Bacteria are abundant in the human intestines and they play an important part in many aspects including body weight, digestion, resistance against bacterial infection and autoimmune diseases and responses to cancer-treating agents. Bacteria in the intestines can be helpful, neutral and harmful.
Probiotics are helpful bacteria that can help our body function properly and prevent body inflection from unfriendly bacteria. Some common probiotics include Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Brassica, Streptococcus saliva.
Limited studies have found the health benefits of probiotics, and they might be helpful for some diseases.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are common inflammatory bowel diseases. Although many patients with inflammatory bowel disease supplement probiotic products which are believed to help keep digestive treat healthy, there is limited research in the efficacy of probiotics for the two diseases.
Constipation is a very common disease, and some studies have shown that probiotics can improve bowel movements and stool traits in patients with chronic constipation.
Patients with infectious diarrhea are advised to take probiotics, and several studies have confirmed that probiotics can shorten the duration of infectious diarrhea.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common functional gastrointestinal disease. Some people with irritable bowel syndrome are prone to abdominal pain and diarrhea. Increasing studies have found that probiotics have some benefits for irritable bowel syndrome. However, some issues on which probiotics are most effective and which subtypes are suitable for patients have not yet been solved.
Lactose intolerance, or called lactase deficiency, is a digestive disorder caused by the inability to digest lactose. Patients with lactose intolerance are likely to have diarrhea, possibly along with abdominal pain and bloating, after eating lactose-containing foods. Whether probiotics can improve the symptoms of lactose intolerance is controversial and inclusive and needs clinical trials to further confirm.
Probiotics may reduce intestinal permeability, thus reducing the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Probiotics may have a certain therapeutic effect on children-specific dermatitis, but their roles remain to be confirmed.
Some people tend to believe that we need to take probiotics, largely due to overwhelming product advertising promoting the health benefits of probiotics. However, the truth is that most people do need to supplement probiotics since they are naturally present in human bodies.
Even you take probiotic products, you can’t know whether the product you take really contains probiotics as advertised, whether the number of probiotics is enough and how many of them can survive to have health benefits after entering the intestines.
Though you don’t need to additionally supplement probiotics, yogurt is advisable. low-fat yogurt containing probiotics can be used as part of a healthy diet and help you improve digestive health.