|Don's Home Health Probiotics|
70% of your immune function resides in the wall of the intestines? Your immune system is critically dependent upon good bacteria (probiotics) to keep the bowel wall healthy, to produce your B vitamins, folic acid and vitamin K, break down your food, reduce food allergies, fight off yeast and other invaders of the bowel.
A bout with the flu, antibiotic treatments or Traveler's diarrhea (TD) (Dysentery) can destroy or cause a serious imbalance in your gut flora.
The Gut-Brain connection:
Accumulating data now indicate that the gut microbiota also communicates with the CNS (Central Nervous System)--possibly through neural, endocrine and immune pathways--and thereby influences brain function and behaviour.
Types of bacteria:
Lactobacillus gasseri - To support nutrient absorption and lactose digestion
Bifidobacterium bifidum - To help guard against occasional intestinal disturbances
Bifidobacterium longum - To support digestive and immune health. These bacteria help naturally defend against occasional digestive upsets
The amount of the bacterial species in probiotics is measured as colony-forming units, or CFUs. The recommended daily dose of Lactobacillus species or Bifidobacterium species is between 100 million and 35 billion CFUs. For Saccharomyces boulardii, the recommended daily dose is between 250 and 500 mg.
Culturelle claims that Many brands list the number of live cells at time of manufacture, not the number at the time of USE. Many products are also not manufactured or packaged in ways that insure you will receive any live bacteria when you take it.
Because probiotics are considered a food and dietary supplement, not a medicine, the Food and Drug Administration doesn't verify their claims.
A 2010 Consumer Reports survey is worth noting, too. Of respondents who reported using probiotics, 35 percent said that those they used "helped a lot."
Q. What is your advice on Probiotic supplements? :: Healthy Alter Ego
More research is needed before recommended levels are established, but some research suggests 1 billion CFUs of probiotics as a daily minimum for good health.
The Greek yogurts have 10 to 14 grams of protein per serving compared with 3 to 10 grams in the other yogurts and smoothies.) Source: Consumer Reports
One of the best probiotic foods is live-cultured yogurt, especially handmade. Look for brands made from goat milk that has been infused with extra forms of probitoics like lactobacillus or acidophilus. Goat's milk and cheese are particularly high in probiotics like thermophillus, bifudus, bulgaricus and acidophilus.
Some people eat more yogurt for several weeks before travel.
Evidence is mounting that Lactic acid and other substances produced by the cultures may prevent and treat gastrointestinal conditions such as diarrhea. They may also ease other ailments of the intestinal tract, and some researchers now advocate using these beneficial bacteria -- "probiotics" -- as medicine.
Researchers believe that at least some of these native bugs crowd out invading organisms that cause illness, by using resources that the bad bugs need and producing chemicals that kill them. Eat more of the helpful bacteria, the theory goes, and you can stave off stomach problems.
"It seems to work with the body's natural defenses to prevent the overgrowth of a bad bug," says Dr. Sherwood Gorbach, a professor of community health and medicine at Tufts University in Boston.
Yogurt has also been touted as helping to avoid ulsers, cancer, yeast infections, and reduce aging.
Some yogurt is pasteurized after fermentation which kills the bacteria. Look for the "Live and Active Cultures" seal established by the National Yogurt Association. This seal means that the product contains a significant amount of active cultures, to the tune of 100 million cultures per gram of yogurt.
The "Live active culture" seal established by the National Yogurt Association requires  viable lactic acid bacteria per gram at the time of manufacture for refrigerated yogurt and  per gram for frozen yogurts. However, these counts may not accurately reflect probiotic content as they do not differentiate probiotic bacteria from starter culture bacteria such as S. thermophilus. Culture manufacturers recommend including approximately  probiotic bacteria per gram for yogurt and acidophilus milk at the end of shelf-life. (Source: American Dietetic Assn)
In a March 2002 article Consumer Reports says:
"Research suggests that the two bacteria required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in making yogurt--Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus--aren't likely to survive the passage through the gastrointestinal system .Cultures
Cultures including Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are added to milk to create what we call yogurt. Some yogurts advertise the following additional active cultures which are added:
Gorbach discovered Lactobacillus GG, one of the most thoroughly studied probiotics. Research shows it significantly cuts the rate of many types of diarrhea, particularly the type that develops after a person has taken a course of antibiotics.
If you have diarrhea, are about to take antibiotics (which can kill the good bacteria in you digestive tract), or plan to travel to a developing country, advocates say there's no harm in trying probiotics. "I wouldn't hesitate at all," says Gorbach. "There's no downside."
Soy Yogurt or "Cultured Soy"
Soy does have some advantages: It has virtually no saturated fat, it may help lower cholesterol levels, and some brands like Silk and Whole Soy are made from organic soybeans. Whether soy reduces (or raises) the risk of breast cancer and whether it can prevent or tame prostate cancer or menopausal symptoms is still unclear.
Make your Own
You can also get capsules with a variety of probiotic bacteria at healthfood stores and places like Custom Probiotics.
Probiotica, from the makers of Imodium® is a dietary supplement containing Lactobacillus Reuteri, healthful bacteria that resides in the gastrointestinal system. It is a chewable tablet in a box of 60 for around $15.
Sources: Q. What is your advice on Probiotic supplements? :: Healthy Alter Ego Probiotics & Stomach Flu | LIVESTRONG.COM Shop for Probiotics (listentoyourgut.com) "Powerful probiotics" at Medical Post. New York Times Dec. 25, 2001 Bifidus Regularis in Activia Yogurt is One of the Probiotics for Constipation FDA Article USProbiotics.org Soy Yogurt, Stonyfield Farm O'Soy Yogurt Article on Yogurt at Nutrition Action. Acidophilus - The Friendly Bacteria What health effects do live yoghurt drinks have? Top 10 Probiotic Foods to Add to Your Diet | Natural Health & Organic Living Blog Antibiotics, Gut Health Can Affect Behavior, Lead to Depression Oksanen PJ, Salminem S, Saxelin M, Hmlinen P, Ihantola-Vormisto A, Muurasniemi-Isoviita L, et al, Prevention of travellers diarrhoea by Lactobacillus GG. Ann Med 1990;22:53-6.