Kristi Lopez

By

College: Pharmacy

Understanding Probiotics and Who May Benefit from Taking Them

Published: Apr 7, 2014

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 7, 2014) -- From yogurts to powders and capsules, probiotic supplements have become an increasingly popular product advertised to boost your immune system and improve digestive health. But with all supplements and over-the-counter products, caution and care should be taken before adding probiotics to your daily routine.

 

Probiotics are living microscopic organisms or bacteria, found naturally in the human body. Probiotic supplements are made to be similar to the microorganisms that are referred to as the “good bacteria"  found in the gut.

 

Although more strong scientific evidence to support specific uses of probiotics for most conditions is still needed, some studies suggest that probiotics may be helpful in:

·         boosting your immune system by enhancing the production of antibodies to certain vaccines;

·         producing substances that prevent infection and control inflammation;

·         preventing harmful bacteria from attaching to the gut lining and growing;

·         and aid in strengthening the mucus in your intestine and help it act as a barrier against infection.

 

Some of the most common digestive issues where probiotics may be beneficial include:

 

·         Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)  -- Bifidobacterium infantis, Sacchromyces boulardii, Lactobacillus plantarum and combination probiotics may help regulate how often people with IBS have bowel movements and may help relieve bloating from gas.

 

·         Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) - Some studies suggest that probiotics may help reduce inflammation and delay the next bout of disease.  E. coli Nissle, and a mixture of several strains of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Streptococcus may be most beneficial.

 

·         Infectious diarrhea -- Saccharomyces boulardii and Lactobacillus may help shorten the duration of infectious diarrhea. 

 

·         Antibiotic–related diarrhea such as Clostridium difficile (C. diff )- There is evidence that taking probiotics when you first start taking an antibiotic may help prevent antibiotic –related diarrhea. Saccharomyces boulardii and Lactobacillus may also help treat C. diff and prevent it from reoccurring.

 

Other potential uses for probiotics include maintaining a healthy mouth, preventing and treating certain skin conditions like eczema.

 

Although probiotics appear safe for most people, you should talk to your physician before adding them to your diet and make sure your pharmacist is aware that you are taking them if you take other prescribed or over-the-counter medications. Studies suggest that probiotics usually have few side effects. However, data on safety, particularly long-term safety, are limited, and the risk of serious side effects may be greater in people who have underlying health conditions.

 

In addition, probiotics are considered dietary supplements and therefore the health benefits claimed by manufacturers of probiotics are not FDA regulated or FDA approved. This means they are not standardized, and are made in different ways by different companies with different additives and reading the label is very important.   

 

Aimee Adams, Pharm.D., is a UK HealthCare clinical pharmacist

 

This column appeared in the April 6, 2014 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader

adams_aimee__1.jpg
December
 
1
Resumes and Cover Letters
Circle of Love Gift Return
Mon
2
UK Guitar Studio
Circle of Love Gift Return
Tue
3
Networking and Job Search
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Wayne's World
Study Sounds: Classical Concert
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Frozen
Ballet Music of Tchaikovsky
Circle of Love Gift Pick-Up
Live Screening of Orion Spacecraft Re-entry
Massage on the Go
Thu
5
LNFS Presents: Winter's Bone
LNFS Presents: Gremlins
Open Studio
Circle of Love Gift Pick-Up
Fri
6
Snow Skiing @ Perfect North Slopes
Sat
7
Free Holiday Shopping Shuttle to Fayette Mall
Sun
8
Undergraduate Research Information Session "How to Find a Faculty Mentor"
Mon
9
Job Club - Identifying Your Skills
Paws for Stress Relief
Tue
10
 
Wed
11
 
Thu
12
Last Day of Classes
Fri
13
 
Sat
14
Free Holiday Shopping Shuttle to Fayette Mall
Finals Treats
Sun
15
Final Exams
Crunch Brunch
Mon
16
Final Exams
Jazzy Holiday Concert
Tue
17
Final Exams
Caregiver Support Group
Wed
18
Final Exams
Thu
19
Final Exams
End of 2014 Fall Semester
Fri
20
 
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
 
Mon
23
 
Tue
24
 
Wed
25
 
Thu
26
 
Fri
27
 
Sat
28
 
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
 
Tue
31
 
Wed
 
 
 
Jan 14
Bicycle Trivia 01/14/2015

Wed, 01/14/2015

Fri, 01/16/2015

Wed, 01/21/2015

Reset Page