Probiotics, the beneficial microbes
The intestine is one of the most important organs of our body, as that is where the absorption of the nutrients of food and water happens, while at the same time, the defense of the body is built. Its good functioning is a prerequisite for the overall good health of our organism.
Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that are important for our gastrointestinal system and have been characterized as friendly because they help the body to stay healthy, fight illnesses and work properly. On the contrary, pathogenic bacteria cause an imbalance in the normal flora, causing the body to become infected with various visible or hidden infections. Probiotics are unaffected by the acidic environment of the stomach and pass through the body while passing through the gastrointestinal tract.
Probiotics are the key for a proper absorption of nutrients and a good health condition of the body.
In order to have all of the above and for our body to get the proper nutrients, each person should have a proper daily, balanced diet that includes the following food categories:
- Carbohydrates, 50-60% of the daily calorie consumption
- Fats (lipids), 25-35%
- Proteins (albumins), 10-15%
Probiotics have a particular method of functioning and improving the natural intestinal flora (the bacteria living in the intestine), thus stopping the growth of pathogenic bacteria and the establishment of harmful microorganisms, while favoring the development of friendly (non pathogenic) bacteria. They also reduce the pH of the intestine. Simply put, they fight the pathogenic microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, producing “antimicrobial” substances.
They are very important for the prevention and treatment of various diseases.
They help in treating gastrointestinal symptoms, for example in the Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Stomach Ulcer, in Crohn’s Disease, and generally in all the inflammatory bowel diseases as well as in the prevention and treatment of gynecological inflammations such as fungal infections, vaginitis, cystitis and others. They also help in lactose intolerance, bowel cancer prevention and immune system enhancement.
Studies also show that they help in Anxiety Disorders and in Depression.
Recent studies have shown that they are now being used for the treatment of Allergic Rhinitis as well as Allergic Eczema, and are also useful in women that breastfeed because they prevent the occurrence of allergic disorders in infants through breast milk.
Moreover, they provide protection from the resistant staphylococcus, a germ that is one of the serious causes of hospital infections.
They have been associated with weight loss and weight regulation, because they inhibit the action of an enzyme, pancreatic lipase and help in the intestinal flora, which plays a big role in obesity.
The best source of probiotics is dairy products and mainly non-pasteurized (eg traditional yogurt from sheep milk that has a yogurt crust).
There are also other foods such as kefir (the highest content is when we make it alone at home, with live bacteria and milk added). The big advantage is that the bacteria are taken from a food that is in the diet anyway.
Dietary supplements have higher concentrations of probiotics and often a variety of different probiotics that serve different needs. In addition, they are released directly into the intestine, which is very important.
And then, there is the second “brain”
There is an entire nervous system in the intestine. The intestine actually contains more neurotransmitters than our brain. It is wired with the mind and the messages travel back and forth. When these messages change for whatever reason in any direction from the brain to the bowel or the intestine in the brain, health is disturbed.
Then, of course, through the bowel, the body must get rid of all the toxins produced as a by-product of the metabolism, and whatever toxic substances the liver produces .
And of course, the intestine must break down all the food we eat to its individual elements, separate all vitamins and minerals and complete the transport to and from the bloodstream to stay healthy.
Even in a perfect organism, the intestine has a difficult role to play in balancing things.
I wish all the best
Dr. Nikoleta Koini, M.D.
Doctor of Functional, Preventive, Anti-ageing and Restorative Medicine.
Diplomate and Board Certified in Anti-aging, Preventive, Functional and Regenerative Medicine from A4M (American Academy in Antiaging Medicine).