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Restore Digestive Health With Probiotics

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Dr. Minocha  is a practicing gastroenterologist and author of "Natural Stomach Care: Treating and Preventing Digestive Disorders with Best of Eastern and Western Therapies"


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THE WORLD INSIDE YOUR BODY

When most people think of bacteria in the body, the first thing that comes to mind is usually infection and the need for antibiotics to get rid of them. But there are billions of bacteria in your digestive system, both good and bad, all the time and sometimes we even need to supplement with the good bacteria in order to prevent the bad bacteria from doing damage.

BOWEL ECOLOGY

Friendly bacteria manufacture nutrients, get rid of toxins, safeguard against putrefaction in the digestive tract, crowd out and destroy "bad" bacteria, improve digestive processes and enhance our body's immune defenses. A shift in the balance of power among the intestinal bacteria can have major consequences on your health. Widespread use of antibiotics has perhaps been the biggest factor responsible for upsetting the ecological balance in the gut.

WHAT ARE PROBIOTICS

Probiotics are the organisms that protect and enhance our life. They support the life of friendly bacteria. Some common supplemental probiotics include the yeast Saccharomyces and the bacterias Lactobacillus, Streptococcus and Bifidobacterium. L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus are essential organisms in any commercially available yogurt, although many additional probiotics may be contained in yogurts sold in health food stores.

Prebiotics are foods that digested by bacterial enzymes to produce nutrients for the colonic health. Common examples of prebiotics include fiber, especially oat and barley.

EXAMPLES OF PROBIOTICS

Lactobacillus GG (LGG) produces a bactericidal substance which is active against several kinds of bacteria,

 

including E. coli and Salmonella. Several scientific studies have documented the beneficial role of LGG in preventing in preventing intestinal problems. One study demonstrated that LGG results in a 47% reduction in traveler's diarrhea among subjects visiting developing countries.

Administration of probiotics has also been shown to prevent spread of diarrhea among kids in day care. Widespread use of Lactobacillus has been shown to prevent diarrhea among malnourished children in developing nations.

Several scientific studies have documented the beneficial effect of probiotics in illnesses like food allergies, antibiotic associated diarrhea, infantile diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome and colon cancer.

In general, probiotics are more helpful in viral than in bacterial diarrhea suggesting immune enhancement as the mechanism of their action.

BENEFITS BEYOND THE GUT

Probiotics exert their healing properties beyond gut too. They have been shown to decrease infectious complications in severe pancreatitis. Oral administration of probiotics is helpful in bacterial vaginosis. Some probiotics inhibit carcinogenesis in animals and may be valuable against cancer. Studies also suggest that they help lower blood cholesterol.......................... ...............................Restore Digestive health with Probiotics continued on page 2

 

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Probiotics

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