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Effects of Probiotics

Updated on February 18, 2014

Are probiotics effective?

According to Harvard Women’s Health Watch, probiotic therapy has been best studied for the treatment of various gastrointestinal problems, including:

  1. Diarrhea
  2. Crohn’s disease
  3. Irritable bowel syndrome

Other studies have shown:

Benefits of Probiotics

Partial List of Benefits
Lactobacillus plantarum
Beneficial with colitis, chrons disease and IBS. Helps remove harmful bacteria from the body.
Lactobacillus acidophilus
Helps with bacterial vaginosis, reduces olonization of pathogenic bacteria, including E. coli, boosts immune system, useful for lactose intolerance.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus
Balances microflora, supports immune function, combats pathogens in urinary tract system, improves integrity of stomach lining.
Lactobacillus salivarius
Improves dental health by fighting 5 dangerous bacteria that cause plaque.
Lactobacillus casei
Helps colonize beneficial bacteria, especially L. acidophilus. Counters inflammatory effects of Escherichia coli on Crohn's disease.
Bifidobacterium bifidum
increased protection that breast-fed infants have from gastrointestinal infections
Bifidobacterium longum
Boosts immune system, barrier protection from pathogens
Bifidobacterium breve
antibiotic-associated diarrhea, allergies, gas, IBS
Bifidobacterium infantis
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Should You Supplement with Probiotics?

Probiotics have been and continue to be studied by the medical community for a variety health benefits. Since it is deemed safe for most people, including children and infants, I cannot find a reason not to take them.There is however, overwhelming research on the benefits of supplementing with probiotics.

Two areas of concern would be if you have HIV/AIDS or if you have Short Bowel Syndrome. If you have either of these conditions, consult your doctor before taking lactobacillus, because there may be a potential for negative side effects.

Gut Reactions

Have you benefited from using probiotics?

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Best Probiotic Supplements

The BEST PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTS should contain numerous strains of probiotics.

Well balanced micro flora will improve your intestinal health. Having numerous strains will help create the balance you want in your intestinal tract.

I've created a table above showing 10 strains that have science to back up the benefits of each probiotic strain.

Reduce Anxiety

The British Journal of Nutrition published research that showed 2 particular strains of probiotics, Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum, have beneficial psychological effects and may help reduce anxiety.

Cholesterol Lowering Therapy

Probiotic therapy benefits go beyond digestive health. Probiotic supplementation has been studied for its benefits in lowering cholesterol.

Cholesterol is made in the liver from bile. It is stored in the gallbladder and released into the upper portion of your small intestine after eating..

Probiotic bacteria, especially Clostridium, Enterococcus, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, produce enzymes which convert bile into a less-soluble form, which is excreted in feces before it can be reabsorbed by the bloodstream.

Studies show that oral supplementation with probiotics may reduce cholesterol levels by as much as 33%. It should be noted that the capacity to bind cholesterol and the amount of cholesterol assimilated varies widely among different probiotic strains.

Oprah & Dr. Oz Discuss Probiotics

Where to Get Probiotics

Best Probiotic Supplements:

  1. Best Probiotics for Teens and Adults
  2. Best Infant Probiotics

Foods Containing Probiotics:

Yogurt, Kombucha tea, Miso Soup, Soy Milk, Kefir, Sauerkraut, Pickles and Dark Chocalate are a few of the foods rich in probiotics. Careful though, yogurt should say "live cultures" and the sugars and fat can work against you so look for 'all natural' ingredients.

Science Supports Supplementing with Probiotics

  • Van Niel, W., et al. Lactobacillus therapy for acute infectious diarrhea in children: a meta-analysis. Pediatrics. 109(4): 678-683, 2
  • Tuohy, K., et al. Using probiotics and prebiotics to improve gut health. Therapeutic Focus. 8(15): 692-700, 2003.
  • Shimauchi, H., et al. Improvement of periodontal condition by probiotics with Lactobacillus salivarius WB21: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Journal of Clinical Peridontology. 35: 897-905, 2008.
  • Szajewska, H. and Mrukowicz, J. Probiotics in the treatment and prevention of acute infectious diarrhea in infants and children: a systematic review of published randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 33: S17-S25, 2001.
  • Rolfe, R. The role of probiotic cultures in the control of gastrointestinal health. Journal of Nutrition. 130: 396S-402S, 2000.
  • Roberfroid, M. Prebiotics and probiotics: are they functional foods? American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 71(Suppl): 1682S-1687
  • Bonifait, L., et al. Probiotics for oral health: myth or reality? Journal of the Canadian Dental Association. 75(8): 585-590, 2009.
  • Broekaert, I. and Walker, A. Probiotics and Chronic Disease. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 40(3): 270-274, 2006
  • Dugas, B., et al. Immunity and probiotics. Immunology Today. 20(9): 387-390, 1999.
  • Friedrich, M. A bit of culture for children: probiotics may improve health and fight disease. Journal of the American Medical Association. 284(11): 1365-1366, 2000.
  • Frohmader, T., et al. Decrease in frequency of liquid stool in enterally fed critically ill patients given the multispecies probiotic VSL#3: a pilot trial. American Journal of Critical Care. 19: 1-11, 2010.
  • Gill, H. and Guarner, F. Probiotics and human health: a clinical perspective. Postgraduate Medical Journal. 80(947): 516-526, 2004.
  • solauri, E., et al. Probiotics: a role in the treatment of intestinal infection and inflammation? Gut. 50: 54-59, 2002.



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