The human intestine is a neighborhood full of people, if you are a microorganism, that is. There are 500 species of bacteria residing in the gastrointestinal tract in adults, mainly in the large intestine. Not only do they live there in peaceful coexistence with us, but they can also help: to eliminate the bacteria that cause diseases, to keep our immune system healthy and to maintain the lining of the intestine.
Probiotics have become more popular in the last 10 to 20 years, along with vitamins, wheat germ and other alternative and complementary medications. The idea of restoring our normal intestinal flora and rebalancing ourselves, without using drugs, makes them natural and safe.
The most commonly used probiotics are yeasts, particularly Saccharomyces, and bacteria, particularly Lactobacillus (lactic acid bacteria) and Bifidobacterium. These microorganisms are found in large quantities in the normal healthy intestine.
That is the conclusion of a group of Australian gastroenterologists who reviewed the literature on probiotics and their effects on the disease, and reported their findings in the latest Medical Journal of Australia. They discovered that there is good evidence that they work in three different conditions that cause diarrhea.
One is acute viral infectious diarrhea, especially rotavirus, a common cause of severe diarrhea in children. When administered with rehydrating liquids, probiotics reduce the duration of diarrhea by an average of 1.2 days. Probiotics are more effective if they are administered early in the course of the disease; Lactobacillus rhamnosus was the most effective probiotic.
Probiotics also helped reduce the likelihood of diarrhea after antibiotics. Approximately one in four people have diarrhea after taking broad-spectrum oral antibiotics; It can happen after a single dose. But Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Saccharomyces boulardii reduce the possibilities. A study of 269 children found that taking Saccharomyces boulardii reduced the chance of diarrhea by 10 percent. Another study in adults over 50 years found that diarrhea is a third less likely in those who take a mixture of Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus
Written by Peter Lavelle
Source – www.abc.net.au
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