Probiotics and Health
Probiotics have been shown to have beneficial effects for your overall health and well-being, especially the following conditions.
1. Probiotics and gastrointestinal (GI) disorders
Current evidence supports the role of probiotics in a broad range of GI conditions. However, scientists have found that the effectiveness of probiotics is greatly influenced by many factors, e.g. species, strain, formulation, duration and dosage of consumption.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a recurring abdominal discomfort or pain associated with altered bowel habits or abdominal distention. Certain probiotics have been shown to be able to help improve symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, bloating and bowel movements.
Diarrhoea is the frequent passage of loose, watery, soft stools. It can lead to excessive water loss which may cause dehydration; if left untreated, this can be serious.
Probiotics have been found safe for treating travellers’ diarrhoea, antibiotic associated diarrhoea, and acute infectious diarrhoea. Some studies show that certain probiotics are effective in reducing the duration of diarrhoea and may also in lowering the risk of suffering from antibiotic associated diarrhoea.
It is typically described as too much straining during bowel movements, passage of small hard stools and a sense of incomplete bowel movement.
Probiotics have been reported to help relieve chronic constipation symptoms and improved stool frequency and stool consistency. It is also said to be able to reduce straining during defecation and the feeling of incomplete evacuation.
2. Probiotics and Immunity
Studies have shown that some probiotics can form a barrier on intestinal walls that prevents ‘bad’ bacteria from entering your body. There are also studies that show how probiotics can help modulate the immune system and may even improve it by responding to pathogens from outside of the body. Additionally, there is emerging evidence that it may play a protective role against certain allergies.
Note : The benefits and side effects of probiotics to human health (other than for gastrointestinal health) are the subject of many ongoing research, including some that explore how probiotics may improve mood or reduce the symptoms of stress. However, evidence for such health benefits are still being accumulated.