Probiotics - what can they really?

What are probiotics?

As probiotics are called in general "defined living microorganisms that enter in sufficient quantity in an active form in the intestine and make this positive health effects," *

Probiotics are nothing else as the other intestinal bacteria of the human intestinal flora: living microorganisms.

With the food they reach the intestine and improve the activity where the body's intestinal flora .

Most of the currently classified as probiotic microorganisms used are among the lactic acid bacteria. These come naturally in many foods especially dairy products. Not all lactic acid bacteria, however, have a probiotic effect.

Important to characterize the effect of probiotic microorganisms has been accepted include the following:

You must be of human origin, non-pathogenic and must not be destroyed, so be resistant to stomach acid and bile during passage through the stomach and intestine.

In addition, they must survive the process without prejudice to the food technology and keep not least of course to the end of the expiry date of the probiotic food for activity.

There are several ways to incorporate a product of a probiotic in: alone together or with other microorganisms, as food or medicine or as an additive and dietary supplements .

Prevention and therapeutic use of probiotics

The idea of ​​a preventive, health-maintaining supply of certain bacteria is not new. At the beginning of the 20th Century, praised the Russian-Ukrainian Nobel laureate Ilya Ilyich Metchnikoff the consumption of fermented dairy products (yogurt, kefir) to support the natural intestinal flora, and connected to even the idea of ​​a life-prolonging measures.

Today, a variety of probiotic effects are discussed. Some of them are already considered to be secured, others still require a review by standardized scientific studies.

Besides the effect on the intestinal flora, such as inhibition of unwanted bacteria, measure for travelers' diarrhea, colonization of the intestinal mucosa and regulation of intestinal activity in constipation is examined an effect on the immune system.

This raises the question as, antibodies produced against harmful intestinal virus, and precisely how probiotics stimulate the immune system?

The regular intake of probiotics is to have a antimutagenic effect and thus prevent cancer. Lower cholesterol and improve lactose digestion and promoting calcium absorption, other positive aspects of a Probiotikazufuhr. Learn more about this in my contribution to the intestinal immune system

What effect is the basic medical studies backed up?

The influence of probiotic microorganisms on the course of diarrhea caused by rotavirus disease in children and generally caused by Clostridium diarrhea after antibiotic treatment is considered certain.

Also shows positive effects on the immune system. Previous study results in humans suggest that certain lactic acid bacteria strains affect the immune system positively, eg by an increase in certain immunoglobulins or by increasing anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Regarding the influence of probiotic microorganisms on the activity of cancer supportive enzymes in the lower gastrointestinal tract and a reduction in the activity of some harmful metabolites, there are both animal experimental evidence and initial studies in humans, the possibility of a protective effect against colorectal cancer suggest.

Here, however, requires an urgent security through long-term studies, as may, in particular on the concentration of the probiotics that occur when such an effect still unclear.

It is in all cases easy to understand that a statement is very hard on the effectiveness, because it depends critically upon the individual itself. Every person has a certain gut flora, which is also influenced by the personal eating habits. In particular, this statement makes about probiotic foods very difficult.

* Working Group "Probiotic micro-organisms in food crops" at BgVV

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