Your stomach is the residing place for bacteria, both good and bad. The good bacteria called “probiotics” are found in abundance in the human digestive system. It is fascinating that an abundance of probiotics means over one hundred trillion bacteria in the digestive system, categorized in five hundred different species. The functions performed by these bacteria include ensuring your intestinal health, maintaining a balance of the type of organisms present in the stomach and assisting in the digestive process.
The need for probiotic supplements:
Although probiotics are found naturally in the body, often the natural balance of these bacteria are disrupted due to stress, illness, intake of antibiotics, etc. It is always a good idea to add probiotic supplements to the diet in order to restore the balance and health of the body. A boost in the level of probiotic bacteria reduces the growth of harmful bacteria, restores the health of your digestive system and acts as a preventive or reactive measure to problems such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, eczema, Crohn’s disease, etc. In addition, there have been clinical studies documenting the effectiveness of probiotic in treating gastrointestinal disease, allergies in children and vaginal infections in women.
They are ideal for adults as they carry no side effects.
The studies have also shown that these supplements are safe and free of side effects for adults without any specific diseases. However, there is scope for further research to ensure whether this is true for children, pregnant women and elderly.
If you have decided to self-dose yourself with probiotics, you will see the word probiotic on labels of almost everything – supplements, foods such as yogurt and granola bars. Exploring the health supplement section of your local supermarket may not be useful if you don’t know the exact parameters to select the specific product.
Probiotic supplements are not approved by the FDA for the simple reason that they are not drugs. They are subjected to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 that places the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the products on the manufacturer. Therefore, it is recommended to select the product based on a company’s reputation and it’s success in the field based on research studies. Trustworthy products tend to specify the strand of probiotics and the number of organism present in a dose. The majority of these supplements contain the bacteria strands most required by the body: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. It is not necessary that supplements with more strands are better but it is recommended by the experts to change supplements every two months for better results.
Available in various forms:
These supplements are available in the form of pills, powder and liquid shots. They are required to be stored at a prescribed temperature to stay in a good as well as an effective form. Some are kept at very low temperatures while some others at room temperature. But the usefulness of the supplements depends mainly on the microbes it contains and not on its form. Probiotics are safe and an overdose does not induce sickness but it is important to ensure that the supplement does not contain any impurity. It is always smart to discuss your probiotic needs with your physician or pharmacists in order to ensure that you don’t end up wasting your money on the wrong products.