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Definition of Probiotics

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Definition of Probiotics ~ IControlMyHealth

Introduction of Probiotics

According to World Health Organization (WHO), probiotics are live microorganisms that are invisible to the naked eye. its are defined alternatively as live microbial supplements that affect the host by improving intestinal microbial balance.

They are also referred to as “good bacteria” and are similar to the organisms found in the human body. These organisms when administered in sufficient amounts may have a beneficial effect on a person’s health.

It contains different types of bacteria and the effect varies from person to person. Probiotics are food products and not pharmaceuticals; hence the effect produced is not dramatic or very large.

These have been demonstrated to be effective in a variety of health conditions including travelers’ diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infections, atopic eczema, oral health, and certain inflammatory conditions. The strains most frequently used as probiotics include lactic acid bacillus and bifidobacteria.

In U.S. and Europe, supermarkets and pharmacies are flooded with probiotics and claim that they improve health. They are available as dietary supplements, including capsules, tablets, and powders, and in dairy foods like yogurt.

However, clinically proven it is not available in the developing world and is certainly not affordable by the majority of the population. The availability of probiotics in developed nations corresponds to growing consumer demand for foods that improve health and maintain wellness.

Mechanism of Action

Probiotic dairy products appear to be an excellent means of nutritious foods. Mechanism of action includes a positive effect on the immune system and the production of antimicrobial (substances that remove harmful organisms) agents. They beneficially affect the host by improving survival and implantation of live dietary supplements in the gastrointestinal flora. Organisms like streptococcus thermophiles and lactobacillus delbrueckii species are incorporated into the yogurt and are used by probiotics.

Discussion of Probiotics

Intestinal microflora changes have been associated with an enhanced risk of specific diseases. Therefore, to correct the imbalance you need probiotic therapy. It is important to mention that the probiotic strain should be well tolerated by the immune system. It should not be allergic or disease-causing.

Probiotics are becoming increasingly important owing to the rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance and the adverse effects of antibiotics on the protective intestinal flora, which enhances the risk of infection. A large body of the animal and human research has provided evidence that specific strains of probiotics are able to stimulate as well as regulate natural and acquired immune responses.

However, the efficacy of it against immunological disorders such as asthma, cancers, diabetes, and arthritis in humans is yet to be proven. Research has shown that probiotics are safe with fewer side effects. However, the data on safety is limited. With probiotic usage, the risk of serious side effects may be seen in immunocompromised people or people with an underlying health condition.

References

  1. Chapman CM, Gibson GR, Rowland I. Health benefits of probiotics: are mixtures more effective than single strains? European journal of nutrition. 2011 Feb;50(1):1-17. PubMed PMID: 21229254.
  2. Gill H, Prasad J. Probiotics, immunomodulation, and health benefits. Advances in experimental medicine and biology. 2008;606:423-54. PubMed PMID: 18183940.
  3. Rijkers GT, de Vos WM, Brummer RJ, Morelli L, Corthier G, Marteau P. Health benefits and health claims of probiotics: bridging science and marketing. The British journal of nutrition. 2011 Nov;106(9):1291-6. PubMed PMID: 21861940.
  4. Nagpal R, Kumar A, Kumar M, Behar PV, Jain S, Yadav H. Probiotics, their health benefits and applications for developing healthier foods: a review. FEMS microbiology letters. 2012 Sep;334(1):1-15. PubMed PMID: 22568660.
  5. Rowland I. Probiotics and benefits to human health–the evidence in favor. Environmental Microbiology. 1999 Oct;1(5):375-6. PubMed PMID: 11207755.
  6. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/probiotics/introduction.htm.

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