Any shopping trip to the grocery store and you are bound to see probiotics all around you. You can find them in yogurt, kefir and stand alone supplements. So you might be wondering what exactly are probiotics? According to the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization of the United Nations, “probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”. It is estimated that human digestive tract has approximately 400 different probiotic microorganisms. These types of gut flora are either from the bacteria Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium groups while others are yeast such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae or Saccharomyces boulardii.
Research has shown that probiotics have been linked to assisting with the immune system against infection, has anti-cancer potential, and potential as a bio-therapeutic agent in cases of antibiotic-associated diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Further research has shown probiotics in treatment of H.Pylori (peptic ulcers), lowering blood pressure and serum cholesterol as well as being anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial. Probiotics may also help in treating symptoms associated with food allergies, lactose intolerance, colic and hay fever.
Look for probiotics that include prebiotcs. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or activity of bacteria in the digestive system, food for probiotics in other words. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are common prebiotics. Here at the office we have a couple of excellent probiotics that have worked so well for so many of you! Designs for Health’s Flora Myces is Saccharomyces boulardii–good yeast fighting bad yeast. Apex Energetics’ Strengtia is a wonderful pro and prebiotic combination.
Remember to eat your fermented foods as they have plenty of probiotic microorganisms in them as well! Try kimichi, miso, sauerkraut, and goat yogurt! Enjoy!
Agin, Katie. “Probiotics: Linking Gut Health to Whole-Body Care.” Whole Foods Magazine, http://www.wholefoodsmagazineonline.com/supplements/features/probiotics-linking-gut-health-whole-body-care-0.
WebMD. Digestive Disorders Health Center, “Probiotics – Topic Overview.” http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/tc/probiotics-topicoverview?print=true#
Wikipedia Probiotics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prebiotic_(nutrition)