Numerous Health Benefits Of Probiotics
As part of the so-called “functional foods” – whose components optimize health beyond their nutritional contributions, whether natural or processed – probiotics provide a wide range of benefits to the body. Some benefits include strengthening of the immune system, the balance of intestinal flora, stimulation of vitamin production and support for digestion; as well as its contribution to diarrheal symptoms, lactose intolerance, and allergies, among others.
Here are more detailed information about the benefits of probiotics.
Probiotics: what are they?
According to immunology experts, probiotics are live microorganisms that, after ingestion of a certain amount, exert health benefits beyond natural basic nutrition.
What is the action scope of probiotics?
The scope of these agents is in the intestinal flora, which is composed of different “good” bacteria that cohabit in an equilibrium state.
In order to participate adequately in the microbial balance of the digestive system, probiotics must be kept alive during their transit through the small intestine and colon. Also, they have to have the ability to develop in them as a natural member of this true ecosystem, for which It is necessary that they achieve good adhesion to the intestinal epithelium and do not have pathogenic characteristics.
To meet these requirements, products containing probiotics must maintain their activity and viability throughout the manufacturing and storage process. Therefore, to obtain all the benefits of these preparations, the ideal is to consume it in a concentration of 10 elevated to 7 live bacteria per cubic centimeter. Information that is contained in the specifications of the labels.
Functions of probiotics
- They strengthen the immune system. Each strain serves a different pathology.
- They displace microorganisms harmful to health and prevent their proliferation.
- They help digestion.
- They collaborate in the formation of essential nutrients such as vitamins, enzymes, and fatty acids.
- Stimulate the formation of lactic acid by decreasing the pH of the digestive tract.
- They favor the absorption of calcium, iron, and magnesium.
- They reduce diarrhea caused by antibiotics, which alter the balance of the intestinal flora, which is restored thanks to these microorganisms.
- They reduce traveler’s diarrhea, caused by eating contaminated food.
- It allows reducing atopic dermatitis in allergic infants.
From where are probiotics obtained?
Probiotics are present in food, food supplements, and medicines. In the first case, it is recommended to consume fermented dairy products such as yogurt, milk drinks, milk and cheeses to which live cultures known as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus have been added.
According to specialists, dairy products are an excellent vehicle for probiotics, as they protect them from the high levels of acid in our stomach and the concentration of bile in the intestine, which can damage or eliminate many of those we eat. That is, it increases the chance that beneficial bacteria survive their passage through the intestine. In addition, some non-dairy foods also have beneficial crops, such as sauerkraut and fermented soy drinks. Specialists also warn that the intake of probiotics without specialist supervision is not recommended for patients with their notoriously weakened immune system, for immunocompromised people or for intestinal bleeding.
Benefits of probiotics
Consumed in sufficient quantities and permanently, probiotics make the following contributions to health:
- Increase resistance to infections by potentially pathogenic organisms in the intestine.
- They reduce the duration of diarrhea (for example, associated with antibiotics and traveler infections).
- They reduce lactose intolerance (promote digestion at the intestinal level).
- Increase nutritional value (better digestion, increased absorption of vitamins and minerals).
- Regulate intestinal motility (relieve constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, among others).
- Maintenance of the integrity of the intestinal mucosa.
- It helps reduce chronic stress.
- It helps eliminate excess sugar and processed foods from the body.
- It helps relieve infections by other bacteria and parasites.
- It helps relieve allergies in general.
- It helps reduce skin conditions, such as acne or eczema.
- Help a patient with hormonal imbalances.
There are other benefits of probiotics that go well beyond the intestine.
Mental health problems
Psychobiotics are considered as natural neurochemical drugs because it has been proven that their effects balance emotional or mental disorders. When the flora is altered, alterations of emotions and behavior can also occur. The relationship between food and bacterial flora is bidirectional. When the bacterial composition is modified, there is a change in preferences for one or other foods. And the opposite also happens. Dietary changes modify our flora.
These probiotics, taking adequate amounts of food or probiotic supplements, produce a benefit in patients affected by mental or emotional disorders, since they generate substances such as serotonin, with anxiolytic and antidepressant effects. It has also been proven in clinical research that probiotic supplements in healthy volunteers improved levels of psychological stress, anger and hostility, anxiety, and depression.
Skin health problems
The American Academy of Dermatology explains that in patients with acne and eczema, microorganisms that live on the skin are recognized as strange by the body’s immune system. This system takes action to counteract the threat it feels and the result is inflammation, redness, and protuberances that affect the skin.
Probiotics enter the scene to protect the skin and prevent or interfere with bad bacterias or parasites causing a reaction in our immune system. Although experts do not claim that using probiotics is the definitive formula to end acne or eczema, they do ensure that in combination with good nutrition, sleep hours and medications, if required, will change the results completely.
Prevent and treat oral diseases and infections
One of the main problems that affect our teeth is cavities, produced by bacteria that are fixed on their surface forming a plaque that ends up eliminating calcium and phosphate salts. Today, this demineralization can be reversed, because if we do not do it, the cavities will appear. In addition, it also favors the appearance of other problems such as halitosis. There are numerous probiotic supplements to help against the main problems of the oral cavity, especially against childhood caries.
These supplements restore the healthy bacterial microflora of the mouth naturally. It prevents the formation of dental plaque, bad breath and decreases tooth sensitivity.
Cure and prevent bacterial vaginosis
Vaginosis is a physical condition in the vagina that is characterized by an imbalance of the microbiota, which results in altered flow and sometimes inflammation. Vaginitis is an inflammation that is accompanied by a lot of symptoms (itching, irritation and stinging) caused most often by a fungal infection (candida), but also by sexually transmitted infections.
The recurrence of these conditions is usually due to an imbalance in the pH and flora conditions of the vagina – which favors the growth of bacteria (vaginosis) or fungi (vaginitis). To do this, try to stabilize the pH and provide lactobacilli (which are those that decrease favoring the growth of other species) with probiotics orally or vaginally, measures that can be accompanied by antibiotic treatment in vaginosis. On its benefit in fungal vaginitis, the scientific evidence is not very clear, but experience shows that as the conditions of the vagina improve with lactobacilli, the number of recurrences is reduced.
Importance of intestinal flora
Each individual has a unique composition in their intestinal flora and their balanced development from the moment of birth, which is essential for good health. According to experts, it has been shown that the type of delivery or birth has a great impact on the acquisition of intestinal bacteria, even beyond the neonatal period. Health professionals explain that children born by vaginal delivery and by cesarean section continue to show significant differences in this area, even at 6 months of age.
In this context, experts explain that the microbiota or intestinal flora of infants would be more susceptible to manipulation using supplements with probiotics, compared to those of adults. With an estimated weight of one kilo, the intestinal flora of the digestive system varies in quantity and composition according to the section of the digestive system: while in the stomach it is scarcer due to the acidic pH: it increases until it reaches its maximum level in the colon and in the rest of the large intestine.
Functions of the intestinal flora
- Protect the body from the action of harmful bacteria that can cause infections.
- Allow the proper digestion of food, such as vegetable fiber and lactose, among others.
- Synthesize group B vitamins and vitamin K.
- Strengthen and stimulate the immune system.
Enemies of Your intestinal flora
Some habits can harm flora and end up affecting our emotional balance.
1) Excess sugar
It causes excessive fermentation of carbohydrates and causes anxiety and irritability.
2) Food additives
Like other components of processed foods, they have a “detergent” effect and alter the relationship between intestinal mucus and bacteria, with the risk of causing inflammation and obesity.
It alters the intestinal microbes. In addition, like antacids, it reduces gastric acidity, which has effects on mental health. Ginger, cinnamon, and licorice naturally contribute to balance those levels.
It produces from the third day a decrease in the concentration of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and an increase in anxiety and depressive symptoms.
If we are not forced to take them, there are natural bactericides that do not harm the flora, such as oregano oil, tea tree oil, olive leaf, and garlic, among others.
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