Probiotics have become big business!  In fact, the current search in probiotic popularity has increased the market to billions of dollars in profits.  By 2015, the probiotics sales around the word are projected to top $40 billion!  The many health benefits associated with probiotics has lead to many new probiotics products on the market; these may range from supplements, creams and gums to probiotic products created specifically for your pets.

Regardless of the type of product, to be considered “probiotics” it must contain “good” or “healthy” bacteria.  Probiotics are bacteria that support your overall health, especially your digestive health.  Probiotics can also reference several types of bacteria, typically ranging between one billion and 250 billion units per serving! With so many new products on the market, it is important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of probiotics.

Probiotic Benefits

Most of the benefits associated with probiotics are found in the digestive system.  Considering that the digestive system is home to over one trillion bacteria, there tends to be a variety of healthy and harmful strands present.  Probiotics has demonstrated the ability to keep pathogens, or harmful bacteria, in check.

Perhaps the most useful and important use of probiotics is to prevent serious secondary infection resulting from antibiotic use.  Antibiotics tend not to be picky when eliminate pathogens making us ill.  In fact, antibiotics often kill off almost any bacteria in its way.  For some people, this mass extermination of bacteria becomes a serious problem, especially when it comes to the very dangerous Clostridium difficile, or C. Diff.  C. Diff has the tendency to antibiotic resistant, leaving it the only surviving bacteria after treatment.  Left without competition from healthy bacteria, C. Diff can multiply rapidly, causing severe infection that can spread from the intestine throughout the body, resulting in significant illness, kidney damage, and in some cases, even death.

Supplementing with probiotics keeps a healthy, steady supply of good bacteria in the digestive system, maintaining a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria, minimizing the risk of infection through C. Dif.

Other health benefits of probiotics include:

Diarrhea Treatment

Believe it or not, diarrhea remains one of leading global causes of death.  The American Medical Association has released numerous studies that demonstrates probiotic therapy is helpful in treating and preventing diarrhea.

Stronger Immune System

While further study is required, initial findings demonstrate that probiotics may decrease the duration and intensity of illness such as the common cold and respiratory tract infections.  Probiotics are also thought to treat yeast infections and urinary tract infections.  The prevailing theory is that the health bacteria in probiotics work in tandem with the immune system, producing a strong defense against potential pathogens.

A Natural Weight Loss Supplement

Surprisingly, studies are also demonstrating that daily supplementation with probiotics, whether through yogurt, kefir, or capsule form, produces an increased loss of body fat, while maintaining muscle mass.  While yogurt and kefir contain protein, which promotes muscle growth, there is further speculation that probiotics tend to accelerate fat loss, during the weight loss process.

Research continues to demonstrate amazing health benefits of probiotics.  Nutritions and doctors are recommending regular probiotics supplementation with a serving of yogurt or kefir each day.

 

 

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