Probiotics: Friend or Foe?
Probiotics (acidophilus and bifidobacterium) have become popular health supplements in last 20 years. There are about 500-1000 types of bacteria that are living in our gut and about similar number of bacteria are present in our skin. However, most of the bacteria have no known useful or harmful effects. But, Probiotic Bacteria are the live microbes that are advantageous for the host creature….aka YOU.
There are lots of dairy products (yoghurt, kefir and miso) and dietary supplements that contain Probiotic bacteria. As Probiotics are not drugs, they are not regulated by FDA (Food And Drug Administration). But, excess intake of Probiotics without any prior Doctor’s prescription may be harmful.
Let’s have a look on the benefits and risks regarding Probiotics.
Health Benefits of Probiotics:
Our Digestive system contains both good and bad bacteria. Disturbance in environment upset our digestive system and increases the number of bad bacteria due to which we catch so many diseases such as Diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, urinary tract infections, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), etc. Use of Probiotics in diet helps in sustaining the balance between these two kinds of bacteria.
Moreover, Probiotics helps in avoiding MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). MRSA is a type of bacteria that is opposed to certain sort of antibiotics. MRSA starts as little pimples and quickly turn into deep, agonizing blisters. Sometimes, the bacteria go deep into the body and cause severe infections in bones, lungs, etc.
Probiotics helps the gastrointestinal tract to execute its work of digestion more efficiently. According to the recent research from Austria- nutritional solutions like Probiotic blend contain a protein called Zonulin that is helpful in recovering gut function and reducing gastrointestinal complaints.
Probiotics are also helpful in improving the immune system by increasing the good bugs in our body. Kathryn Marsden wrote a book ” Good Gut Bugs How the Healing Powers of Probiotics Can Transform Your Health“ . It’s an easily accessible and lively book that highlights the benefits of Probiotics. She has outstandingly explained the working of Probiotics and how easy dietary changes will help in getting benefit from them.
Harmful effects of Probiotics:
Probiotics contain live micro organisms that are said to be beneficial for health. But, some side effects are also linked with Probiotics. Therefore, specialist’s prescription is necessary before the usage of Probiotic supplements. The usage of Probitics is strictly prohibited to the person who had heart valve replacement because there is a chance of bacterial infection.
Risk Factors Associated With Probiotics:
Probiotics are not monitored by the U.S. FDA. According to Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), dietary supplements manufacturer is accountable for confirming the safe formation of dietary supplements. So, we can’t be sure about the safety or the ingredients of the supplements offered to us.
ConsumerLab.com (CL) is the only one voluntary certification provider that examines the quality of supplements. They stringently checks the products on different factors like strength, purity, etc. CL approval seal is printed over the verified products, which is the hallmark of genuineness of products.
There are various studies reveal the benefits of Probiotics, but more research still needs to be done to ensure that the consumption of Probiotics in food or as a supplement is harmless. However, it is confirmed from this article that the use of a prescribed dose of Probiotics does not cause any harm to the body.
About the author
Eve Charlton is an amateur dietician and takes keen interest in health and fitness related solutions available worldwide. She often contributes through health and fitness awareness articles and blogs to make people around her more conscious and live healthy life. She is a voracious reader herself and hence often suggests some good books in her articles and blogs.