Importance of Probiotics for Everyone By Dr Kevin Lau D.C. Expert Author Dr Kevin Lau D.C.
Probiotics as described by FAO/WHO are: "Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host." Of all the micro-organisms identified in the world so far, lactic acid bacteria and (LAB) and bifidobacteria are the most common type of bacteria that are being used as probiotics, not excluding the use of yeasts and bacilli from time immemorial without any knowledge on food and industrial microbiology. Probiotics are usually added as additives in the making of fermented foods in excess as a treatment methodology by helping to replace the pathogenic bacteria in the body using the trick of competition for substrates. One would know how important the role of Probiotics is, only when you know how useful these are in the treatment of various common diseases.
Various types of probiotic food supplements:
Besides being available as medicinal supplements commercially being approved by FDA and other regulations, fermented foods seemed to contain micro-organisms that are in general good for our health and are available in the food that we usually relish, which includes miso, yoghurt, fermented and unfermented milk, juices and soymilk.
The role of probiotics in alleviating the symptoms of diarrhoea, especially those triggered during antibiotic treatment is a very common treatment and many research are being conducted to provide sound scientific backing.
Yeasts and urinary tract infections:
Probiotics are being used to treat to help in the treatment of yeast infections like vaginitis and oral thrush, and urinary tract infections. Despite no sound scientific backing has been provided to date, expect for observation of alleviation of the symptomatic conditions, these have been considered as best supplements to the regular antibiotic therapy and has been found also to reduce the occurrence of antibiotic resistance.
Probiotics are known to reduce the occurrence of cancer:
The presence of good bacteria in the gut and their ability to scavenge the free radicals has been proven to reduce the occurrence of a number of cancers like stomach cancer, colon cancer, mouth cancer, etc.
Probiotics are known to reduce allergy:
Probiotics has been useful in reducing the hypersensitivity of the immune system. One such condition for which the probiotic treatment has been well established is lactose intolerance. The presence of lactose sugars in the milk could not be digested by some of the children and causes allergy while drinking milk, and are therefore treated with acidophilus milk, which has the end product of digested lactose sugar, lactic acid, and are therefore are not deprived of the nutrition from milk. Recent studies showed their positive effect in children against the hypersensitivity reactions like eczema and asthma. Similarly, in adults probiotics have been known to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is usually an allergic reaction resulting in diarrhoea, while the consumption of probiotic milk aids in alleviating the symptoms instantly.
Probiotics for a healthy immune system:
Medical practitioners, these days are encouraging the inclusion of probiotics in their daily diet that they find to their support a recent study in clinical nutrition that the inclusion of probiotics in the daily diet boosts the immune system. Of the 479 adults who have subjected to probiotic diet, between the age group of 18 to 67, the use of probiotics compensated for the daily dietary intake of vitamins and minerals which otherwise is missing from the daily food along with the additional vitamin and mineral supplements. This they found to increase the presence of total T-cell count and the occurrence of some of the common seasonal diseases like common cold were reduced and even if this occurs, the severity of the disease was much reduced and the symptoms got alleviated in a fewer number of days.
Probiotics for general wellness:
The best example of probiotic for general wellness is a recent research conducted by a group of scientists in Sweden who found that the group of employees who took probiotic had reduced number of leave in their record, in contrast to the employees who did not take probiotic food. The probiotic that they were taking into consideration included Lactobacilli reuteri as the common complaint that the workers were facing were respiratory or gastrointestinal illnesses. How probiotics have been helping them is not much known, but the possible logical conclusion is that this boosted the immunity and encouraged healthiness in them.
Probiotics supplementing alternative medicines:
The beneficial role of probiotics for supplementing the effectiveness of alternative medicines has been widely known. A few examples to be cited here are as follows:
The first example is the use of American physicians who stated in the Journal of American Academy of Asthma and Immunology, came to conclusion on observation that the use of probiotics along with Chinese medicinal herbs like Gan Cao, Ku Shen and Linh Zhi had some positive role in the treatment of asthma.
Yet another good example for the same is the role of probiotics again for Chinese medicine by TCM practitioners who found the use herb Dong Quai with probiotics including the microbes like Lacotbacillus acidophilus, Lactobaacillus delbreukii, Saccharomyces boulardii and Saccharmyces cerevisiae is an effective tonic against the digestive distress that this herb usually causes. The role of this herb is to relieve PMS, menopausal symptoms and hormonal imbalances in women and support fertility and prostrate health in men.
Probiotics for Treatment of Colicky Infants:
Recently Nestle Nutrition Institute has released a press release stating about a medical breakthrough in the treatment of colic in children by Dr. Flavio Indrio. His group found that colicky infants are a condition
that is not very often easily recognized, when the healthy baby keeps crying causing distress to the parents and the doctors. They not only standardized the diagnosis of finding out whether the infant is colicky or not, they also found out how effective is the use of the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri. This non-profit independent organization, found that 96 % of the infants reduced their crying time by 50 percent while under the treatment with this probiotic, which was not the case of other infants. This probiotic is available only in Singapore to date and could be administered to the infants via easy to use droppers as prescribed by the doctors. They are now looking for a scientific backing as to how this helps in reducing the condition of colicky, but this can happen only when more knowledge is obtained on how and what are the root causes for colicky condition by itself?
Probiotics for Treatment of Osteoporosis and Scolosis:
This has been one of the latest topics and an upcoming field of scientific discussions that probiootics can aid in the treatment of bone related diseases like osteoporosis and scolosis. One of the main culprits that has been identified in causing the above two diseases is the happy chemical "serotonin", which in excess amounts has been the root cause for these two diseases. Keeping this in mind, Dr. Kevin Lau, in his book "Your plan for natural Scoliosis prevention and treatment" has highlighted how maintaining a healthy gut can cure scoliosis. This he finds to be a well-known fact that the much renounced medical practitioner of the earlier days, Hippocrates said, "All diseases begins in the gut". He recommends in his book traditional fermented food to be included regularly in your daily diet, which seemed to help in the treatment of this disease along with a well-planned exercise routine. Some of the common traditional fermented foods that are not found in the shelves of supermarket or a medical shop, which he finds very highly helpful for his method of treatment practice, involve the use of kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and natto. In his book, he details on how these foods are being prepared as a short note and focuses on how and why they are very helpful for his practice in treating scoliosis and relieving and alleviating the symptomatic conditions of this disease. Probiotics