Probiotics: Can they Provide Better Bowel Movement?
bowel movements eight hours after every significant meal ensures utmost cleaning
of gastrointestinal (GI) tracts. Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies have
established that probiotic therapy can help treat several gastrointestinal ills,
delay the development of allergies in children, and treat and prevent vaginal
and urinary infections in women.
Our body is home to a wide variety of creatures too small to see. Comprising
predominantly of bacteria that populate our gut, some fungi, and even viruses.
Probiotics are beneficial gut bacteria that help stimulate the natural digestive
juices and enzymes that keep our digestive organs functioning properly. There
are two main groups of probiotics: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Each group
has different species, and each species has different strains.
The cells that make up your
(heart, liver, bone, and brain cells) add up to around 1013 cells
(10,000,000,000,000). The bacteria in your gut outnumber the cells that make up
you ten to one. By far, most of these bacteria are found in the colon.
Avoid frequent use of antibiotics as it can upset
the balance of good and bad bacteria.
More Benefit of Probiotics:
Researches have shown that a number of diseases—including cardiovascular
disease, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease—are associated with changes in
our gut bacteria or microbiota. Some have been linked to obesity.
They help to train the
The bacteria in the gut help to stimulate and train the immune
system. There is also some intriguing new research that supports
the theory that gut bacteria can have a calming effect on an
overactive immune system. This creates hope for the possibility
of new ways to reduce
Research in mice published last year suggested that while one
strain of bacteria, H elicobacter
hepaticus, can promote
IBD when introduced into the digestive tract, a molecule
produced by another strain of bacteria, B acter
oi des fragilis, may signal immune
cells to suppress the disease's characteristic inflammation.
Clinical trial results are mixed, but several small studies
suggest that certain probiotics may help maintain remission of
ulcerative colitis and prevent relapse of Crohn’s disease and
the recurrence of pouchitis (a complication of surgery to treat
Aid in Digestion: The bacteria in the first part of the colon
help to ferment and digest
carbohydrates, and the ones in the latter part of the colon help to
The most beneficial of the digestive processes appears to be had from the
digesting of carbohydrates; much of the nutrient value we derive comes from
the ability of bacteria to digest hard-to-digest carbohydrates. Any
carbohydrate such as a
which is too difficult for us to digest – or any carbohydrate that simply
wasn’t digested earlier in the digestive tract – becomes food for the
bacteria in the colon. Ideally your digestive tract should have 85% good
bacteria and 15% bad bacteria.
Nourishment: As these probiotics are munching on undigested food in the
colon, they help us absorb key
vitamins such as biotin and vitamin K. They also help to balance water in
the gut. Studies show that probiotics improve the bio-availability of many
important nutrients in the body such as zinc, iron, phosphorus, all of the B
calcium, copper, and magnesium.
Prevent Toxic build up: Good bacteria compete for food and
attachment sites (areas in the gut where bacteria are capable of
implanting), and produce
toxins that are harmful to the invading bacteria; this helps in keeping
the population of bad bacteria low. Acidophilus, for example, produces
hydrogen peroxide which is directly toxic to many bacteria.
Ward off Obesity: One recent study by researchers in Arizona
suggests that certain microbes that improve nutrient digestion, and are
present in about 10 percent of the population, occur almost exclusively in
and not in people who are normal weight or who have had gastric bypass
surgery. Despite the accumulating evidence, though, the field is still in
its infancy, says John DiBaise, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in
Arizona and an author of the study. That means it's far too early to try to
manipulate your own gut bacteria through probiotics or prebiotics with an
eye to losing pounds.
Minimum scope for Kidney Stone: One microbe, Oxalobacter
formigenes, can break down the substance that makes up most kidney stones,
calcium oxalate. Researchers from Boston University reported that people
with the O. formigenes bug in their guts had a 70 percent lower risk of
Urogenital Health: Probiotics may also be of use in maintaining
urogenital health. Like the intestinal tract, the vagina has a finely
balanced ecosystem. The dominant Lactobacilli strains normally make it too
acidic for harmful microorganisms to survive. But the system can be thrown
out of balance by a number of factors, including antibiotics, spermicides,
and birth control pills. Probiotic treatment that restores the balance of
microflora may be helpful for such common female urogenital problems as
bacterial vaginosis (disease of the vagina caused by bacteria), yeast
urinary tract infection.
Reduction in Cholesterol Level: People affected with
hypercholesterolemia may avert the use of
cholesterol-lowering drugs by practicing dietary control or
supplementation of probiotics and/or prebiotics. In a study published by
the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a diet that combined soy and a
probiotic supplement significantly reduced harmful lipids in the
system. “Based on the currently available literature, we can state that
oral probiotics have beneficial effects on total cholesterol and LDL
cholesterol for subjects with high, borderline-high and normal cholesterol
study’s authors concluded. They noted that the average reduction in
lipid levels was less than 3% and therefore relatively small compared with
available lipid-lowering medications. They went on to suggest that
probiotics might be useful in conjunction with medications in people with
high cardiovascular risk.
Increased Ability to Absorb Calcium: Bananas are an exceptionally
rich source of fructooligosaccharide, a compound that nourishes probiotic
(friendly) bacteria in the colon. These beneficial bacteria produce enzymes
that increase our digestive ability and protect us from unhealthy bacteria
infections. Thanks to fructooligosaccharides, probiotic bacteria can
increase both in number and functionality, increasing our body’s ability to
absorb calcium. In addition, green bananas contain indigestible short chain
fatty acids (SCFAs) that are very nutrient to the cells that make up the
mucosa of the stomach. These cells, when healthy, absorb calcium much more
for Bad Breath (Halitosis): Occasionally, bad breath is due to something in
the lungs or gastrointestinal tract, or to a systemic infection. Scientists
suspect that some bacteria, particularly bacteria located on the top of your
tongue closest to your throat, actually protect against foul-smelling breath.
Other types of bacteria, however, produce a pungent odor as they multiply.
Melons, berries and citrus fruits such
as oranges are packed with vitamin C,
something that doesn't sit well with the
bacteria in your mouth. Instead of
continuing to reproduce, the bacteria
will begin to die. And the more C-laden
fruits you eat, the more oral germs
you'll kill. Kefir is a good start.
Probiotic Foods Sources
- Dark Chocolate
- Kefir- creamy dairy drink similar to yogurt.
- Sauerkraut- made from fermented cabbage
- Miso Soup
- Microalgae- such as spirulina, chorella, and blue-green algae.
- Tempeh: a fermented, probiotic-rich grain made from soy beans.
- Kimchi: an extremely spicy and sour fermented cabbage.
- Kombucha Tea
You can also get plenty of beneficial bacteria by taking a probiotic
Note: When buying fermented food products, make sure the labels
include words such as "live" or "active cultures."
Dated 24 March 2012