Probiotics and Acidophilus
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics, alternatively known as Direct Fed Micro Organisms (DFM), are a kind of dietary supplements or foods containing live microorganisms mostly in the form of yeasts, viruses, and bacteria. As the name suggests, probiotics - literally meaning ‘supporting life’ - has been considered beneficial for both human and animal health. In other words, probiotics are friendly or beneficial bacteria which when used in right proportion helps for a healthy digestive system by maintaining the integrity of the intestinal walls as well as internal systems, thereby avoiding such digestive disorders as diarrhea, constipation, and inflammatory bowel disease. Naturally, probiotics are found in intestine or bowel, especially of breast-fed babies. However, probiotics are mostly available as supplements such as tablets, capsules, and freeze dried powder.
When consumed, probiotics acts in such a way that it competes with unhealthy microforms and harmful bacteria present in our body, apart from effectively neutralizing toxins, improving the immune system, and preventing harmful infections. Probiotics including bacteria generally fall into two classifications of bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These bacteria further contain different types of strains, each with its own significance. Some of the most important types of bacterial strains used in probiotic supplements are Lactobacillus acidophilus, which contains properties to inhibit pathogenic organisms; Bifidobacterium bifidum, which is effective in invading pathogenic bacteria; Lactobacillus rhamnosus, a probiotic advantageous for the treatment of gastrointestinal problems; Lactobacillus salivarius, with properties to combat Helicobacter pylori bacteria which is a major cause for peptic ulcers; Bifidobacterium longum, which can inhibit the growth of breast, colon, and liver cancers; Lactobacillus lactis, which serves as a natural antibiotic; and Saccharomyces.
From helping for the overall well-being digestive system to alleviating inflammation and lowering cholesterol, benefits derived through the usage of probiotics are numerous. Discussed further are some of the prime health benefits of probiotics:
Normalizing Blood Pressure: According to several studies, intake of foods containing probiotics such as fermented milk has been proven effective for normalizing blood pressure, as it is rich in the strains of Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB.)
Prevention of Unhealthy Bacteria: Consumption of probiotics supplements help to prevent harmful bacteria found on the intestines.
Enhancing Immune System as well as the prevention of harmful infections: Since it can prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and encourage the production of cells integral to protect us against infections and such devastating as cancers, probiotics ensure healthy digestive system.
Reduction of Inflammation: Supplements and foods inclusive of probiotics are regarded as an effective alternative to prevent occurrence of disease like Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Maintaining Lactose Intolerance: Since LAB (Lactic Acid Bacteria) could easily convert lactose to lactic acid, its consumption allows individuals with lactose intolerance to tolerate more lactose.
Apart from these, probiotics are also beneficial to treat a number of such other conditions as Traveler’s diarrhea, side effects as a result of radiation therapy, irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal inflammation, ulcerative colitis, small intestine bacterial overgrowth, constipation, vaginal yeast infections, and puchitis. Since probiotics can increase the immune system, it could help prevent devastating ailments such as liver damage due to excessive intake of alcohol, colon cancer and bladder cancer. Above all, it is a great choice to properly assimilate nutrients from food and enhance the bioavailability of fats and proteins in the diet through the fragmentation of nutrients in the digestive tract.
As mentioned earlier, probiotics foods include live, friendly bacteria that are beneficial for your health. Probiotics are mostly found in fermented foods, particularly cultured dairy products. One of the finest examples of probiotic food is acidophilus milk, which is fermented with bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. Another important food that contains probiotics is yogurt, which is mostly rich in such bacteria as lactobacillus GG and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. Among the most common types of probiotics that form a major constituent for the manufacture of dairy products are the strains of Lactobacillus bacteria and Bifidobacterium. Certain types of soft cheeses and pickles, Miso soup, soy products, buttermilk, and some juices are the other foods that contain probiotics. Majority of the foods containing probiotics are partially fermented. Further, dairy products inclusive of probiotics are produced in such a that live acid bacteria is not destroyed during its processing. There are also certain leafy green items that contain probiotics, some examples for which are chlorella, spirulina, and wheat grass.
Acidophilus is a kind of good bacteria that naturally occurs in intestines and vagina. Also known as Lactobacillus acidophilus, probiotic acidophilus has in its agents to shield our body against harmful bacteria and other organisms that may cause ailments to the body. One of the prime benefits of acidophilus is that it has the ability to produce Vitamin B, which in turn can improve the digestion process and minimize the risk of colon cancer. Another benefit of it is that it can repopulate the bowel’s micro flora. Supplements containing probiotic acidophilus are considered effective in treating Candida, gastrointestinal upsets, and allergies. Nowadays, probiotic acidophilus supplements come in a variety of forms such as tablets, powders, capsules, and liquids. For best results, it is recommended to use these supplements on an empty stomach, preferably an hour before a meal.
Dogs and Cats
Not only for human beings, probiotics are also essential for all animals, and hence no exception for dogs and cats. Mostly, dogs have in it the required amount of probiotics in the form of bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Bifidobacterium bifidum, all of which promotes for the smooth functioning of intestine and preventing the growth of harmful viruses and bacteria. However, in certain situations, due to the intake dreadful antibiotics or due to some harmful pathogens like salmonella, the probiotics’ natural population may be reduced in your pet’s body. This in turn adversely affects the immune system. Hence, it is important to include supplements or foods containing probiotics in your pet’s regular diet.