Probiotics are examples of live bacteria and yeasts that are heralded as having numerous health benefits. Probiotics are usually added to yoghurts or taken specifically as additional food supplements and are often colloquially described as ‘good’ or ‘friendly’ bacteria. Probiotics are also commonly thought to help promote the natural balance of bacteria in your stomach and gut (this also includes your intestines.
Probiotic drinks may also be helpful in most cases; however, there is little evidence to support them any health claims made. For instance, in the case of eczema – there is no proven evidence that support the theory that probiotics can help treat this ailment.
Nevertheless, it does appear that for most people probiotics are a safe dietary option. If you do wish you to try them, then ensure you have a healthy immune system, as if you don’t, probiotics may cause some unwanted side effects.
Evidence to Support the Use of Probiotics
There is some evidence to support the use of probiotics, namely in the following areas:
– controlling antibiotic-associated diarrhoea
– combatting infectious diarrhoea
– stopping premature babies developing gut related illnesses babies from gut disease
– preventing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
– lactose related illnesses
– creating a stable immune system
– improving vaginal conditions
– subduing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Regular use of probiotics can help stabilize some of these conditions.
Potential Issues With Probiotics
Make sure you are aware of the issues before consuming probiotics in any form. Primarily, probiotics are generally classified as food rather than as medicine because they do not go stringent and rigorous testing. Medicine may go through years of trials before it is approved to be used and before it available on the shelves of your local pharmacy.
Priobiotics are often not regulated properly, meaning that the level of some elements cannot be proven or we cannot always be sure that: the product containing probiotics actually contains the source stated on the packaging/label; the probiotic actually contains enough of the ‘good’ bacteria stated or the bacteria is actually strong enough to be absorbed into your gut.