Probiotics: Partners in Health
Most people understand what antibiotics are, but only a few understand the nature and role of probiotics. Our bodies have good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are the good bacteria and protect us at many levels.
The word "probiotics" comes from the Greek phrase "for life". That alone should clue you in to the fact that probiotics are undeniably our best allies for attaining optimal health. When we think of our well-being, a probiotic supplement automatically come into the picture.
What do we mean exactly when we say that probiotics are beneficial to health? A research project carried out by NUTRAingredients.com concluded that:
"Consumption of a dairy drink containing three strains of probiotic bacteria was associated with changes in the activity of hundreds of genes, with the changes resembling the effects of certain medicines in the human body, including medicines that positively influence the immune system and those for lowering blood pressure."
To be more specific, Professor Michiel Kleerebezem of NIZO pointed out that it is in the mucosa of the small intestine where probiotic supplements do some of their good work. The role they play is almost identical to the desired effects brought about by pharmaceutical products; the only difference is that unlike prescription meds, probiotics are not dangerously strong and practically have no side effects.
One remarkable finding: probiotics influence genes and cellular activity in the intestine. We're not talking just a few genes, but hundreds of them, to the extent that they have a positive impact on our immune system and on our blood pressure.
Probiotics also help the digestive process by helping us assimilate our food better.
The Link: Probiotics and Genes
Epigenetics is a field in medicine that not all of us know about. It focuses on lifestyles and how such individual lifestyles affect the way our genes function. One's genetic make-up is not pre-determined, nor is it fixed and permanent. Our genes are in constant flux, affected by what we eat and drink, and how much stress we handle.
Take our diet as an example. By eating more vegetables like broccoli and garlic and onions, we suppress those genes that give rise to tumors which eventually turn into cancer-causing elements. If we consume food and drink rich in probiotics, our body's ability to fight infection and disease improves considerably. Put simply, the kind of lifestyle that is conducive to the health of our genes affects our ability to ward off chronic illness.
Epigenetic theory, therefore, looks at how we change cellular activity by "instructing" them through epigenetic manipulation. It is a cure for disease through the process of manipulation. While still in its early stages, epigenetics could yet emerge as a promising field of medicine that could unlock the mysteries of health.
The best time to start giving our bodies the probiotic supplement prevention they need is now. By following a diet rich in probiotics, we're taking our health several leaps ahead and telling our genes to behave the way we want them to behave.
Buy probiotic supplements especially during these circumstances:
- When you can't stick to your healthy diet and you consume too much sugar or grains
- When you've been prescribed antibiotics by your doctor because of an infection
- When you travel overseas and you're not sure about the quality of the drinking water
- When you've eaten something that's undercooked or you're not sure if it was cooked in sanitary conditions
You may want to take probiotic supplements continuously for 30-60 days just to make sure your digestive system is well taken care and is properly equipped to fight disease. Be sure the probiotic supplement you take contains many healthy strains of normal flora and its strength (noted in cfu - colony forming units) is in the billions. Fundamental Probiotic has 12 strains and over 25 billion cfu per capsule.
Other Benefits of Probiotics
Recent research has shown that probiotics have a positive impact on human health. No one disputes this.
Overall health depends, to some degree, on a healthy digestive tract. After all, it is the digestive system that processes the foods we eat and eliminates what we don't need. This is why it is important to nurture our digestive system with good bacteria. These bacteria protect the mucosal immune system in our intestines.
Probiotics also help produce antibodies to counteract the harmful effects of pathogens. They help the immune system identify pathogens and non-harmful antigens. This is a crucial function because we don't want the immune system to over-react to non-harmful antigens.
Weight problems? Probiotics have been shown to maintain weight and reduce fat in obese people. In fact, a 5% reduction in fat has been attributed to healthy bacteria in the intestines. A test showed that when a person drinks fermented, probiotic-rich milk for 12 weeks, it becomes possible to reduce fat by 5% and subcutaneous fat by 3%.
Take the path to good health. Get in the habit of taking the best probiotic supplement available on a daily basis to assure your digestive tract has sufficient normal flora for optimum health.
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