Probiotics was the term given to the health-friendly live bacteria that we take in our diet. The term was given in 2001 by WHO but its use takes its origin back to the Greek era. Probiotic being a Greek word in origin means ‘pro’ that is ‘for’ and ‘biotic’ meaning ‘life’.
The Greek used them to store dairy products by fermenting them with these microorganisms. But in 1907 a hypothesis was given by a Russian Scientist Elie Metchnikoff to use Probiotics to modify the intestinal flora and replace the harmful microorganisms residing in our gut with the ones that are good for the body. It is then the use of these microorganisms came in the spotlight and now is being prescribed worldwide by doctors to treat patients with weak immunity or having compromised health conditions to improve their health.
The mode of action of the use of these bacteria is mentioned below:
- They work by modifying the microbial population residing in the intestines.
- They modify the structural and functional epithelium of the intestines to prevent the entry of harmful bacteria in the bloodstream.
- They aggregate with the pathogenic bacteria to limit their harmful effects.
- They release various chemical substances like Organic acid, bacteriocins, dipicolinic acid etc to prevent pathogenic growth and multiplication.
Out of these reasons, it has been decided to use these colonies of bacteria for the benefit of mankind.
So enough of the scientific gibberish, let me tell you my reaction when I read that people have bacteria for good health. To me it was a revolting thought of a stale, fungus invading slice of bread for breakfast or contaminated food for lunch. Later upon discussion with a friend who is a medical student, all of my views cleared up.
To clear your views also, let me tell you how it is consumed. It is mixed up in our favorite chocolate bars, yoghurts and milk, treated with chemicals and once it is toxin free, it is packaged and supplied to our super stores for us to consume.
Following are some benefits mentioned below to gain your confidence in these bacteria:
11. Preventing Allergies
Allergens are the culprit behind allergies. They are foreign substances like dust, pollen, pet dander and food including wheat, soy and dairy products. Give Probiotics a try to treat your allergies. Probiotics can treat any allergies you have, be it food or pollen grains. They boost up the immune system to prevent the allergic attacks that occur most commonly to us when we walk in allergen infiltrated environment.
Pregnant ladies having a family history of allergies pass them down to the upcoming generations. Have Probiotics in pregnancy and your child will have minimal to no allergies at all! Why didn’t my mother think about this when she conceived me?!
Here are a few recommended Probiotics you can buy from the drug store:
- InnergyBiotic: It is gluten free and it gives easy digesting veggie proteins. Best for people with Celiac Sprue.
- Dong Quai: It is not only a Probiotic beverage but also bears the property of balancing hormones. Prepared from a herb Dong Quai grown in China, it is beneficial for both men and women.
Remember, ‘He who has health has hope; and he who has hope, has everything’.
10. Helps Healthy Skin
I remember I had acne rosace a few years back and upon visiting, she prescribed some capsules that I had to take daily. Looking at the bottles of medicines now, I realized that she was feeding me these creepy crawly microorganisms. Well I don’t hate her; she helped me get my flawless skin back.
Probiotics when ingested, help reduce inflammation systemically affection resulting in better skin conditions. Also Probiotics when applied topically on the skin result in maintaining the dermatologically beneficial bacteria, reducing the chances of acne and other skin complications. This is the reason it is now being used in skin cleansers, moisturizers, lotions and masks.
It is believed that Probiotics help get rid of Eczema if the conceiving mother has them till 6 months after delivery. The child till the age of 2 will have the least amount of chances to have skin rashes and outbreaks of Eczema in between webs of the fingers and toes and on the feet.
Probiotics if used along with dermatological treatment ensures recovery rate of about two folds than the original rate of recovery.
If you use Probiotics on the face, you tend to have a good, fight, healthier looking skin. These bacteria help build up Collagen that maintains skin tone and texture, hydrates the skin, reduce chances of sun burns and gets rid of fine wrinkles as you age.
Give the Yoghurt Probiotic face mask a try, here’s how you can achieve a healthy looking skin:
- Take about a spoon full of plain full fat yoghurt, a Probiotic capsule, ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder for oily skin (optional) or 1 teaspoon of Olive oil if you have dry skin (optional).
- Mix ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder in a spoon full of yoghurt. Now add a Probiotic capsule and olive oil or turmeric powder according to skin type. Create a paste and apply it on the skin.
- Leave the mask on for about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Wash the mask away with warm water and pat your skin dry.
- Do this for 2 weeks daily and see the changes on your skin.
I’m again going to apply it on my face for deep cleansing. I hope you will try it too.
9. Increases Food Digestion
Blaming constipation on the bacteria? Not all bacteria are bad you know. There are some good bacteria in the intestinal flora that help improve the metabolism. Having a good intestinal flora improves the health conditions of the body. It plays a role in fighting with the pathogens that enter the body and remain undetected and untreated by gastric pH. It helps in breaking down the food particles, making Vitamin B12 and allowing absorption of important nutrients from the body.
When a baby is born, his intestinal flora is absent. His intestines are sterile so the child is prone to various immunogens causing infections. He is saved from these dangers when he has his mother’s milk called as ‘Colostrum’. After having it, the child develops flora in the intestines. Thus the intestinal flora is a superhero.
Gut flora plays a vital role in preventing anemia by synthesizing Vitamin B and Vitamin K. They also metabolize bile salts.
Probiotics secrete IgA to protect the gut immunity.
Probiotic restore the composition of the intestinal cells by shaping them, enhancing their functions and preventing gut inflammation. It is then safe to conclude that body’s flora and Probiotics working together will do wonders to the body; I’ll leave that for you to decide.
8. Revitalize The Immunity
Many may disagree and call any kind of bacteria out for being harmful for their bodies. This is an age old concept which is becoming unpopular by the day. Probiotics are in fact immunity boosters that have been known to energize a person when taken regularly.
As the common medicinal practices suggest antibiotics for almost everything, the adverse effects are faced by almost everyone. A side effect of antibiotics, diarrhea wipes off the entire gut flora. Prolong use does the same to it.
People who consume Probiotic liquid supplements are prone to fewer ailments. Having Probiotic dairy products reduces the length of respiratory infections in old people. Yoghurt if taken regularly for more than 12 weeks minimizes the GIT infections.
It is not only the tonic and capsules that benefits the human body; you can add the essence in various meals you take.
Make Probiotic smoothie this weekend and give it to your family. Children usually complain if they have to eat Probiotic food. Smoothies are loved by all, add Probiotics in it and give it your children. This way Probiotics will become everyone’s favorite. Try the Probiotic Raspberry Smoothiethis weekend to win hearts of your loved ones. It only takes a jiffy to make them.
Here’s the recipe you’ll absolutely love!
- 2 ½ cups of Raspberries
- A banana (preferably frozen)
- 1 to 1 ½ cups of Probiotic milk
- A tablespoon of sweetener or honey could work as well.
- A Probiotic capsule (only its contents)
How to make it:
- Add the berries and banana in the blender and beat them till a paste is made.
- Add milk in it and the Probiotic powder (discard the shell of the capsule)
- Blend them for about a minute.
- Serve the smoothie in a maison jar, garnishing the top with berries.
7. Gives Your Joints Protection
Arthritis is a disorder of joints characterized by pain and inflammation in joints. It is not necessary that a single joint of the body is involved; there may be multiple joint pains with swelling. The pain is so intense that it usually gets relieved by anti-analgesics only. There are about 3 types of arthritis occurring at different age groups and different health conditions. They are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Juvenile arthritis
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disorder which is characterized by breakdown of both joint and the bone. It occurs in people above 60 years of age and is more common in women as compared to men.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body develops antibodies against its own joints. This is more common in growing age and men who have a habit of smoking.
Juvenile arthritis occurs in adolescents and children. It is asymptomatic. Usually occurs in between 7 to 12 years of age but can occur in infants as well as children up to 15 years of age.
Probiotics is very beneficial in this condition as it is known to prevent inflammation by inhibiting C-reactive protein. It is suspected that people having arthritis have inflammation of the intestinal mucosa that causes intestinal permeability to increase. So the therapy for managing this condition is proposed to be such that we replace the unhealthy bacteria residing in the gut by Probiotics.
This is still being debated by scientists and researchers but the direction of the debate is being turned in favor of the idea supporting the use of Probiotics in treatment of arthritis. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for this one.
6. High Blood Pressure? Lower it With Probiotics
High blood pressure is an issue being faced by more than half of the world. It is a condition in which the heart pumps blood harder to supply it to the organs of the body. Hypertension is declared when you have blood pressure around 140-159 over 90-99. The causes that lead to such a disease are smoking, obesity, consumption of excessive salts in the diet, alcohol consumption, stress, old age, genetics, diabetes, increase in the cholesterol levels, family history of hypertension and many more.
Upon recent advances in research, it is being declared that Probiotics are very effective in lowering the blood pressure. Probiotics improve and treat lipid profiles, controls levels of insulin, their resistance and sensitivity, by controlling rennin levels in blood etc.
Lactobacillus being the chief microbe in Probiotic lowers levels of cholesterol in conditions of hypercholesterolemia. It is believed that these bacteria metabolize cholesterol levels in blood thereby reducing serum cholesterol levels.
Another way of reducing cholesterol levels in blood is by more excretion of bile acids present freely in the intestine through feces. The levels of bile acids in the blood thus will decrease and cholesterol will be utilized by denovo synthesis to make new bile acids, thus achieving the target to lower cholesterol levels in blood in the long run.
Not only that, you need to modify the dietary habits and lifestyle in order to live a healthy life.
The key to achieve such a target is mentioned below:
- Loose some extra pounds that have been classifying you as obese or overweight. If you lose around 4.5 kg you’ll notice your blood pressure being lowered gradually.
- Make a habit of exercising to lower blood pressure. If exercise is too much for your busy routine, try walking for at least 30 min a day. You can choose from swimming, jogging, cycling, dancing or anything that makes you sweat and burn your calories. And by sweating I don’t mean going to a sauna.
- Modify your diet. If you want to have a lot of food, choose fiber rich food in place of full fledge fatty meals. Monitor the number of calories. Control the urge to have food multiple times a day by drinking lots of water. There is so much a person can do if he has the will to achieve a target, and your target here is being healthy.
- Cut down Sodium intake from the diet. Changing only this will lower the blood pressure up to 8 mm oh Hg.
- Avoid excessive drinking. Give yourself a break from high alcohol intake. If you stop alcohol consumption, you may actually notice a track as the blood pressure goes down the graph towards the normal levels.
- If you smoke, just quit it! It will lower the blood pressure to levels you never even imagined of getting.
- Avoid the caffeine rush. For those who have started having coffee a few days back, keep this in consideration that your blood pressure elevates up to 10 mm of Hg. Be wise and choose your beverage well.
5. Elevates The Mood
Probiotic has another astonishing benefit. It elevates the mood of a person. It gives you a good day after spending one having depression, anxiety and worries.
According to a research, it was suggested that the people consuming Probiotic supplements could handle their moods better than people who do not have it. This is why it is now going to be used as a synergist along with anti-depression therapy.
As researches advance and more benefits to control psychological disorders, it is a suggestion for you to change the way you think and behave.
Here are some points by which you can be happy:
- Maintain a journal in which you write your goals, targets and your daily happenings. It helps expressing emotions and helps figure out how your thought pattern works.
- My father told me to carry a pen and paper around where ever I go. Whenever I felt the urge to cry or get angry I used to write that down. While I was done with writing half the way my anger would vanish and helped me relax. Try it. Worked well for me.
- Avoid food that initiate or aggravate depression. If you have depression because you are overweight, avoid them.
- Walk at least half an hour in the morning and appreciate nature’s beauty. Observe how bright and colorful every day starts and how lucky you are to see one.
4. Keeps The Teeth Healthy
- So now the dentists have started prescribing Probiotics to maintain oral health. How extensive can the use of Probiotics get than this?
- Consuming Probiotics having Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteriaas their main microbes reduce the growth of a harmful bacterium Streptococci in the oral cavity.
- Probiotics when used help reduce the inflammation of gums caused due to infections in the oral cavity. They have been effective in treating Halitosis of both the gum and the intestinal tract.
- Along with the use of Probiotics, develop some healthy habits.
- Remember to brush your teeth twice a day for a healthy oral environment.
- Make a habit to floss your teeth daily.
- Have a healthy diet. Cut down sugars and carbs and in between meal snacks.
- Change your brush every three months or discard them once you notice bristles getting frayed.
- Visit your dentist frequently. Make a habit of getting a dental checkup every three months.
- Gargle your mouth with a mouthwash and brush after meals if you can to prevent chances of having bad breath.
- Take care of your teeth and face the world with a smile!
3. Free Your Lady Parts From Vagi-Bacteria
Probiotics are genetically engineered in ways to improve the vaginal flora. They are now readily available at drug stores as they have gained much popularity in a past few years. They are cultured to keep your vagina and urinary bladder healthy. There are some pills that have to be taken orally for the effect while some are given per vaginally where the pill dissolves and spreads some good microbes down there.
A healthy vagina is non smelly, non irritating and does not give out vaginal discharge. Keeping it healthy down there also means that your vaginal pH is well maintained as a disturbed pH will allow bacterial and fungal growth in the vagina. These pills also prevent Urinary Tract Infections and minimize the complications of vaginal infections in immune-compromised AIDS patients. If you are consuming antibiotics from a long time to treat some systemic infection, you might want to add Probiotics on the list next time you go shopping.
If you are still uncomfortable with having pills or inserting them down there, you can always pour the content in some dairy product and have it.
Prepare your favorite flavored yoghurt at home and add Probiotic to it.
Here’s one of the easiest recipe I have come across to prepare Probiotic yoghurt:
- Use the milk of your choice ( goat milk and soy milk are preferable but it’s your own choice)
- Boil the milk, heating it to about 150 to 180 degree F.
- Let the milk cool down. If you will add Probiotic in hot milk, there are chances that you might kill the healthy bacteria. It is thus beneficial if you add the Probiotic capsule once you are done with preparing yoghurt.
- Add yoghurt starters in the milk and mix the ingredients for about a minute.
- Heat the yoghurt to about 110 to 103 degree F for eight to twelve hours.
- Once it’s done, keep the yoghurt in the refrigerator to cool it off.
- You can also add fruits and flavors of your choice.
- Enjoy a healthy snack at work or as a dessert with your family or friends.
Here are some brands that offer Probiotic yoghurt:
- Activia: This brand offers a variety of flavors in yoghurts like strawberry, mixed berry, cherry, prune and vanilla.
- Yoplait Original: It is the most commonly used yoghurt. It makes the intestinal environment unfriendly for the bad bacteria. They improve conditions of Lactose intolerant people and has been aiding along with medications to treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
- Stonyfield: This brand offers us certified inorganic yoghurt which is prepared without the use of antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides etc.
2. Probiotics for weight loss? Never heard of it? Give it a try now
Tired of dieting but still are not able to shed some pounds from here and there? Tried everything but are always left with a choice to either starve or stay healthy? Probiotic does not make you choose. It allows you to maintain your health while shedding some pounds.
A study was performed recently in which around 125 overweight women and men were selected to perform the trial. Each of the participants was asked to go on a diet along with taking a pill. Half of the participants were offered Probiotic while the other half had placebo for 12 weeks. It was recorded that women taking placebos maintained a stable weight with the loss of 5.7 pounds while the other half lost around 9.7 pounds, slimming down by losing 1.8 pounds further till the end of the trial.
- It was then conclude that women had a remarkable effect of Probiotics while men showed no significant change in weight loss.
- It is thus advisable for women with target to lose weight to use Probiotics in yoghurt, milk, smoothies and in whatever they eat.
1. Diarrhea And Its Treatment
Are you one of those people who get affected by gastric flu really easily? The stomach pains become increasingly problematic and affect our whole schedule for the day. This causes low retention of water in the body and leaves us weak.
Fear not for Probiotics is here to the rescue. Probiotics can now treat diarrhoea caused by antibiotics, some viruses and bacterial toxins as well. Probiotics replace the harmful bacteria and get rid of bacterial toxins with good bacteria namely Lactobacillus.
Use Probiotics in your diet for a good intestinal environment.
All in all, Probiotics as mentioned above are an important inclusion in your diet. I am quite positive that it has now acquired the status of a must have in the grocery list. It is a good investment as spending on your health is better being safe than sorry. For all the worrywarts out there, here is to calm you down, Probiotics have no side effects!
Olwomen Tips For Using Probiotics
- Always take Probiotics as soon as you finish your course of antibiotics.
- Take Probiotics on daily basis if you suffer from a condition called Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome or have colonic irritation.
- Always Probiotics with colostrum for observing its maximum affectivity.
- The use of yogurt with Probiotics helps in healing gastrointestinal symptoms way faster than any other medication available in the market.