You Can Benefit From Probiotics

Probiotics are dietary supplements of specific types of helpful and beneficial living micro-organisms. The world teems with micro-organisms of both the helpful and harmful kind. Probiotics aim to replace and balance the natural levels of “good” bacteria and yeast that are found in normal human intestines.
Lactic acid bacteria are the most common micro-organisms used as probiotics. These types of bacteria ferment diary products and are used for making yogurt for example. They lower the acidity of the stomach and compete for growth with non beneficial organisms in the stomach.

Uses of Probiotics
Often prescribed by doctor following a course of antibiotics, probiotics are used to replace any beneficial micro-organisms lost because of the antibiotics.
They can be used to supplement conventional medication for a number of conditions these conditions include:

* Diarrhoea
* Vaginal infections
* IBS
* Ulcerative colitis
* Chron’s disease
* Stomach ulcers caused by , H. pylori infection

Probiotics are defined by the World Heath Organization as: Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’. 
Normal intestines contain hundreds of different types of probiotic bacteria. These bacteria are called probiotic because they interact with the environment in the intestine to allow better absorption of nutrients in food.

There is nothing modern about the use of probiotics. These supplements have been used for thousands of years to promote health (mainly in the form of fermented products like milk). Modern supplements aim to make the taking of probiotics more convenient by providing them in pill, capsule and powder forms.

Do Probiotics Actually Work?
In addition to our long historical use of probiotics and all the anecdotal evidence around that, there is good medical evidence supporting probiotic use, especially in these areas:

* Diarrhoea treatment and recovery
* Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
* Urinary track infections
* Eczema 

There are other areas where there may be benefits but the above have scientific support.

Remember
Always make sure that you use a good quality probiotic supplement. Always inform your doctor if you are taking a dietary supplement as part of your treatment.
Think carefully before stopping any prescribed medication and replacing that medication with dietary supplements alone.

References:

* Wikipedia: Probiotic
* FAO/WHO (2001) Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics in Food including Powder Milk with Live Lactic Acid Bacteria.
* Medicinenet: Probiotics
* WebMD: Probiotics

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