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How Beneficial are Probiotics?

* the opinions expressed are those of the author and not Nutrition Ink.

** Always consult with your primary care provider before starting any supplement regimen.

 

 

 

There are a lot of probiotic supplements on the market that claim that they will prevent or treat diseases such as obesity, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and diabetes. That sounds great doesn’t it? Especially, to those who live with the negative effects of those diseases. After some research to look into the validity of those claims, this is what was uncovered. Probiotics are live microorganisms that when taken in adequate amounts will provide health benefits to the host or person. When inflammation occurs throughout the body, it can cause diseases to arise and progress, so it is important to get the inflammation under control. Since there are billions of probiotic strains, it has been difficult for researchers to identify the precise way that probiotics are able to reduce inflammation in the gut. The cell surface and cell wall of the probiotics determine how the probiotic will interact with the host’s cells and tissues. Since there are billions of probiotic strains that can be consumed there are a wide variety of functions that are occurring. However, the two main functions of probiotics are to protect the gut against pathogens and provide nutrients through the breakdown of non-digestible carbohydrates, which are found in fruits and vegetables. If pathogens are reduced within the gut then it is possible to reduce the amount of inflammation that occurs, because inflammation will continue until the pathogen is cleared. Research shows that it is important to consume probiotics strains that are still alive, so that they can survive the acidic conditions of the stomach. It is also important to consume probiotics with a minimum strain count of ten million, because not all the probiotic bacteria will be able to survive the stomach acid and make it to the intestine. So, when picking out a probiotic supplement from the store, choose a probiotic that is still alive and has a strain count of ten million or higher to ensure positive results. If you are suffering from any of the diseases mentioned earlier then you may want to consider incorporating a probiotic, because having a healthy functioning gut is important. 

 

Sources

 

1.    O'Callaghan A, van Sinderen D. Bifidobacteria and Their Role as Members of the Human Gut Microbiota. Front Microbiol. 2016;7:925. Published 2016 Jun 15. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2016.00925
2.    Sniffen JC, McFarland LV, Evans CT, Goldstein EJC. Choosing an appropriate probiotic product for your patient: An evidence-based practical guide. PLoS One. 2018;13(12):e0209205. Published 2018 Dec 26. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0209205

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