WHAT EXACTLY ARE PROBIOTICS?!?
I've heard the term quite often and for the first time-many years back; however, I really had no idea what probiotics actually were and exactly what they did. I knew they improved digestion health-or so I'd heard...but I learned how important of a factor they really are!The greek translation literally means "for" and "life" so this does perhaps give way to a hint of what probiotics do.
They are in fact deemed "live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host", by the World Health Organization. The European Food Safety Authority however, does NOT accept this claim as a measurable health concept and therefore it is not adopted by the EFSA. It has so far, rejected 260 claims on probiotics do to inconclusive research.Probiotics must be placed into large enough amounts that will actually trigger the wanted effect and this strongly depends on the strain, process, and matrix.
There are still numerous scientific studies in Europe and in the US in regards to the health benefits to using the product. Preliminary research is very promising too for the psychological effects of probiotics and the use of multiple strains versus a single strain usage. There is a theory that the diverse environment of the human digestive system may benefit well from mutliple probiotic strains. This is however, not a confirmed theory at this point.
As for what they can be utilized for, there are many! Many people will take them to help with bloating, kill "bad" bacteria that cause illness, help with digestive issues, prevent digestive infections, and to help with symptoms of IBD and IBS. They have been listed as safe and have been used for quite a long time throughout history. Probiotics may not be recommended for children, the elderly, and people who may have a weakened immune system.
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