Bacteria is good for you: probiotics

Good and bad bacteria reside naturally in the small intestines and vagina. When the proportion of good and bad bacteria is unbalanced, certain problems will result.

The good bacteria is referred to as probiotics. A common type of probiotic is Acidophilus. It can be consumed to correct the imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the intestines. Acidophilus can be found in food such as yoghurt and yoghurt drinks, fermented cabbage, Yakult, Vitagen, acidophilus tablets, etc. For imbalance in the vagina, acidophilus has to be inserted in a tablet form or by douching.

According to research and studies, oral consumption of acidophilus is useful for:
- People who are on long term antibiotics (it is recommended to take supplements of acidophilus for a period of time after completing a course of antibiotics.)
- Prevention of childhood eczema
- Reducing irritable bowel syndrome
- Enhancing immunity
- Reducing likelihood of Traveller's Diarrhoea
It is said to be useful also for ulcers, red eyes, fatigue, improving complexion, treating eczema, reducing bad breath and body odour. Do consult a doctor before taking acidophilus or giving it to a child.

It seems acidophilus products are best refrigerated and taken on an empty stomach in the morning. I tried researching on whether acidophilus is more effective when taken in the tablet form or liquid form (in yoghurt products, Yakult, Vitagen, etc) but I have not found results of such studies on the internet (if you know of any, please let me know). The tablets are supposedly made using a process that ensures the survivability of the micro-organisms at room temperature so some tablets do not require refrigeration. Storage conditions and the length of time the product is stored can alter the effectiveness because acidophilus being a living micro-organism can die. I suppose if I follow the instructions or labels on the products and not store them for too long before consumption, it should be ok.

So which should I consume: the tablet or the liquid form? Obviously the tablets are much cheaper than Yakult. If Yakult is cheaper, I won't even be asking this question. Tablets contain usually around 10 billion Lactobacillus per tablet while Yakult contains around 8 billion live and active Lactobacillus casei Shirota cells per bottle (a strain exclusive to Yakult products). I know that more is not necessarily better because what's important is the balance of good and bad bacteria so consuming too much causes an imbalance.

Alternatively, I can eat Kimchi (if it is not pasteurized; such treatment with heat will destroy the friendly bacteria.) But I hate eating Kimchi!



TrainMan said...

good topic!!

my family buy and drink vitagen since i was very definitely make me and brother healthier, cos we are seldom sick and have a stronger stomach.

Yu-Kym said...

it works for me too! i've never gotten Traveller's Diarrhoea :p