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Is helping to ensure a healthy digestive system the only use for probiotics?

old message Is helping to ensure a healthy digestive system the only use for probiotics? Darrell Miller 10/25/05


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Date: October 25, 2005 07:10 PM
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Subject: Is helping to ensure a healthy digestive system the only use for probiotics?

A. Absolutely not! Probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, have been found to help prevent vaginal yeast infections in women that suffer from these reoccurring infections.

Approximately 35% of vaginal infections are caused by the yeast, Candida albicans. Candida is a fungus that is a component of the normal gastrointestinal microflora. However, Candida must not be allowed to increase in numbers. An overgrowth is associated with adverse health effects like vaginal infections, oral thrush, or even serious systemic yeast infections. Probiotics have been shown to keep levels of Candida in check.

Probiotic bacteria have also been demonstrated to have anti-cancer properties. In a clinical study, colon cancer patients given Lactobacillus acidophilus fermented milk showed a significant increase in numbers of intestinal Lactobacilli and a decrease in risk factors associated with colon cancer.

Patients suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative soitis and Crohn’s disease can benefit from probiotic bacteria supplementation. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria assist in maintaining remission in ulcerative colitis and preventing reoccurrence of Crohn’s disease. Manipulating the intestinal flora may prove to be more effective and better tolerated than the drugs that are conventionally given to treat these diseases. In one study, Lactobacillus acidophilus was found to improve the intestinal barrier and clinical status in children suffering from Crohn’s disease.

Probiotics supplementation can also improve and prevent skin diseases, such as eczema. Studies have shown that probiotic bacteria can actually control inflammation associated with skin conditions. In one study, infants with eczema who were given probiotic-supplemented formulas showed a significant improvement in skin condition.

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