The term probiotic refers to beneficial, friendly bacteria in a supplement form. You can acquire these good bacteria through diet or through supplements. They are similar to the beneficial bacteria already found in the digestive tract. The two main forms of good bacteria in the digestive tract are lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. The largest amount of Lactobacilli is found in the small intestine. The colon has the highest amount of bifidobacteria. Each form of bacteria has its own benefits. Most probiotic products contain one or both of these bacteria, as well as one or more species of these bacteria. Some of the benefits of lactobacilli include preventing the over growth of certain disease causing microbes like E.coli, Candida, Salmonella, and Helicobacter pylori, also referred to as H.pylori. They aid in the digestion of lactose and dairy products, prevent and treat diarrhea caused by the use of antibiotics and improve the absorption of nutrients. They also help prevent yeast and urinary tract infections.
Lactobacilli create more acid in the intestinal tract which keeps the ph low. Yeast and other pathogens cannot survive in a low ph environment. The bifidobacteria protects the integrity of the intestinal lining which prevents yeast and other pathogenic bacteria from colonizing. This also helps prevent the production and absorption of toxins which are produced by disease causing bacteria. This in turn protects the liver from a toxic over load. Bifidobacteria produces acid to keep the ph in the intestinal tract balanced. They help decrease the side effects from antibiotics as well as the diarrhea associated with antibiotics. They also prevent the growth of nitrate forming bacteria. Nitrates in the bowel can be toxic and cause cancer.
There is some scientific evidence that states taking probiotics can be beneficial to your health. Researchers are also studying the ways that probiotics can help or prevent certain conditions. Most of the popular and widely used probiotic products contain Lactobacillus acidophilus. This is because the acidophilus is the most prevalent species found in the intestinal tract. The wide spread use of antibiotics that are supposed to kill the bad germs and bacteria are also killing the good bacteria as well. Other factors that are increasing the depletion of these friendly bacteria are chlorinated water, the pasteurization and sterilization of milk and food, plus the use of food preservatives.
Food is a good source of beneficial bacteria, but when it is cooked it destroys the good as well as the bad bacteria. All of this disrupts the intestinal flora or friendly bacteria. It is important to kill the harmful germs and bacteria in food to prevent illness and disease, but it is also important to have healthy bacteria in food to prevent illness and disease. Increasing the intake of probiotics is one way to keep the good intestinal flora from being killed. This will help keep us healthier and hopefully prevent some diseases. Probiotics do not replace existing beneficial bacteria but keeps it healthy so it can do its job of keeping us healthy.