Turn on your TV and it is only a matter of time before a probiotics product is being touted. There are numerous supplements on the market and one yogurt company uses its products probiotic content as its main selling feature. So, what are probiotics and how can they benefit you?
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics, according to the World Health Organization, are microorganisms offering health benefits to the host (that would be you!). When the intestines are overloaded or weakened due to poor diet, health issues, or even stress, they can help the intestinal bacteria work more effectively. In simplest terms, they help to keep you “regular.”
While “study” results are mixed, some do point to success with both irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s Disease. If you have or know someone with these conditions, you know how frustrating it can be in terms of treatment. Studies and research remain in progress.
As was briefly touched on above, they have been very popular in the treatment of diarrhea. This has been particularly effective in treating younger children. In fact, some studies have shown results of approximately 60 percent reduction in diuretic symptoms compared to the control patients.
Women have also shown positive results when using these microorganisms to treat some vaginal conditions. Yogurt containing probiotics was and is considered a holistic treatment for yeast infections. Some women on medication, such as antibiotics, or that are using products such as birth control pills and spermicides will use probiotics to “balance” their system.
As with any supplement, there may be some side effects for those using this as a supplement or in a food product. For some, the live bacteria may actually grow in abundance. Please note, this is a very rare circumstance and is generally only seen in individuals with an already weakened immune system. Women that are pregnant and/or breastfeeding should check with their doctor before using any supplement to ensure it is safe.
Today, these microorganisms are readily available. Most health and/or drug stores offer them as a supplement. And, as mentioned previously, there are numerous food products on the market touting this as an ingredient to regulate your system and improve your overall health.
Using a Nutritional Specialist
Before using any supplement, you would be wise to consult with a nutrition specialist. He or she can offer feedback as to the best form (meaning as a supplement or food product) as well as the dosage. He or she can also provide more feedback concerning both the benefits and side effects of using this type of supplement.