Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Probiotics good for gut !!
BACTERIA generally get bad press. After all, aren’t they the cause of many diseases? But like most things in life, bacteria can be divided into the good and the bad. As a matter of fact, did you know that the number of bacterial cells in our body outnumber our cells by about 10 to one?
Most of these bacteria are obviously not harmful to us, and indeed, some actually help our body to function better.
One example of this would be the bacteria in our digestive system, which forms the largest bacterial community within our body.
These microorganisms help our body to resist invasion by other foreign, potentially harmful microorganisms, regulate the immune system, and perform metabolic activities, among others. And it is these functions that are the basis behind probiotics.
Probiotics, as defined by the World Health Organisation, are “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”.
After all, if some bacteria are good for our body, wouldn’t more of the same be better?
“When we think of the immune system, one of the major systems is the gut. Many immune defences are in the gut. And they are doing this together with the bacteria in the gut,” he told reporters at a group interview. Probiotics, he said, have different effects on the immune system.
“In some cases when the immune system is low, probiotics can help boost it. In some cases, the immune system is too high and overreacting.
“In these cases, we can use probiotics to suppress the immune system – for example, in the case of allergies.
“So, in this way, we can use probiotics to maintain the balance of the immune system,” he said.
According to Dr Lahtinen, our gut bacteria (and also the bacteria in probiotics) does this through a combination of various mechanisms that are still being researched.
“The bacteria can stop pathogens (disease-causing microorganisms) from attaching to the gut wall because they are already attached there.
“They also trigger production of anti-bacterial defence cells from the body’s immune system,” he said, explaining that the presence of these non-harmful bacteria puts the immune system on “alert”, but does not trigger the full-on defence system of the body.
Above article is partially extracted from the star online dated 21 Nov 2010
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