The word ‘’bacteria’’ certainly does not evoke a pretty picture and it is associated with all things bad like illness; but in reality, there are bacteria that offer many health benefits and these good guys are called probiotics. They naturally reside in various areas of the body, such as the intestines, genitals and urinary tract. These ‘’friendly’’ bacteria fight off the bad guys, promote healthy digestion and protect the immune system among other things. Lactobacillus is one such bacteria that comes in many strains and is the most popular type of probiotic supplement; here is some important information to know about it.
Research suggests that using probiotic supplements may improve a number of conditions, though evidence for certain uses are stronger than for others; but, given that these supplements are safe for most people when used properly, it certainly cannot hurt to experiment. The treatment of diarrhea is the most well-established use of Lactobacillus, both acidophilus and GG, for treating diarrhea in both children and adults. It may also work well for treating yeast infections, either by suppository or oral ingestion.
Along with diarrhea, using lactobacillus supplements may help alleviate symptoms of other issues of the intestines, such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Because of its potential to keep bad bacteria and other harmful invaders at bay, it may boost immune system function, which would offer benefits such as protecting against various types of illness and infections as well as hastening the healing process for the already sick
If you are taking antibiotics, taking probiotics along with them may be a good idea since these medications kill all bacteria in the body, not just the bad kind.
When we think of probiotics, we tend to think of supplements, but lactobacillus is naturally found in many types of foods, such as yogurt, and fermented soy products such as miso and tempeh. Milk and s other products that have been enriched with lactobacillus are also readily available. You can also get substances called prebiotics through the diet, which support the growth of lactobacillus and other probiotics. Food sources include garlic, wheat, onions, tomatoes, bananas, honey and barley.
Considerations for Supplementation
Since probiotics naturally occur in the body, using them in supplement form or eating foods fortified to provide therapeutic amounts, is generally safe. But, there are certain instances where they are not recommended. If you suffer from a weakened immune system, ingesting excess bacteria of any kind may be harmful; by this, I do not mean someone with a temporary illness like a cold; this refers to more serious immune impairment, such as someone who has HIV/AIDS or someone who takes immune-suppressing medications to prevent their body from rejecting an organ transplant.
If you choose to use supplements, it is important to pick quality ones that are certified to contain live bacteria; you also want to read storage instructions carefully since some require refrigeration while others do not.
When it comes to the dosage, the optimal amount will depend on what condition you are hoping to address with lactobacillus. It seems that the recommended minimum is at least one billon CFUs with some healthcare professionals recommending up to 15 billion to treat conditions as well as maintain general intestinal health. Taking more than one to two billion may cause side effects such as gas, upset stomach and diarrhea; if this occurs, cut back on your dose and gradually build up to more to give your body time to adjust. If you are interested in giving probiotics to your children, you should check with your pediatrician about proper use.
Kelli Cooper, writing for SolsticeMed.com, is a freelance writer who has a passion for natural health and enjoys sharing information that helps people integrate it into their lives.
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