Probiotics have made their way into the Indian market and their demand is increasing very rapidly. They are live microorganisms, which, when ingested, confer health benefits upon the individual. Lactic acid bacilli and bifidobacteria are the most common strains available as probiotics. But sometimes, certain forms of yeast and bacilli are also useful.
There are two types of bacteria, the bad ones that are known as pathogens, which are mainly responsible for various infections; and the good ones, also known as friendly bacteria, because they are useful in various functions like nutrient absorption, vitamin synthesis, and elimination of waste.
The good bacteria form the natural intestinal flora and prevent the pathogens from growing and multiplying in the intestines, thus preventing their dangerous outcomes. Various factors like illness, antibiotics, aging, and the chemicals present in drinking water, can alter our bowel flora, thereby decreasing their effectiveness.
This is where probiotics come into the picture to save your gut. Probiotics are found in the market as yogurt, meso, tempeh, certain juices, and soy beverages. In these food supplements, healthy bacteria are present naturally or are added during the manufacturing process. Probiotics are also sold as capsules, powders, and tablets.
Several research studies and clinical trials are being conducted in this area. These studies have found that probiotics stimulate the immune system, help in the treatment of infectious diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach and respiratory infections in children, tooth decay, and even skin infections.
Apart from a few cases that complained of gas and abdominal bloating, no side-effects have been recorded. Probiotics may prove to be harmful in patients suffering from pancreatic infections or certain underlying diseases. The effects of one species or strain of bacteria may vary from person to person. So, if there is a health issue that crops up after probiotic consumption, one should immediately consult a doctor.