Probiotics – The Antibiotic Alternative
A probiotic is a microorganism that contributes to the health and balance of the intestinal tract. They are sometimes known as “friendly or beneficial bacteria.” When antibiotics are ingested they kill the bad and good [beneficial/friendly] bacteria as well. Replacing the probiotics in intestinal system helps to maintain a healthy intestinal tract which was designed to help fight illness such as flu and also diseases.
Probiotic mechanisms of action and effects are now studied using the same pharmacological approach as for drugs. The clinical situations studied include prevention or treatment of antibiotic-associated disorders, gastroenteritis, and diarrhea, lactose intolerance, intestinal infections and colonization by pathogenic bacteria (including Helicobacter pylori and Clostridium difficile), traveler’s diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), colonic cancer, urogenital infections and tumors, allergy (especially atopic eczema), vaccination, and cholesterol lowering.
The most frequently used probiotic genera are Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. The potential mechanisms of their action include competitive bacterial interactions, production of antimicrobial metabolites, mucosal conditioning, and immune modulation. The emerging use of probiotics in several gastrointestinal disorders (eg, inflammatory bowel disease) has led to increased interest in their use in patients with IBS.
Probiotics have an excellent safety record. Read www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov for more details