Bacteria are often associated with ill health and sickness. But you might be surprised to learn that there are bacteria that are not only beneficial, but absolutely essential in your body. One group of such bacteria is known as probiotics. Scientifically, the bacteria are known as Lactobacillus. Probiotics is a Greek term which loosely translated means pro-life or promoting life.
That the fascination with these bacteria is a rather recent one is an undeniable fact. In fact, prior to the twentieth century, the bacteria were virtually unknown. It was not until the longevity of native Bulgarians caught the attention of a scientist by the name of Elie Metchnikoff.
Elie was curious to know how the Bulgarians lived so long despite living in abject poverty and being undernourished. He would finally realize that their secret lay in their consumption of sour milk. From then, he conducted rigorous research and singled out this particular type of bacteria which is found in plenty in sour milk and other sour foods.
Extensive research is still ongoing in order to determine all the benefits that can be recieved from these bacteria. However, in the years during which the bacteria has been under study and even use, it has been shown to help treat some illnesses, prevent others and even delay others. Here is more about the benefits of the bacteria to the body, as well as some sources of the same:
What Are The Benefits Of Probiotics?
1. Treating Gastrointestinal Ailments
Probiotics are effective in treating a number of gastrointestinal ailments. This is no surprise given that the bacteria line up the entire digestive tract. In fact, the number of these good bacteria in the gut is several times more than the number of the cells in a human body. The bacteria aid in the absorption of nutrients after digestion, as well as helping combat some illnesses.
They are naturally found along the gut, but occasionally, you might have an imbalance of the good and bad bacteria in your system. This imbalance can be a source of untold discomfort to you and can even lead to certain illnesses.
The bacteria are effective in treating the irritable bowel syndrome among other gastrointestinal illnesses. They are also effective in treating diarrhea in children- be it anti- bacterial related or infectious diarrhea. The bacteria have also been shown to prevent the recurrence of Crohn’s disease and pouchitis.
2. Improve Urogenital Health
Bacteria play an important role in the vagina. They help maintain a highly acidic environment that is unfavorable for disease- causing microorganisms to survive in. Unfortunately however, the acidity of the vagina is often altered by any number factors- from birth control pills to spermicides to even the consumption of antibiotics.
When the PH of the vagina is in such a state, it makes one susceptible to any number of infections. However, studies show that probiotics can help restore acidity to the vagina, thus ensuring that it is protected as it should be.
3. Boost your immunity
Another great benefit that these microorganisms have in your body is that of improving your immunity. You will be surprised to learn that about 80% of your immune system is located in your gut. Coupled with the fact that these bacteria are mostly present in your gut, it goes without saying that they play a substantial role in improving your immunity. A strong immunity means that your body can fight infections with ease, and in order to strengthen your immunity you need to have enough of these bacteria. They have also been shown to help in delaying certain allergies.
Where To Get Probiotics
Probiotics are becoming a common ingredient in the manufacture of many foods, most notably yoghurts and chocolate. The bacteria can in fact be found in most sour foods, which explains their presence in yoghurts. Eating plenty of fermented vegetables will also nourish you with many of these bacteria.
There are also supplements that are made specifically of these bacteria. However, you should only take these supplements under the guidance of your doctor. The bacteria can also be found in a number of skin creams as they have also been shown to help fight several types of skin infections.
Side Effects Of Using Probiotics
There are generally no side- effects that are associated with increasing your intake of probiotics if you are a healthy individual. After all, the bacteria are naturally found in the body. However, people with certain illnesses or a weak immunity would be well advised to keep their distance from the supplements, as they can react negatively with your body.
Probiotics Benefits Conclusion
Although studies show that probiotics are beneficial to the human body, a lot still remains to be learnt about these good bacteria. In the meantime however, there are plenty of health benefits to be ripped from them, and you shouldn’t hesitate to use them in order to enjoy all these benefits.