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What are Probiotics?

Posted by rhondascooking on January 17, 2009

I am sure that over the past couple of years you have heard about probiotics and how important they are.  But what are they and how do they differ from antibiotics?  Simply stated, probiotics are living organisms (bacteria or yeast) that are beneficial to the body; they are most often called “the good or friendly bacteria.”  Antibiotics, on the other hand, are “bad bacteria” that are used to destroy all bacteria in the body, both good and bad.  Probiotics are similar to the microorganisms found in the human gut and they attach to the wall of the intestine and fight the bad bacteria, which can increase with the use of antibiotics, a poor diet, stress or infection.1

 

Probiotics are available through foods (i.e. yogurt, cottage cheese, sauerkraut, etc.) and in dietary supplements.   When purchasing food with probiotics, look for the words, “live active cultures or lactobacillus, acidophilus and/or bifidus in the ingredients or make sure that the dietary supplements contain 10 million species from the lactobacillus or bifidobacteria family per dose.1

 

Studies have shown that probiotics are good for a number of things, which are listed in Table 1.  To learn more, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has an excellent report that focuses on the basics of probiotics.2

 

What are Probiotics Used For?

Digesting Food

Absorbing nutrients

Boosting the immune system to fight infections

Reducing the length of intestinal infections

Treating irritable bowel syndrome

Treating diarrhea

Preventing/treating infections of the urinary or reproductive systems

Preventing and managing eczema in children

Table 1. Benefits of Probiotics

 

1 Glassman, Keri.  “Probiotics.”  Your Health August 2007.

2”Introduction to Probiotics.” National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.  Jan 9, 2009. Jan 17, 2009 <http://nccam.nih.gov/health/probiotics/#uses>.   

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11 Responses to “What are Probiotics?”

  1. ggw_bach said

    when we eat too much cooked food, we deplete these probiotics. Enzymes too. Raw food the answer.

    • Hi, I agree with you about raw foods, I have not yet gone completely raw, but I am working on it. I just had an awesome pecan pie that was raw! I got it from the Phoenix Farmer’s Market.

  2. I have been drinking a DanActive probiotic yogurt with my transplant meds every morning for over a year now (since my kidney transplant) and I have consistently had the best labs in the group!

    • Thanks, Christina, for sharing your experience with DanActive! I am glad to know that you are doing welling since the kidney transplant. I pray that you will continue to be in great health! Thanks, for the feedback!

  3. Cynthia Metoyer said

    Thank you for the informative and interestings topics you publish.
    Cynthia Metoyer

  4. Caroly said

    Please send me the mailing address and cost list for the sweetner that you use. I received a sample and enjoyed it immensely.

  5. What do you know about raw foods and Lupus? I had been eating a lot of raw veggies and salads for a while, more than usual, and began to hurt a lot more. I was told that I was not able to digest the raw foods properly by a Doctor of Chinese Medicine. She advised that I steam the vegetables and that seems to have helped greatly.

    • Hi, Yes, I know some about lupus because I was diagnosed with Mixed Connective Tissue disease, which is a cross between rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and lupus. Since diagnosed with this disease back in 1995, I have studied arthritis and have now be healed by changing my diet.

      Many studies have shown that raw foods are great for reducing inflammation which can occur with lupus and rhematoid arthritis. However, there are times that raw foods are not as good for someone if they have other things going on. So, if you are having digestive problems when eating raw veggies, something else may be going on and I recommend that you see a gastroentrologist (stomach doctor) or a naturopathic doctor as soon as you can. There could be a number of reasons why this is happening.

      Keep me posted and I wish you well.

  6. Toni said

    Naturopath – http://www.santannaturalmedicine.com/
    I love Dr Mitchell… since I have thyroid disease my ailments take a lot longer to heal… he’s really helped me with pain management and thyroid function as well as hormone therapy!

    I think I saw Agave Nector at Sprouts on the coffee aisle… I noticed it because it was in a weird place when I was trying to find coconut oil which was in a totally different section. I’m trying out Sun Crystals which is all natural mix of sugar and stevia (lowers cholesterol)… 5 calories and doesn’t have a bitter after taste (to me).

    Love probiotics! I think they help keep me well and recovering quickly from flu/cold that my spouse and children bring home! I’m on the natural band wagon! I’m experimenting with adding a little kelp for my thyroid.

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