Probiotics for Good Digestive Health

Though the term “probiotic” was coined in 1965, people started to learn about them as far back as the beginning of the 20th century. It all started when a Russian scientist noticed that certain populations of Bulgarians who ingested large amounts of fermented milk lived an extremely long time.

It turned out that fermented milk (yogurt) contains lots of bacteria that are very good for you. So good for you, in fact, that some experts claim that taking probiotics can dramatically reduce the effects of aging.

What are Probiotics?
They are the “good” bacteria that live naturally in your gut. Potentially “bad” bacteria reside there as well, and your good health relies in part upon the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria.

Probiotics stimulate digestion, help your body fight against infections, and boost your immune system. They can restore the digestive activity that can be temporarily destroyed by taking antibiotics.

There are foods that contain probiotics, such as sauerkraut, miso, yogurt, kim chee (a Korean dish made of fermented, seasoned vegetables), kefir (a fermented milk drink) and kvass (a Russian drink distilled from barley or rye). But getting probiotics from food may not be enough, according to some.

Probiotic supplements can be purchased in pill, capsule, or powder form. One of the most common probiotic supplements, one that you’ve probably heard of: Acidophilus. Since they contain active, live cultures, they should be refrigerated.

Probiotics come in different strengths. When I bought some recently in my local health food store, the woman who works there recommended I take the weaker one, since I wanted it as a digestive aid. She said that people who have been on a lengthy regimen of antibiotics for Lyme Disease should take a stronger dose.

Probiotics may be beneficial for a variety of health issues. Recent
research in Australia showed that athletes who took probiotics had less severe flu and cold symptoms than those who didn’t take probiotics.

(If you’re thinking of taking probiotics as a preventative measure during flu and cold season, though, you might want to consider a year-round regimen. Some studies have shown that once you stop taking probiotics, you shortly thereafter lose the benefits you had received by taking them.)

Though scientific studies are ongoing, some of the health issues that may potentially benefit by taking probiotics include:

  • Acute diarrhea; easing the severity and duration of rotavirus.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • High blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Prevention of respiratory tract infections.

Please note: Do not take probiotic supplements if you have or are at risk of having pancreatitis. Researchers have found it can be detrimental to your health.

By Lynn Behrendt, contributing writer to Care2.com’s Green Living

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.

20 comments

Moni Ka
Monika K.2 years ago

In my country there is really only one brand that offers dairy products with probiotic contain. I'm not talking about normal products like yoghurt or kefir but those ones who are richer with probiotics. And it's a shame.

Lynne Willey
Lynne Willey2 years ago

does anybody know how it affects people with diabetes?

Fiona T.
Fi T.2 years ago

Let's protect our source of energy

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra3 years ago

Thank you Lynn, for Sharing this!

Elisabeth T.
Elisabeth T.3 years ago

Good info...

J.L. A.
JL A.3 years ago

good to know

greenplanet e.
greenplanet e.3 years ago

Thanks

Mukesh R.
Mukesh Ramteke3 years ago

thanks..

KARLOLINA G.
KARLOLINA G.4 years ago

I make probiotics using cabbage and distilled water. Go to your search engine and type in cultivated cabbage. There you will find a truck load of information and how to make it as well.

colleen p.
colleen p.4 years ago

every year, i think there is a day or so when I seem to have a horrible massive die off. I don't know if it is/was the dihareea bacteria or not. but having to run to the toilet every 10 or so minntues is not fun. so I had to take them . then i am fine.

I don't know what causes it but it happens. there would be no drastic change to diet.

so i need happy little intestinal floras.