Sunday, December 2, 2007

Say Hello To My Little Friends!

Imagine popping a supplement of live bacteria in a pill form. No, its not fear factor, these critters are known as probiotics and provide several health benefits. Acidophilus is one of these healthy bacteria that resides in the digestive system and vagina that maintains the bacterial balance within the body. Several studies has concluded that our friendly friends may actually have anticancer properties, help with allergies and yeast infections, enhance the immune system, lower cholesterol and possibly help manage weight. After reading that sentence you are probably pretty eager to pick up some of these helpful buddies. The healthy bacteria are found in several tasty foods that you can enjoy on a daily basis like yogurt and cheese.
Just so you can compare, there are approximately 100,000 billion viable bacteria in your digestive tract which includes at least 400 different species of bacteria. That is crazy, especially considering that your body is composed of 10,000 billion cells. Can you believe that there are 10 bacterial organisms for every cell?
Among the species there are two strains, Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria which are found in yogurt and cheese. Many strains are used in probitotic supplements such Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum and the yeast Saccharomyces boulardi.
Let us take a closer look at what exactly our little friends do in our bodies. The gastrointestinal tract is a major player in an individual’s immune function and overall nutritional well-being. Since acidophilus chill in the intestine, they have the ability to maintain a healthy concentration that promote proper digestion and displace disease promoting yeast and bacteria. Lactobacillus acidophilus breaks down food which leads to the production of hydrogen peroxide, lactic acid and other by-products that establish a “not-so-happy” environment for any undesired bacteria. This probiotic also produces lactase which is the enzyme that catalyzes lactose into simple sugars. This specific enzyme is not produced by individuals who are lactose intolerant. So, if you want to enjoy a lil’ DQ, eat your cheese strings!
Probiotics are also administered for several potential therapeutic methods. These bacteria are used to ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and potentially inflammatory bowel disease. They are also linked to reducing and even preventing urinary tract infections, cystitis and vaginal yeast infections. The Certain strains of our helpful helpers may even enhance the immune response and reduce cholesterol but further research must be conducted.
So discover the wonderful world of yogurt and embrace some cheese into your life. Go to the grocery store, splurge on some “go-gurt” and invite those critters in!

1 comment:

Dominic B. said...

In a recent Nature issue, there was a review about what is called "the human microbiome" is one of those "ome" related research projects (genome, protemoe, metabolome etc...). We need to understand these bacteria because they hold the key to the way we react to many different drugs and, I am sure, the way our immune system is primed....