Probiotics or healthy bacteria” are a valuable resource that lines the entire intestinal tract from your mouth to your anus. These good bacteria help breakdown your food, eliminate toxins, produce B vitamins and other nutrients, and keep bad elements such as yeast and bad bacteria under control. We lose good bacteria every day as a result of exposure to toxins in plastics, artificial sweeteners, antibiotics in dairy products, and other chemicals in our environment that erode our bowel health. Replacing these valuable bacteria (flora) is key to keeping our immune system healthy as 70% of our immune system is housed right in the lining of the intestines. Gut health – a poor diet can be a major factor in the development of gut dysbiosis (leaky gut) by promoting the proliferation of Candida (yeast).Probiotics may also help decrease gut associated inflammatory signaling that contributes to insulin resistance, blood sugar regulatory problems, poor immunity and other metabolic imbalances. Clinical studies have reported that use of probiotics may be effective in reliving symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Diarrhea: A meta-analysis in 2012 reported that probiotics were useful in the prevention of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (Johnston et al, 2012). Also,. A 2011 meta-analysis reported that probiotcs were beneficial in protecting against pediatric antibiotic-associated diarrhea (Johnston et al, 2011). A 2012 meta-analysis in JAMA reported that probiotics were effective in decreasing symptoms found with antibiotic-associated diarrhea (Hempel et al, 2012).
Probiotics may also help manage some IgE and IgA mediated food allergies by reinforcing the barrier function of the intestinal lining (Kennedy et al, 2002). Studies performed in inflammatory bowel disease report that a combination of different lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are more effective in decreasing inflammatory score and maintaining patients in remission than a single probiotic strain (Kajander et al, 2005).
Osteoarthritis is associated with microfloral imbalances in the intestines.(Cani et al, 2009)
Chronic inflammation may contribute to obesity (Cani et al, 2009). Metagenomic studies demonstrated that healthy gut probiotic flora may protect an individual from weight gain and obesity and that overweight individuals in general have an imbalanced probiotic flora (Boroni et al, 2012; Tsai et al, 2009). Probiotic floras are considered to contribute to body weight regulation and related disorders by improving metabolic (converting nutrients into energy), inflammatory and immune functions (Sanz et al, 2008). The probiotic flora can help improve the ability to extract and store energy from the diet, while also having beneficial effects on bile, lipoprotein, and cholesterol metabolism. A 2011 meta-analysis reported that probiotic use led to a significant decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels (Guo et al, 2011). Regular intake of probiotic supplements reduces inflammatory chemistry thus provides a healthier environment for heart and blood vessel function.
Immune Balance - Probiotic bacteria in the colon may help increase levels of circulating antibodies and interferon and enhance the responses of circulating immune cells (Schiffrin et al, 1997). Probiotics affect the immune system thus reducing risk for abnormal immune function such as auto-immune disease. (Hatakka et al, 2003; Matsuzaki et al, 2007).
Vaginal candidiasis (yeast infections) – L. acidophilus is part of the normal vaginal flora (Forsum et al, 2005). L. acidophilus therapy has been reported to be helpful in the prevention of vaginal candidiasis (yeast) infections.
Atopic dermatitis - Probiotics show promise for reducing or preventing atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome in children. Infant’s benefit when their mothers take probiotics during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Direct supplementation of infants may reduce incidence of atopic eczema by as much as half. It may also reduce cow's milk allergy and other allergic reactions during weaning. Probiotics may stabilize the intestinal barrier function and decrease gastrointestinal symptoms in children with atopic dermatitis. A review of current medical literature using probiotics for atopic dermatitis reported that probiotics are more efficacious in preventing atopic dermatitis rather than treating the skin condition (Lee et al, 2008). Allergies - Improving the bowel terrain is reported to decrease the development of symptoms associated with allergic conditions.(Vliagoftis et al, 2008) A 2008 meta- analysis of 12 clinical trials reported that probiotics improved symptom severity of allergies and asthma and may reduce medication use in these conditions.(Ivory et al, 2008). Probiotics may also help manage some IgE and IgA mediated food allergies by reinforcing the barrier function of the intestinal lining (del Guidice et al, 2010; Savilahti et al, 2008).