Lactic acid bacteria and other live micro organisms that provide health benefits are known as probiotics. They are a natural part of the bacterial strain in the human intestine. They promote intestinal balance and strengthen the immune system.
Probiotics Bacterial balance is important for a healthy intestine. Increasing the amount of probiotics in the diet promotes intestinal health.
“The intestine contains completely harmless bacteria, pathogens that cause diseases and bacteria that provide health benefits. The balance between these different strains of bacteria is what matters for health. Disturbed bacterial balance may cause diarrhoea for example," says Specialist in paediatrics and paediatric allergology Mika Mäkelä. He is a docent at the HUCH Skin and Allergy Hospital.
He reminds that probiotics have other health benefits, too. This is due to the influence of the intestine on our immune system. The best known probiotics include Lactobacillus r. GG and Bifidobacterium lactis or Bb12.
Many people find probiotics helpful if they get travellers’ diarrhoea or when antibiotics upset their stomach. In both cases, the natural bacterial balance of the stomach is disturbed. A dose of probiotics helps recover the balance.
You should start taking the probiotics before you travel. Take some products with you, but make sure they can be stored in room temperature. This way the products don’t lose their effectiveness, and you do not have to worry about storing them properly.
Different bacteria for
Probiotics have many other uses apart from treating diarrhoea or other stomach problems. It is a good idea to introduce probiotics in your daily diet, because they support your immune system. They also help calm down sensitive stomachs.
Children in particular benefit from probiotics, because probiotics help ward off infections. The immune systems of children who take probiotics regularly seem to strengthen even during the winter season when there are a lot of diseases circulating.
Each bacterial strain has a specific area where it promotes health. According to research results, the widest scope of health benefits come from the already mentioned Lactobacillus r. GG and Bb12 bacteria.
“The national Current Care treatment recommendations for food allergies mention five bacterial strains for which health benefits are recorded at a reasonable level,” docent Mäkelä says.
Ask your pharmacist for more information about the benefits of each probiotic. Orion offers several probiotic products, each of which contains at least one bacterial strain.
Use of pharmacy products
ensures correct dosage
To gain the full health benefits, the daily dose of probiotics needs to be large enough. In case of Lactobacillus r. GG, for example, the daily dose has to be at least three to five billion bacterium.
Many foods contain probiotics, and it is a good idea to introduce them in the diet. However, it can be difficult to get sufficient amount of probiotics from food alone.
Pharmacies sell probiotics in different forms. Capsules are easy to take, and each capsule contains the same amount of bacteria. One or two capsules a day ensure that you get the amount of bacteria you need.
Even though probiotics are beneficial to health, you should not go overboard with how much you consume. Doses that are too large may cause stomach problems.
Text Hasse Härkönen | Photos iStockphoto and Mauri Helenius