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Taking Probiotics Like A Pro

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FLORIDA - BACKGROUND: Probiotics are bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines camera. The normal human digestive tract contains about 400 types of probiotic bacteria that reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system. The largest group of probiotic bacteria in the intestine is lactic acid bacteria, of which Lactobacillus acidophilus, found in yogurt with live cultures, is the best known. Yeast is also a probiotic substance. Probiotics are also available as dietary supplements. (SOURCE: http://www.webmd.com)

WHAT FOODS CONTAIN PROBIOTICS? Fermented dairy products have been advertised as containing "beneficial cultures." These cultures are what would now be considered probiotics. Other foods currently claiming to provide probiotics are cereal, juice, frozen yogurt, granola, candy bars, and cookies. (SOURCE: http://www.medicinenet.com/probiotics)

SIDE EFFECTS OF PROBIOTICS: Side effects are rare. Most people do not experience any, or they may have a mild gastrointestinal side effect, such as gas, but there have been some case reports of serious adverse effects, and research on safety is ongoing. Concerns have also been raised about the quality of probiotic products. Some products have been found to contain smaller numbers of live microorganisms than expected. In addition, some products have been found to contain bacterial strains other than those listed as ingredients. (SOURCE: http://nccam.nih.gov/health)

BENEFITS: Although more research is needed, there's encouraging evidence that probiotics may help:

  • Treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics
  • Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections
  • Reduce bladder cancer recurrence
  • Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
  • Prevent and treat eczema in children
  • Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu

(SOURCE: www.mayoclinic.com