Probiotics for Health
Probiotics are live microorganisms ("friendly bacteria") that are similar to those normally found in the human gut, usually Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. A few common probiotics, such as Saccharomyces boulardii, are yeasts. A conference of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and American Society for Microbiology explored encouraging evidence for the use of probiotics:
▪ to treat diarrhea (especially from rotavirus) and irritable bowel syndrome
▪ to prevent and treat infections of the urinary tract or female genital tract
▪ to treat and manage eczema
▪ to reduce recurrence of bladder cancer
▪ to shorten the duration of intestinal infections caused by Clostridium difficile
Friendly bacteria are vital for the immune system, for protection against disease-causing microorganisms, and for the digestion and absorption of food and nutrients. Each person has a mix of bacteria that are present in their body, known as “normal Flora”. When the balance of friendly versus bad bacteria is disrupted by disease or antibiotics, problems can occur which can be helped by using probiotics.