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Probiotics - Usage

Dr. Ohhira Probiotics - Probiotics Usage...

Probiotics Usage & Potential Benefits

Experiments into the benefits of probiotic therapies suggest a range of potentially beneficial medicinal uses for probiotics. For many of the potential benefits, research is limited and only preliminary results are available.

Managing Lactose Intolerance: Because LAB convert lactose into lactic acid, their ingestion may help lactose intolerant individuals tolerate more lactose than what they would have otherwise.

Prevention of Colon Cancer: In laboratory investigations, LAB have demonstrated anti-mutagenic effects thought to be due to their ability to bind with heterocylic amines; carcinogenic substances formed in cooked meat. Animal studies have demonstrated that LAB can protect against colon cancer in rodents, though human data is limited and conflicting. Most human trials have found that LAB may exert anti-carcinogenic effects by decreasing the activity of an enzyme called ß-glucuronidase (which can generate carcinogens in the digestive system). Lower rates of colon cancer among higher consumers of fermented dairy products have been observed in some population studies.

Cholesterol Lowering: Animal studies have demonstrated the efficacy of a range of LAB to be able to lower serum cholesterol levels, presumably by breaking down bile in the gut, thus inhibiting its reabsorption (which enters the blood as cholesterol). Some, but not all human trials have shown that dairy foods fermented with LAB can produce modest reductions in total and LDL cholesterol levels in those with normal levels to begin with, however trials in hyperlipidemic subjects are needed.

Lowering Blood Pressure: Several small clinical trials have shown that consumption of milk fermented with various strains of LAB can result in modest reductions in blood pressure. It is thought that this is due to the ACE inhibitor like peptides produced during fermentation.

Improving Immune Function and Preventing Infections: LAB are thought to have several presumably beneficial effects on immune function. They may protect against pathogens by means of competitive inhibition (i.e., by competing for growth) and there is evidence to suggest that they may improve immune function by increasing the number of IgA-producing plasma cells , increasing or improving phagocytosis as well as increasing the proportion of T lymphocytes and Natural Killer cells. Clinical trials have demonstrated that probiotics may decrease the incidence of respiratory tract infections and dental caries in children as well as aid in the treatment of Helicobacter pylori infections (which cause peptic ulcers) in adults when used in combination with standard medical treatments. LAB foods and supplements have been shown to be effective in the treatment and prevention of acute diarrhea; decreasing the severity and duration of rotavirus infections in children as well as antibiotic associated and travelers diarrhea in adults.

Reducing Inflammation: LAB foods and supplements have been found to modulate inflammatory and hypersensitivity responses, an observation thought to be at least in part due to the regulation of cytokine function. Clinical studies suggest that they can prevent reoccurrences of inflammatory bowel disease in adults, as well as improve milk allergies and decrease the risk of atopic eczema in children.

Improving Mineral Absorption: It is hypothesized that probiotic lactobacilli may help correct malabsorption of trace minerals, found particularly in those with diets high in phytate content from whole grains, nuts, and legumes.

Prevents Harmful Bacterial Growth Under Stress: In a study done to see the effects of stress on intestinal flora, rats that were fed probiotics had no occurrence of harmful bacteria latched onto their intestines compared to rats that were fed sterile water.