The Benefit of Probiotics

Overview
Your body is full of bacteria and microorganisms. A balance of these bacteria and microorganisms is important to your overall health and well-being. Intestinal balance is disturbed when you take antibiotics or when disease-causing microorganisms make their way into your system. A natural way of restoring balance is the use of probiotic products. In order to experience the full benefit of probiotics it is best to match the strain(s) recommended for treating your specific condition.

What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are good bacteria that help to maintain intestinal health. These bacteria are naturally found in your gut and are available in dietary supplements and foods including yogurt, miso, tempeh, fermented milk, and some juice and soy beverages.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, probiotic bacteria come from two groups: Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. The groups encompass different species and different strains. Different strains produce varying benefits, and may treat one condition effectively and not another.

Research
More research is both needed and encouraged. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggests that evidence supports the use of probiotics for diarrhea caused by the rotavirus, for urinary or female genital tract infections, for irritable bowel syndrome or ibs, to reduce the recurrence of bladder cancer, to shorten the duration of infections caused by Clostridium difficile, to prevent and treat pouchitis, and to prevent and manage eczema.

Match Strains to Conditions
It is highly recommended that you match your condition or symptoms to the recommended probiotic strain. Matching the most effective probiotic strain to your condition increases efficacy of the treatment. Based on recognized uses, CNN Health recommends the following probiotic strain-to-condition matches.

If you have stomach upset and diarrhea while using antibiotics, seek products containing S. cerevisiae boulardii, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Bacillus coagulans GBI-30. For urinary and vaginal tract infections, products containing L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14 should provide relief.

To boost your immunity, seek products containing L. casei DN-114001, L. rhamnosus GG and L. acidophilus NCFM. When suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, products containing Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 and L. plantarum DSM9843 will ease symptoms and regulate intestinal health.

For eczema, products containing L. rhamnosus HN001 or L. rhamnosus GG will be the most effective. When you suffer from traveler's diarrhea, products containing S. cerevisiae boulardii will provide the most help.

Immune System
Until you are born, the gut does not contain microorganisms. Outside the womb, your body is inundated with good and bad bacteria, which help stimulate and form your immune system. If you continually add good bacteria to your diet, they help the body decrease the number of bad microbes in the intestines, leading to better health and a stronger immune system.

Considerations
The benefit of probiotics is primarily supported by research to impact the immune system and intestinal health. The foundation for intestinal health is influenced from birth, and the addition of good bacteria encourages well-being. Keep in mind that strain and dosing amounts are important. Contact your health care practitioner for further recommendations.

Source:
Novella Thompson
LivingStrong
05/29/10

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