiotic treatment that restores the balance of microflora may be helpful for such common female urogenital problems as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, and urinary tract infection.

Many women eat yogurt or insert it into the vagina to treat recurring yeast infections, a “folk” remedy for which medical science offers limited support. Oral and vaginal administration of Lactobacilli may help in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis, although there isn’t enough evidence yet to recommend it over conventional approaches. (Vaginosis must be treated because it creates a risk for pregnancy-related complications and pelvic inflammatory disease.) Probiotic treatment of urinary tract infections is under study.

Probiotics are generally considered safe — they’re already present in a normal digestive system — although there’s a theoretical risk for people with impaired immune function. Be sure the ingredients are clearly marked on the label and familiar to you or your health provider. There’s no way to judge the safety of unidentified mixtures.

In the United States, most probiotics are sold as dietary supplements, which do not undergo the testing and approval process that drugs do. Manufacturers are responsible for making sure they’re safe before they’re marketed and that any claims made on the label are true. But there’s no guarantee that the types of bacteria listed on a label are effective for the condition you’re taking them for. Health benefits are strain-specific, and not all strains are necessarily useful, so you may want to consult a practitioner familiar with probiotics to discuss your options. As always, let your primary care provider know what you’re doing.

One to Try:

Strains in Jarro-Dophilus EPS® promote healthy intestinal microflora, which in turn helps to support intestinal health and immune function. Bifidobacteria Iongum BB536 has been clinically shown to stimulate immune response and promote healthy intestinal microfloral balance. L. rhamnosus R0011 is a unique, high producer of polysaccharides that facilitate colonization and stimulate intestinal immune response. L. helveticus R0052 assists in breaking down lactose (milk sugar), which may improve digestion of dairy products by those individuals who are lactose intolerant. Lactococcus and Pediococcus help reduce spoilage caused by unfriendly bacteria in fermented foods.

Jarro-Dophilus EPS® is on sale for $5 off all this month at Baum’s!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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August 2, 2012

Introduction To Probiotics

Our intestinal tract is filled with an enormous number of helpful bacteria called probiotic bacteria. They are called probiotic bacteria because the term “probiotic” means “for life,” as opposed to the term “antibiotic” which means “against life.” Our bodies are actually designed to have a symbiotic relationships with these probiotic bacteria. They help us digest our food, kill harmful microorganisms and keep us functioning properly in a number of ways.

As we look into the intestinal tract we find that there are only a few probiotic bacteria in the stomach because it is highly acidic. However, the further down the intestinal tract we move, the number of these good bacteria increases dramatically with the biggest numbers being found in the large intestine.
We need to have a large population of probiotic bacteria to aid with digestion and to keep the harmful, disease-causing microorganisms in check. If the percentage of good bacteria is too low, compared to the bad bacteria, our bodies function poorly. Over time we are likely to have many health problems.

For the average adult, the intestinal tract will contain about 4 pounds of bacteria. Normally there should be a balance of about 85% probiotic bacteria and 15% harmful bacteria, but many people are so far off that their intestinal tract contains only 15% probiotic bacteria and 85% harmful bacteria.
Scientists are studying the benefits of taking probiotics and are finding it to be very beneficial.

Why We Need Probiotic Supplements

Our bodies are designed to function best with millions of friendly probiotic bacteria living in our intestinal tract. In the past, we replaced the probiotics in our system by constantly eating organic vegetables grown in dirt that was rich with soil-based organisms or drinking raw milk straight from the cow. I myself remember walking into the garden, pulling up young carrots, brushing as much dirt off them as possible and eating them on the spot. Think of the probiotics that were going into my system before I could wash them down the kitchen drain or boil them for 15 to 20 minutes.

Today we need probiotic supplements because there are so many influences that prevent us from getting the probiotics our bodies need.

Today, at least in the United States, many people eat a horrible diet composed of highly processed foods that are filled with chemicals and simple sugars and carbohydrates. Potato chips and Oreo’s are utterly devoid of anything living as are most of the boxed and prepared foods sold in the grocery stores.

Because of the modern agricultural practices, such as the heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers, the soil-based microorganisms are no longer living in the dirt of most farms. We need probiotic supplements to replace what is missing in our food.

The use of antibiotics (remember the “anti” means “against”) directly kills all bacteria in our intestinal tract.

Drinking chlorinated water destroys our intestinal flora. The reason we put chlorine in the water is because it is able to kill bacteria and, unfortunately, it gets the good ones along with the bad when we drink it.

The medical treatment of radiation and chemotherapy also destroys our intestinal flora as well as damaging our immune systems. Any course of chemotherapy absolutely must be followed with heavy doses of probiotic supplements.

Farm animals are continuously fed antibiotics to keep diseases down. When people eat them they also are taking in these antibiotics which then harm the beneficial bacteria in their systems.

Many people who are concerned with health use colonics for detoxification. These practices can wash some of the good bacteria out of their systems.
Alcoholic beverages tend to harm probiotics by killing them directly, encouraging harmful bacteria and yeast overgrowth.

Unfortunately most people simply do not know that the health they experience right now has a direct connection to the billions of beneficial microorganisms that live in their gastrointestinal tract. These are microorganisms which help the body to break down and absorb foods, produce essential elements, while at the same time helping to clean putrefaction and waste, plus kill harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeast.

One to Try:

Strains in Jarro-Dophilus EPS® promote healthy intestinal microflora, which in turn helps to support intestinal health and immune function. Bifidobacteria Iongum BB536 has been clinically shown to stimulate immune response and promote healthy intestinal microfloral balance. L. rhamnosus R0011 is a unique, high producer of polysaccharides that facilitate colonization and stimulate intestinal immune response. L. helveticus R0052 assists in breaking down lactose (milk sugar), which may improve digestion of dairy products by those individuals who are lactose intolerant. Lactococcus and Pediococcus help reduce spoilage caused by unfriendly bacteria in fermented foods.

Jarro-Dophilus EPS® is on sale for $5 off all this month at Baum’s!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.