Probiotics promote digestive health

Scientific literature review supports probiotic use

COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS CLOSTRIDIUM DIFFICILE, pictured above, is a bacteria that can help regulate digestive health in humans. A recent review of scientific literature published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that probiotics do promote digestive heatlh, as marketed.

COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
CLOSTRIDIUM DIFFICILE, pictured above, is a bacteria that can help regulate digestive health in humans. A recent review of scientific literature published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that probiotics do promote digestive heatlh, as marketed.

JESSIE KOERNER
Staff Writer

Probiotics have become increasingly popular in recent years when it comes to maintaining a healthy digestive system.

According to a review from the American Medical Association, “Probiotics are live, nonpathogenic microorganisms now being marketed as dietary supplements.”

Probiotics are found in many foods, such as yogurt and dietary supplements. People access probiotics mostly through yogurt. It is the most well-known source of probiotics. According to the FDA, for a product to be marketed as yogurt, it must be made with.

There are also various other ways probiotics are being marketed. Probiotics now come in powder, capsule and liquid forms.

Certain probiotics have been tested in multiple studies, and the results found that some probiotics could inhibit the ability of bacterial toxins to grow. Some results said probiotics could lower the intestinal pH and stop the growth of E. Coli and Clostridium spp, both very harmful bacteria found in the digestive system.

Other studies said that probiotics could be used for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. The probiotic prophylaxis reduced the amount of Clostridium difficile associated with diarrhea.

Other disorders that probiotics have been tested to treat are atopic dermatitis, lactose intolerance, bacterial vaginosis, allergic rhinitis, asthma and peptic ulcers associated with Helicobacter pylori infection, which is an infection that eats away at the lining of the stomach and makes one more susceptible to gastritis. In more serious cases, this infection can lead to stomach cancer.

Unfortunately, there are some negatives associated with probiotics. Mild problems with probiotics are gas, diarrhea, bloating and hiccups. Serious problems that can occur in severely ill patients include sepsis and liver abscess.

Some drugs can interact with probiotics as well. Many antibiotics can negatively affect the probiotic by inactivating the bacteria derived from them. In some cases, women taking certain antibiotics can develop yeast infections. Although the antibiotic is supposed to help the body, it sometimes destroys the good bacteria such as the probiotics.

Studies have shown that probiotics have more positive effects than negative effects even though they are not approved by the FDA. In controlled and randomized trials, only critically ill patients exhibited the negative effects of the probiotics.

Though consumers should approach popular health trends with caution, research supports the use of probiotics to promote digestive health.

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