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Revision as of 15:45, 8 January 2012
According to FAO/WHO, probiotics are “Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”. There are many types of bacteria used as probiotics and the lactic acid bacteria and the Bifidobacterium Bifidum strains are among the most widely used. These beneficial bacteria are used to increase good bacteria population in the gut, the female genitalia and in areas where there is an overpopulation of harmful organisms; good bacteria work to keep harmful organism growth at normal levels so that it may not cause any harm.
Probiotics are found primarily in products such as fermented milk, yoghurt, cheeses and milk drinks. It can also be in the form of dietary supplements as well.
History and Origin
A Russian scientist and Nobel laureate, Elie Metchnikoff, was the first person to observe the positive effects of good bacteria in the body. The probiotic treatment was beginning to develop during that time in the beginning of the 20th century and many other researchers have made productive research regarding the effect of good bacteria in the fight with opportunistic organisms that cause illnesses of the digestive tract and many other infections as well.
Probiotics were also considered in the study of the benefits of breast milk to the overall growth of infants and children. The term probiotics was a combination of two Latin words; pro which means for and biotics derived from the word bios which means life.
Probiotics were unheard of during the ancient times. There was no mention of this method of treatment until the early part of the 20th century. Ancient cultures merely relied on good food and healthy habits to become healthy and strong. Illnesses were treated with herbal remedies and formulas.
Probiotics has countless benefits to the human body. It first benefits the digestive tract providing the ability to digest food completely and to utilize food nutrients and energy to the full. It also promotes a healthy colon, free from harmful toxins, yeast and bad bacteria. Harmful bacteria population is kept at bay plus it is a treatment for yeast and fungal infections of the gut, the oral cavity, the male and female genitalia and also the skin. Studies regarding the prevention of colon cancer with regular use of probiotics are also currently being considered. It is also a great treatment to lower blood cholesterol levels, have a positive effect on systemic blood pressure and have the ability to increase immune system function.
Probiotics may also be ideal for the treatment of diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory illnesses and many other such diseases.
Probiotics are encouraged for just about anyone. It can benefit everybody since a good colon is the first step to prevent many serious illnesses. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are encouraged to take yoghurt, milk drinks and milk products with probiotics. Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their infants up to two years of age and beyond to get the best out of probiotics in breast milk. Although some people have reported stomach upset and gas on the first try of taking probiotics, these symptoms will just disappear after a while.