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Friday 21 August 2015

Probiotics, what is it?, Any Health Benefits?

Probiotics are living microscopic organisms, or microorganisms, that scientific research has shown to benefit your health. Most often they are bacteria, but they may also be other organisms such as yeasts. In some cases they are similar, or the same, as the “good” bacteria already in your body, particularly those in your gut. These good bacteria are part of the trillions of microorganisms that inhabit our bodies. This community of microorganisms is called the microbiota. Some microbiota organisms can cause disease. However, others are necessary for good health and digestion. This is where probiotics come in.
The most common probiotic bacteria come from two groups,Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium, although it is important to remember that many other types of bacteria are also classified as probiotics. Each group of bacteria has different species and each species has different strains. This is important to remember because different strains have different benefits for different parts of your body. For example,Lactobacillus has been shown to support the immune system and to help food move through the gut, but Lactobacillus bulgaricusmay help relieve symptoms of lactose intolerance, a condition in which people cannot digest the lactose found in most milk and dairy products. In general, not all probiotics are the same, and they don’t all work the same way.

Scientists are still sorting out exactly how probiotics work. So far we know:
They may:
*.Boost your immune system by enhancing the production of antibodies to certain vaccines.
*.Produce substances that prevent infection.
*.Prevent harmful bacteria from attaching to the gut lining and growing there.
*.Send signals to your cells to strengthen the mucus in your intestine and help it act as a barrier against infection.
*.Inhibit or destroy toxins released by certain “bad” bacteria that can make you sick.
*.Produce B vitamins necessary for metabolizing the food you eat, warding off anemia caused by deficiencies in B6 and B12, and maintaining healthy skin and a healthy nervous system.
Common Uses According Research
Certain strains of probiotics have demonstrated positive results in treating diarrhea and gastroenteritis. According to a report published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition2, probiotics are “useful in the prevention or treatment of several gastrointestinal disorders”, such as infectious diarrhea, antibioticdiarrhea, and traveler’s diarrhea.
One study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, concluded that Lactobacillus species are a safe and effective form of treatment for children with infectious diarrhea. The researchers concluded that “Prophylactic use of Lactobacillus significantly reduced the risk of nosocomial diarrhea in infants, particularly nosocomial rotavirus gastroenteritis.”
1. Brain function
Probiotics may be beneficial for brain function. Researchers at UCLA found that brain function improved among healthy women who regularly consumed probiotic-containing yogurt.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, said “Many of us have a container of yogurt in our refrigerator that we may eat for enjoyment, for calciumor because we think it might help our health in other ways. Our findings indicate that some of the contents of yogurt may actually change the again ,
8 Natural food sources of probiotics
1. Yogurt. , lowfat Greek yogurt (since it’s protein-rich with no added sugar), but any yogurt with a pure, simple ingredient list that includes ‘live, active’ cultures will do.
2. Buttermilk. Buttermilk is a good source of probiotics, thanks to the live cultures added to ferment the milk sugars. Cooking with it, however, will destroy the live cultures.
3.Kefir. It’s sort of like a drinkable yogurt, but kefir has different types of probiotics than yogurt. It’s made by fermenting milk with a culture of yeasts and bacteria that are referred to as kefir ‘grains.’ Stick with plain, unflavored kefir to minimize added sugars, and try it in place of milk over whole grain cereal.
4. Cultured cottage cheese. Contains L. acidophilus and B. bifidum, as well as four strains of lactic cultures.
5. Miso. It’s made by fermenting cooked soybeans with rice or barley, salt, and koji (a starter culture) to form a red, white, or dark colored paste. Miso can be used in place of salt in your favorite recipes, as well as in salad dressings, soups, marinades, dips and pesto. For maximum benefit from the live cultures, buy unpasteurized miso paste (located in the refrigerated section of grocery stores) and add to cooked dishes just before removing from heat.
6. Kombucha. It’s made by fermenting yeasts and bacteria with sweetened tea, resulting in a slightly carbonated, probiotic-rich beverage. Look for it in the refrigerated section of grocery stores.
7.Sauerkraut. The fermentation process means that homemade sauerkraut is a good source of live, active cultures. But if it’s store-bought, look for sauerkraut that’s refrigerated and labeled as containing live cultures. Otherwise, it’s likely been heat treated, which destroys the live cultures.
8. Kimchi. A popular Korean dish, kimchi is fermented and pickled cabbage, mixed with other ingredients, such as red pepper flakes, radish, ginger and onion. The freshly made kimchi found at Asian markets and restaurants is rich in probiotics, but, like sauerkraut, kimchi in a jar that has been on the shelf for months has been heat treated, and doesn’t contain live, active cultures.
Some Food Sources of Probiotics in Nigeria
These include: mostly fermented foods. In Nigeria for instance we have a host of such fermented foods such as: Gari from cassava (strain Leuconostoc Alcaligenes, Corynebacterium
Dawadawa – Locust beans – Bacillus Staphylococcus
ogiri, Okpei, etc.
3. Fermented tubers: These include mainly cassava and yam used in the production of foods such as garri, fufu, lafun and elubo etc.Nigeria is one of the leading producers of cassava in the world with an annual production of 35-40 million metric tons.
Over 40 varieties of cassava are grown in Nigeria and cassava is the most important dietary staple in the country accounting for over 209 of all food crops consumed in Nigeria (IITA,2004)
Gari is a creamy-white, granular flour with fermented flavour and a slightly sour taste made from fermented, gelatinized fresh cassava tubers. Gari is widely known in Nigeria and other West African countries. It is commonly consumed either by being soaked in cold water with sugar, coconut, roasted groundnuts, dry fish, or boiled cowpea as complements or as a paste madewith hot water and eaten with vegetable sauce. There are basically three types of gari1.Rough-sour gari which is preferred for soaking with sugar and sometimes roastedpeanut or coconut.2.Medium gari is usually cooked by adding to boiling water and stirred. This is usually eaten with stew or soup.3.Smooth gari which could be mixed with pepper and other spicy ingredients. A small amount of warm water and palm oil is added and mixed with the hand to soften. This type of gari is served with friedfish.
Fufu is a fermented white paste made from cassava it is ranked next to gari as an indigenous food of most Nigerians in the South. Fufu is made by sleeping whole or cutpeeled cassava roots in water to ferment for maximum of three days, during the steeping, fermentation decrease the pH, softens the roots and help to reduces the potentially toxic cyanogenic compound(Agbor-Egbe and Lape Mbome, 2006)1.LafunLafun is a fibrous powdery form of cassava similar to fufu in Nigeria. The method of producing lafun is different from that of fufuin the traditional preparation; fresh cassava roots are cut into chucks and steeped for 3-4days or until the roots become soft. The fermented roots are peeled, broken up into small pieces and sun dried on mats, flat rocks, cineol flours, or the roots of houses. The dried pieces are milled into flour. Alternatively, chips are made directly from fresh roots, cut into chucks and sun dried. Drying takes 2-4 days, depending on weather. Unlike fufu, the fiber is the related root for lafun are dried along with the mash and later sieved out. The flour is made into dough with boiling water before consumption. When properly stored, it has a shelf life of six months or more.
Fermented cereals Cereals which include maize (Zea mays), Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), millet (Peninselum americarum) and acha etc. are used in the production of gruels which is used as complementary food for babies and serves as breakfast for adults.Maize, millet, rice and sorghum cereals provide mainly carbohydrates and low quality protein. The generation and fermentation of cereals enhance the availability of elemental iron, the deficiency of which is responsible for the high incidence of anaemia in tropical countries. of cowpea, groundnut or soybeans flour into masa during preparations improves the nutritional qualityof masa. Groundnut-maize enriched masa could be a source of protein to the consumer particularly in developing countries like Nigeria where cost of feeding on animal sourced protein is unaffordable. The high calorie content of groundnut-maize masa could be due to the high fat content of the added paste. The decrease in the weight of masa with addition of groundnut paste could be due to increase in the oil content inthe paste which has been proofed to be relatively lighter.
.Pito Pito is the traditional beverage drink of the Benins in the Mid- West part of Nigeria. It is however popularly consumed throughout Nigeria owing to its refreshing nature and low price. Pito is also widely consumed in Ghana. The preparation of pito involves soaking the cereal grains (maize, sorghum, or combinations of both) in water for two days, followed by malting and allowing themto sit for five days in basket lined with moistened banana leaves. The malted grains are ground mixed with water and boiled. Theresulting mash is allowed to cool and the product if ready
10 Health Benefits of Probiotics:
1. Brain function
Probiotics may be beneficial for brain function. Researchers at UCLA found that brain function improved among healthy women who regularly consumed probiotic-containing yogurt.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, said “Many of us have a container of yogurt in our refrigerator that we may eat for enjoyment, for calciumor because we think it might help our health in other ways. Our findings indicate that some of the contents of yogurt may actually change the again ,formulation of Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242, is able to reduce blood levels of LDLor “bad” cholesterol.
In addition, probiotic bacteria might have the potential to change brain neurochemistry and treat anxiety and depression-related disorders, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).Cholesterol
2. May Reduce Bad Cholesterol
Mitchell L. Jones, M.D., Ph.D Jones, co-founder and chief science officer of the company that formulated a probiotic said that the study showed that probiotics can reduce cholesterol “and in particular reduce the cholesterol esters associated with ‘bad’ saturated fatty acids in the blood.
3. Blood pressure
Some studies have found that milk fermented with strains of LAB may help lower blood pressure.
4. Irritable bowel syndrome
There is growing evidence that probiotics can help treat IBS( irritable bowel syndrome). Two review articles, published inNutrition in Clinical Practice, examined the therapeutic approaches to irritable bowel syndrome and found that probiotics, specifically Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 (Bifantis®), are very effective at managing IBS.
5. Infection
A study published in the prestigious scientific journalPNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), found that probiotic bacteria can protect against bacterial infection.
The research was the first of its kind to demonstrate that Lactobacillus salivariusoffered significant protection against Listeria infection.Psoriasis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
6. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of movement in the gut. People who have IBS may have diarrhea, constipation or alternating bouts of both. IBS is not caused by injury or illness. Often the only way doctors can diagnose it is to rule out other conditions through testing.
Probiotics, particularlyBifidobacterium infantis, Lactobacillus plantarum and combination probiotics may help regulate how often people with IBS have bowel movements. Probiotics may also help relieve bloating from gas. Research is continuing to determine which probiotics are best to help treat IBS.
7. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Though some of the symptoms are the same, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is different from IBS because in IBD, the intestines become inflamed. Unlike IBS, IBD is a disorder of the immune system. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, pain, diarrhea, weight loss and blood in your stools. There are two main types of IBD: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In Crohn’s disease, ulcers may develop anywhere in your intestine including both the large and small bowels. In ulcerative colitis, inflammation only involves the large intestine.
Recent research indicates that your gut microbs plays a role in developing IBD, especiallulcerative colitis. Some studies suggest that probiotics may help reduce inflammation and delay the next bout of disease. Ulcerative colitis seems to respond better to probiotics than Crohn’s disease. It appears thatE. coliNissle, and a mixture of several strains ofLactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Streptococcusmay be most beneficial. Research is continuing to determine which probiotics are best to treat IBD.
8. Infectious Diarrhea
Infectious diarrhea is caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites. There is evidence that probiotics such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus case in may be particularly helpful in treating diarrhea caused by rotavirus, which often affects babies and small children. Several strains of Lactobacillus and a strain of the yeast Saccharomyces may help treat and shorten the course of infectious diarrhea.
9. Antibiotic-Related Diarrhea
Sometimes taking an antibiotic can cause infectious diarrhea by reducing the number of good microorganisms in your gut. Then bacteria that normally do not give you any trouble can grow out of control, which is a major cause of diarrhea in hospitalized patients and people in long-term care facilities like nursing homes. The trouble with Clostridium difficileis that it tends to come back, but there is evidence that taking probiotics such as Saccharomyces boulardii may help prevent this. There is also evidence that taking probiotics when you first start taking an antibiotic may help prevent antibiotic-related diarrhea in the first place. It is important to note that most antibiotic-associated diarrhea is NOT infectious but rather is a result of reducing the number of normal microbiota in your gut.
10. Traveler’s Diarrhea
It’s possible to get infectious diarrhea when you travel by ingesting pathogenic, disease-causing, bacteria that are often present in the food or water (“traveler’s diarrhea”). Most studies show that probiotics are not very effective in preventing or treating traveler’s diarrhea in adults. Scientists face a challenge in determining which probiotics might be useful because of the number of destinations to which people travel and the number of different bacteria travelers may encounter.
Other Uses
Other potential uses for probiotics include maintaining a healthy mouth, preventing and treating certain skin conditions like eczema, promoting health in the urinary tract and vagina Yeast infection and preventing allergies (especially in children). There is not as much research about these uses as there is about the benefits of probiotics for your digestive system, and studies have had mixed results.
Are Probiotics Safe?
Probiotic cultures naturally occur in certain fermented foods. Below is a list of different strains of probiotic bacteria:
*.Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086
*.Bifidobacterium animalis subscp. lactis
Probiotics are most often used to promote digestive health. Because there are different kinds of probiotics, it is important to find the right one for the specific health benefit you seek. Researchers are still studying which probiotic should be used for which health or disease state. Nevertheless, probiotics have been shown to help regulate the movement of food through the intestine. They also may help treat digestive disease, something of much interest to gastroenterologists. Note that probiotics mostly supplement rather than replace digestive disease treatments. Some of the most common uses for probiotics include the treatment of the following:
preventing and treating certain skin conditions like eczema, promoting health in the urinary tract and vagina, and preventing allergies (especially in children). There is not as much research about these uses as there is about the benefits of probiotics for your digestive system, and studies have had mixed results.
Are Probiotics Safe?
It is generally thought that most probiotics are safe. They may be taken by people without a diagnosed digestive problem. Their safety is evident since they have a long history of use in fermented foods like yogurt. Though probiotics appear safe for most people you should talk to your doctor before adding them to your diet. It is not known if they are safe for people with impaired immune systems.
Research about the use of probiotics in children has grown in recent years. Although studies have shown that probiotics may help to treat infectious diarrhea in babies and small children, researchers are unsure whether probiotics are particularly helpful for children with inflammatory bowel disease. Ask your child’s pediatrician about probiotics before giving them to your child.
The exception here is breastfeeding. Breast milk provides and stimulates the growth of normal gut organisms that are important for a baby’s digestive health and developing immune system. That is one reason why doctors strongly encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies.
Overall, more research is necessary before blanket statements about the safety of probiotics in general or about individual probiotic groups and strains can be made. Future studies will show whether probiotics can be used to treat diseases, are safe to use for a long time, and if it is possible.
However in mine own case, when all immune boosting efforts and moves to restore health fails, try probiotics, that is exactly what I do including for constipation and detox. Try incorporating more probiotics into your diet, your gut flora will thank you.


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