The proven effects of probiotics

In recent years, there is much talk of probiotics. Are their effects up to the announcements? Are they really effective? Several studies have provided some answers.

Probiotics are living microscopic organisms, which by definition, provide a beneficial effect on the health of those who consume it. They are many different kind, each one having its specificity and its main action points. There is henceforth a complex classification just to follow them. Below is a brief overview of their effects.

Probiotics: effects validated

One can distinguish the share of proven effects and likely effects. Among the former, have been mentioned:

Improved intestinal transit and bowel movements

Probiotics effect our gut which is populated by many varieties bacteria, whose usefulness is well established. But studies also show that regular consumption of certain probiotics or probiotic supplements allows thanks to its many effects on the intestinal flora to improve not only the digestion of certain food items, but also to regulate the intestinal transit. Present in yoghurt, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are involved in the digestion of lactose (milk sugar) and thus allows intolerant individuals to consume milk from these dairy products.

Many probiotics have been shown to have an effect on the acceleration of intestinal transit, Bifidobacterium animalis, Lactobacillus delbrueckii bulgaricus, Streptococcus salivarius thermophilus and many others. Such an effect generally depends on the dose of ingested probiotics. In this sense, several studies suggest a beneficial effect in people with constipation.

Decrease the frequency and duration of diarrhea

And better yet, some probiotics including Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG have demonstrated their potency on diarrhea of ​​young children in several studies. Regular consumption of these small bacteria significantly reduced the duration of diarrhea episodes.

Other studies have also shown that the healing time facing all types of diarrhea such as traveler’s diarrhea induced by antibiotics improved notably. Data concerning the prevention of infectious diarrhea are nevertheless more limited.

Improving colopathies

Common in the adult population, irritable bowel syndrome manifests itself as pain, bloating and altered bowel habits without intestinal lesions. Most probiotics have no effect on these disorders but some strains such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria participate in improving digestive comfort the people affected, possibly by reducing the secretion of fluids which cause diarrhea.

Less common but more severe, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, especially Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, were investigated. Some strains seemed able to prevent the onset and relapse of pouchitis.

Fighting infection with Helicobacter pylori

Probiotics are used to fight against Helicobacter pylori associated with ulcer and stomach cancer. Combined with the standard treatment, they increase the chances of cure and mitigate multiple adverse effects.

Among the suspected or potential effects, several research avenues are being explored.

Eczema prevention

Probiotics are also acting as a protective barrier that could help prevent eczema, whose origin is food and atopic dermatitis, a chronic disease that occurs three to six months after birth in children. Supplements Lactobacillus F19, Lactobacillus GG, Lactobacillus sakei, or a combination of Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactococcus lactis have shown efficacy in reducing the severity and extension of the eczema in children.

But these results are dependent strains, and cannot be extrapolated to other probiotic families. Furthermore, the methodology of the studies is discussed, so that for the moment, taking probiotics is not officially recommended against eczema. But as stated above there are many other proven health benefits of using probiotics supplements on a regular basis.

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