The human gut is home to hundreds of bacterial species that contribute to food digestion, a healthy flora balance and in some unfortunate cases, inflammatory gut diseases. Probiotics are beneficial ‘friendly’ bacteria that enhance digestive health by keeping the resident bacteria in check.
When the ratio of good to bad bacteria is lowered, problems begin to arise such as excessive gas, bloating, intestinal toxicity, constipation and poor absorption of nutrients. While it is true that non-beneficial bacteria are naturally occurring in the intestinal tract, problems begin when their growth goes unchecked. Probiotics play an especially important role in keeping in check the pathogenic bacteria that cause disease. A healthy lower intestine should contain at least 85% friendly bacteria to prevent the over colonisation of disease causing micro organisms.
Probiotics are linked with:
- Lowering bad LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol
- Lowering total cholesterol
- Helping to remove excessive amounts of ‘bad’ bacteria to restore a healthy balance
- Helping to make vitamin K
- Increasing immunity
- Reducing digestive related infections
- Reducing the risk of developing/relapsing chronic gut problems
- Helping to fight the symptoms of the common cold
- Effectively treating IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
- Increasing lifespan
Udos Choice Super 8 Probiotics contain 8 beneficial strains of good bacteria:
1. Lactobacillus Acidophilus - one of the most prominent microorganisms found in the small intestine. It produces lactic acid which inhibits yeast growth as well as natural antibiotics which enhance immune functions.
2. Lactobacillus Rhamnosus - one of the most important probiotic strains for the health of the adult digestive tract from the mouth to the small intestine. Especially beneficial in inhibiting the bacteria involved in vaginal and urinary tract infections.
3. Streptococcus Thermophilus - a transient probiotic from dairy origin. Producing large quantities of lactic acid, it limits the growth of unfriendly bacteria and helps in the prevention and treatment of diarrhoea.
4. Lactobacillus Plantarum - from vegetable origin and found in the intestinal tract it has beneficial anti-microbial activities.
5. Bifidobacterium Bifidum - found primarily in the large intestine. As a producer of B vitamins it helps the body in the completion of its digestive process, specifically in the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium and other vitamins and minerals.
6. Bifidobacterium Longum - it breaks down bile salts, helps to synthesize B-complex vitamins and stimulates the immune system.
7. Lactobacillus Bulgaricus - a transient strain from dairy origin that carries important protective functions on its way through the intestinal tract.
8. Lactobacillus Salivarius - found in the mouth and in the small intestine and has been shown to reduce bleeding gums, tooth decay, bad breath and oral thrush.
Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates which act by promoting the growth and activity of probiotic bacteria in the gut. In other words, prebiotics are not absorbed by us but they ‘feed’ the good bacteria present in our digestive system. Foods which are a good source of prebiotics include bananas, asparagus and tomatoes.