The general health of the human body depends, to a large extent, to the strength of one’s immune system as, influenced by factors such as stress, microbes, and food. It is only the immunity’s ability to protect the organism that allows the chemical processes inside the body to take place in a natural and comfortable manner.
Much of the beneficial bacteria able to fight viruses and other negative influences is located in the intestines. To maintain the stability of the intestinal flora, it is recommended not only to follow a well-balanced diet but also to provide the body with a type of microorganism called probiotics.
To magnify the effect of the good bacteria, probiotics multiply and attach themselves to the interior walls of the intestines to block a possible adverse outcome because of the influence of harmful bacteria.
A healthy intestinal flora is first of all the result of a healthy diet and a positive mindset, and can quickly help the process of digestion to happen without trouble and protect not only the intestines but all the internal organs through its capacity to battle against germs. When something disturbs the natural flow of things inside the intestines (various diseases such as anorexia, bulimia, cancer or the use of antibiotics), it is usually the probiotics the medication a doctor prescribes to fix the problem.
According to various researches conducted by medicine and biochemistry specialists, there are more than four hundred probiotic strains inside the human body, and they live in every organ, not just in the intestines, where their number is the largest.
What is a probiotic strain?
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The visual representation of this family of microorganisms is similar to that of a tree, where the term of “probiotic” is the trunk, the probiotic species are the strong branches, and the multitude of probiotic strains constitute the twigs.
The notion of “strain” refers to a sub-species of probiotics. The most important species are the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. The Lactobacillus species is, at the same time, an anaerobic (does not resist in oxygen-rich environments) and a microaerophilic bacteria (can easily switch to survival to an oxygenated environment if needed), that is responsible for producing lactase, an enzyme capable of breaking down lactose (the sugar in milk). It is found predominately in the woman’s urogenital system, an area with a more acidic pH.
The Bifidobacterium is a bacteria that is mainly found in the intestines, therefore being more anaerobic than the Lactobacillus species, but it can be found as well in other regions of the body, such as the mouth and vagina. Therefore, it is responsible for the general health of the body, unlike the Lactobacillus bacteria, whose area of action is narrower.
Probiotic strains of the Lactobacillus species
The most popular strain of probiotics is the Lactobacillus Acidophilus, and it has been proven through numerous studies that it is essential to the health of the body. It is a microaerophilic bacteria, that is, it can survive in both oxygen-free and oxygen-rich environments, and is responsible for the process in which lactose is turned into lactic acid. It is found in the woman’s urogenital system and thrives in acidic pH areas (it needs a pH with a value bellow five, on a scale from one to fourteen, where the value seven delimits the acidic from the alkaline environments).
It is also found in the small intestine, where it helps protect the good bacteria and the general health of the intestinal flora. Because it produces lactase, an enzyme able to break down lactose, it is recommended the consumption by people who are lactose-intolerant of yogurt that contains the Lactobacillus Acidophilus bacteria instead of regular milk. It regulates the process of digestion, helps alleviate occasional diarrhea and is vital to the wellbeing of the vagina. Taking supplements that contain this bacteria can prevent possible infections.
It increases nutrients absorption, reduces the symptoms of certain allergies and can fight diseases like ulcers, E. Coli or Salmonella.
Glutathione is responsible for preventing the damage made by free radicals or heavy metals and is associated with the preservation of a good immune system in the elderly. It reduces the negative impact of diseases such as E. Coli and salmonella, lowers the cholesterol level, and is vital for the detox process.
This probiotic strain can restore the balance inside the vagina through treatment with supplements and the consumption of foods that contain probiotics. It strives in hostile environments and supports the immune system of children and elderly.
It lowers the cholesterol level, helps with the discomfort produced by diarrhea, and alleviates the symptoms of asthma in young children by fighting against the microbes inside the lungs.
Probiotic strains of the Bifidobacterium species
By providing the body with this probiotic, one can enjoy good health, a natural digestion process, and a healthy immune system. That is why it is recommended, if possible, that babies should be breastfed, so that the body could take the necessary amount of bacteria from one of its most reliable sources.
Bifidobacterium lactis has multiple properties that include the support of a healthy intestinal flora and stomach, lowering the cholesterol level and fighting against respiratory allergies and infections. Apart from helping digest lactose, sugars, and fibers, the Bifidobacterium lactis is also a strong combatant of gliadin, a group of proteins found in wheat, responsible for the common gluten intolerance.
Yeast and Bacilli
Except for the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species, there are other types of probiotics such as yeast and bacilli.
It has antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects, alleviates the symptoms of lactose intolerance and lowers the cholesterol levels./div>
It prevents respiratory infections and ulcers, improves the lactose digestion and intestinal flora of non-breast-fed babies, and fights the Clostridium difficile bacteria, one which produces toxins responsible for diarrhea and inflammation.
The benefits of using probiotics, be it through supplements, milk-based products, fermented foods or even as a treatment for certain medical conditions cannot be argued, given the fact that, judging by the way science evolves, the probiotics might quickly become the central element in the twenty-first century’s medical system. Although there is yet to be found out their side effects and possibly negative ones, the use of probiotics in one’s diet is not only beneficial but also welcoming.
By having such a strong positive impact on one’s intestinal flora, a major factor in keeping a good health, the fact that the probiotics are present in one’s life ever since a mother breastfeeds her baby for the first time is a clear sign that nature is the best at offering one the support he or she needs to lead a healthy life.