Health Benefits of Probiotics

Probiotics from fermented dairy products are critical to the body. As the providers of good bacteria, they help the body to maintain the balance between helpful and harmful bacteria. It is this state of balance which constitutes health. In addition, the probiotics can proactively fight infections and the spread of harmful bacteria by starving them of resources. There is also increasing evidence that mental health and moods are affected by gut health. Also, there is increasing evidence that some strains of probiotics keep the heart healthy. The paper covers eight essential benefits of the helpful bacteria. Therefore, it is critical for all people to try and take probiotics in their diets. The best source of the life sustaining bacteria is yoghurt.

 
 

Introduction

Most people think of bacteria as harmful entities but there is evidence to show that some bacteria actually help the body. The studies indicate that these good bacteria are essential to the health of the body. For that reason, healthcare staff urges their patients to take fermented dairy products which are an excellent source of probiotics. It is from these dairy products that one gets benefits including the critical balance of good and bad bacteria, mental health, and prevention of heart disease. It is indeed critical for people of all ages to take fermented dairy products when they can to build up their probiotic levels.

Discussion

First of all, probiotics help to maintain the correct balance of good and bad bacteria required for digestion to take place. The when there is an imbalance, it usually means that the bad bacteria are too many. For some reason, the harmful bacteria are in many areas more dominant than the good ones. Once the imbalance happens, the digestive system cannot do its job properly or efficiently. One will experience gastro-intestinal disorders and an inefficient digestive process. These factors will have a direct effect on the overall health of the body. If the stomach and the rest of the digestive system is not working properly, the whole body will suffer.

One of the most harmful diseases to the body is diarrhea since it bleeds the body of precious fluids and nutrients. Thankfully, it is one of the diseases which can be prevented and possibly treated using probiotics. Patients without independent diagnosis will usually get diarrhea after taking antibiotics. That indicates that the drugs had an effect on the delicate balance in the gastro-intestinal system. In the end, only probiotics can restore that balance and end the diarrhea. The best ready source for the probiotics is yoghurt and that is available in numerous places. Therefore, in this way, probiotics directly lead to the prevention and possible treatment of diarrhea.

There is indeed mounting evidence that probiotic bacteria have a direct influence on mental health due to their effects on the gastro-intestinal system. For a long time, psychiatrists have understood that there are many factors affecting mental health and one of those is physical health. When one is not physically healthy, he or she will also have mental health issues. Recent studies, 15 of them, show that prescribing Bifidobacterium and Lacto bacillus over a one to two month period helped with anxiety and stress. There is a need for further research into these applications but the present results are encouraging.

There is also evidence that the probiotics directly improve the health of the heart by lowering bad cholesterol. According to resent evidence, one way in which probiotics aid in maintaining a healthy heart is through breaking up bile. Bile is mainly cholesterol and cold increase levels in the body if not dealt with. Additionally, other studies show that maintaining probiotics in the diet for 2-8 weeks actually lowers total cholesterol by an impressive 4% and LDL cholesterol by 5%. These are impressive numbers by any measure. More research is being conducted into the applications but they do look quite promising indeed.

Researchers also say that probiotics are directly tied to the treatment of eczema and some allergies. Though it is not a cure, the class of bacteria shows the capacity to reduce the symptoms of the two illnesses. For instance, there is a study which showed that children who were fed probiotic-supplemented milk developed milder symptoms of eczema than children who were fed on regular milk. There is also a lowered risk of developing eczema for the child if the mother takes a probiotic-rich diet. It is worth noting that there is much research to be done to make the links stronger. However, the evidence does suggest that probiotics at least play a role in managing eczema and certain allergies.

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Inflammatory bowel disease affects more than a million Americans though the problem can be dealt with in part by using probiotics. Indeed, probiotics have been shown to have a diminished effect on serious illnesses like Crohns disease. However, it does aid in the management of others. For instance, probiotics have been proven to be almost as effective as drugs in maintaining remission in patients suffering from ulcerative colitis. In addition, probiotics have been shown to reduce the risk of infants developing severe necrotizing enterocolitis by more than 50%. Indeed, probiotics have a wide range of applications in managing, treating, and preventing bowel diseases.

Probiotics also have a direct effect on immunity because they repress the activity of harmful bacteria and promote the production of antibodies. The need for probiotics has already been discussed. However, the applications go beyond just preventing an overpopulation of bad bacteria. For instance, they have been shown to boost the production of natural antibodies in the bodies of those who take probiotic-rich diets. One study that covered 570 participants, all children, showed that Lactobacillus GG could reduce the rate and severity of respiratory infections by more than 17% when used. Probiotics aid the body in defending itself at all stages of human growth and development.

Finally, there are indications that probiotics can aid in managing weight gain and preventing obesity. This is a significant issue because obesity is reaching epic proportions. It is especially the case for the young people of the country. For instance, there is evidence that probiotics directly block the absorption of dietary fat in the intestines. The result is that the fat is excreted instead of going into the system. There is also a study that shows that the addition of probiotics in food increases the chances of losing weight when dieting. All in all, the probiotics will be of great help to those seeking to maintain a healthy body weight.

Challenges

The first challenge is technological and involves the logistics of creating the probiotics in such a way that they are functional in every situation. First of all, they have to survive the manufacturing process. After that, the makers have to ensure that the probiotics stay functional through the freezing and refreezing involved in transport. Finally, the probiotics should not break down during the period when they are on the shelf. These are all technological challenges which need to be solved soon.

There is also the marketing challenge which is also technological which is; how will the customer receive the product? To begin with, the probiotics should not interfere with the taste otherwise people will not buy the product. That means adding flavor or altering the probiotics in some fashion. The smell also has to be pleasant so that the customers keep coming back. Finally, the probiotic should be both generic and effective. They should be generic so that they do not cause adverse reactions in some customers and effective so that they serve their purpose. The challenges are quite daunting but can be overcome.

Finally, there is the challenge of getting young people to look at a probiotic diet as healthy and cool. The problem with todays environment is that healthy food is not viewed as cool for most children. However, it is critical to get people to get the bacteria from as early as possible. It will be critical to understand what children and the youth want. The message has to be specially tailored for them. It will be indeed a challenge especially in a world which adores fast food and sugar. However, it is a challenge that has to be overcome. The young ones cannot be allowed to miss out on the benefits of probiotics.

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Conclusion

It is fair to say that probiotics are critical for the health of the body and mind. They ensure digestion takes place efficiently, treats diseases like diarrhea, and are a significant factor in treating bowel irritation and diseases. Mental and cardiac health is also directly tied to the consumption of probiotics. However, there are still challenges including retaining the probiotics effectiveness during transport, selling, and consumption. Marketing will also be an issue because the taste, smell, and look have to be perfect otherwise people will not consume the product. The stakeholders also have to make a probiotic-rich diet cool to children and young people. Every person should have an opportunity to partake of.

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