What Makes a Good Probiotic Supplement?
|What Makes a Good Probiotic Supplement?||Darrell Miller||08/09/11|
August 09, 2011 01:27 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (email@example.com)
Subject: What Makes a Good Probiotic Supplement?
Probiotics refer to a group of microorganisms that help maintain homeostasis in the digestive tract and even produce vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Nutrition experts have long recommended the consumptions of friendly bacteria as they curb the populations of harmful pathogens in the gut. More importantly, studies have shown that they contribute to the prevention of gastrointestinal disorders.
Scientists have identified a diverse variety of bacteria and yeasts that work as microbes. Bacteria that manufacture lactic acid are the most commonly used probiotics in the food and drug industries. They comprise a large number of Gram positive and acid tolerant bacteria that are generally recognized as safe. Most of the species are utilized in the production of yogurt in addition to nutritional supplements.
Multi-strain probiotic supplements are deemed better, though most products contain only one strain of bacteria. Nonetheless, they all work on the same principle. Apart from the fact that they produce lactic acid, almost all strains available in the market possess the enzymes responsible for the synthesis of lactase. Hence, probiotics give special benefits to individuals suffering from lactose intolerance.
Lactobacillus is the genus of bacteria best known as probiotics. They are the most extensively studied of all microorganisms identified to be beneficial for human beings. It is an established fact that they provide a steady supply of nutrients. Their fermentation activity in the gut enables them to synthesize vitamin K and other organic compounds that promote healthy metabolism and lower blood lipid levels.
Some strains prevent constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, and many other disorders of the digestive tract. For one, probiotics are capable of digesting complex carbohydrates that usually pass the small intestines largely unchanged. These compounds are beneficial for blood sugar. The by-products add bulk to stool, speed up the passage of fecal matter in the colon, and promote regular bowel movement.
There are strains that release natural antibiotics called bacteriocin. These compounds either directly kill pathogenic microbes present in the gut or suppress protein synthesis necessary for their survival. By so doing, probiotics curtail population growth of harmful bacteria that are often incriminated in the disease activity of ulcerations in the alimentary canal and complications of inflammatory illnesses.
Due to the fact that each strain provides unique benefits to health, it is best to choose a probiotic supplement that contains several strains of friendly bacteria. It is also important to read on the total bacterial count the product promises to deliver. Medical professionals caution the supplementation of probiotics with very high amounts of bacteria as they may disrupt the natural pH in the digestive tract.
Probiotic supplements that require refrigeration are usually not shelf-stable, and thus its quality is likely to get compromised during shipment. There are products that use sustained release technology and formulated to withstand the acidic environment of the stomach. Experts believe that releasing probiotics in the intestines helps as friendly bacteria take up residence in the gut.