Probiotics are ‘good bacteria’ that are found in dietary supplements and that occur naturally in certain food and the human body, which help to protect the body against harmful bacteria. Probiotics aid in digestion and have the health benefits of improving the immune system and preventing infections.
However, the health benefits of probiotics extend beyond boosting the immune system and preventing infections. Many studies and clinical trials have been done to uncover the health benefits of probiotics. And from these studies and clinical trials, medical research teams have concluded that probiotics help to lower blood pressure among many other things.
Therefore, one of the health benefit of probiotics is that they help to lower blood pressure. Fermented milk fortified with probiotics have showed in clinical trials to lower blood pressure. Researchers say this is in part to the ACE inhibitor-like peptides produced during the fermentation process that help to lower blood pressure.
Probiotics provide health benefits because they are effective against antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Probiotics have also been shown to be effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis.
Another health benefits of probiotics is that they help to prevent colon cancer. Human trials done on the health benefits of probiotics in preventing colon cancer suggest that certain probiotics show anti-carcinogenic effects by retarding the enzyme, beta-glucuronidase, which can generate carcinogens in the digestive system.
Probiotics benefit the body also by reducing inflammation. Clinical studies suggest probiotics can reduce the risk of atopic eczema in children, lessen milk allergies and prevent inflammatory bowel disease in adults.
Probiotics have also been shown to have the health benefit of lowering cholesterol. Probiotics may lower serum cholesterol levels by breaking down bile in the gut, which when reabsorbed would enter the blood as cholesterols.
Probiotics also have the health benefit of treating vaginal yeast infections. Probiotics along with naturally occurring in the small intestines, are also found in the vagina. Probiotics ( specifically lactobacilli) can block the growth of Candida, an organism that causes yeast infections.
Further studies are being conducted to uncover even more health benefits of probiotics. Researchers hypothesize that probiotics may also: manage lactose intolerance, prevent harmful bacterial growth under stress, treat infections which cause peptic ulcer, improve mineral absorption, treat Crohn’s Disease and treat the side effects of radiation therapy.
Probiotics can be found in food such as soy milk, fermented and unfermented milk, some juices and yogurt. You can also find probiotic supplements in pharmacies and health food stores. Common probiotic supplements contain micro-organisms such as lactobacillus casei (more commonly known as L-Casei), lactobacillus acidophilus, bifidobacterium bifidum and bifidobacterium lactis among many other. So if you would like to take advantage of the many health benefits of probiotics, talk to your doctor about supplementing your diet and if approved, pick up some probiotics today.