Bacteria that’s good for you? Probiotics are beneficial.

Yuliya Klopouh, Pharm.D. health consultations in Pikesville and Reisterstown Maryland on Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria (sometimes referred to as “friendly germs”) that help maintain the health of the intestinal tract and aid in digestion. They also help keep potentially harmful organisms in the gut (harmful bacteria and yeasts) under control.

Probiotics should not be confused with prebiotics. Prebiotics are complex sugars (such as lactulose, lactitol, a variety of fructo-oligosaccharides, and inulin) that are used as fuel by the healthful bacteria to stimulate their growth and activity while suppressing the growth and activity of harmful organisms.

Probiotics are thought to work by colonizing the small intestine and crowding out disease-causing organisms, thereby restoring proper balance to the intestinal flora. They compete with harmful organisms for nutrients and may also produce substances that inhibit growth of harmful organisms in the gut.

Probiotic bacteria have been found to stimulate the body’s immune system. They may also aid in several gastrointestinal illnesses such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Antibiotic Associated Diarrhea (AAD), Clostridium difficile toxin-induced colitis, infectious diarrhea, hepatic encephalopathy, irritable bowel syndrome, and allergies.

Recent research indicates that gut microbiota influences metabolism in humans. Several studies show that antibiotic use in infancy increases body weight in later childhood, due to misbalance of good/bad bacteria in the gut that occurs after the course of antibiotic treatment.

Probiotics are emerging as a potential therapy for metabolic syndrome. Several human studies and multiple animal studies show promise for probiotics in reducing blood glucose levels or improving insulin sensitivity. It is becoming increasingly recognized that gut microbiota (beneficial bacteria in our gut) plays an important part regulating metabolism in humans. Nearly 100 trillion microbes in human gut coevolve with the human body and significantly influence human health. What’s fascinating is that “manipulation” of gut microbiota through the administration of prebiotics and probiotics could reduce intestinal low grade inflammation and improve gut barrier integrity, thus, ameliorating metabolic balance and promoting weight loss.


Posted on: January 11, 2016, by : Dr. Yuliya Klopouh