Probiotics, or "bowel bugs" as we’d like to call them, are healthful bacteria that reside in the colon that contribute to the health of the colon.
How do Probiotics work?
The gut is home to billions of bacteria, good and bad. When harmful bacteria take over, they cause a variety of intestinal upsets, such as diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), as well as fungal infections, such as thrush (yeast).
Probiotics colonize the intestines with good bacteria and thereby keep the bad bacteria from multiplying.
Probiotics are also beneficial in:
- Preventing diarrhea following antibiotic treatment
As antibiotics not only kill harmful bacteria but may kill the good bacteria in the gut as well, diarrhea is a common side effect.
The probiotics replenish the good bacteria, and the balance in the intestines is restored. Studies have shown that probiotics also help protect toddlers and pre-schoolers against outbreaks of infectious diarrhea at day care.
- Treating colitis
Here's a medical truism: "You're only as healthy as your colon." Probiotics help reduce inflammation of the colon's lining and are now a standard part of the treatment plan for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
- Making fatty acids
Probiotics convert the fiber in food into healthy fatty acids that nourish the cells that line the intestines. They also help the intestines make short-chain fatty acids, which contribute to the overall health of the body
- Work as preventative medicine
Evidence for their efficacy for use in the prevention and treatment of bacterial vaginosis and urinary tract infections is also mounting. Studies have shown that probiotics can lessen the spread of diarrhea outbreaks in day care settings..
Probiotics have been used in preventive medicine throughout Europe for many years. They are just now gaining more scientific credibility and popularity.