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Transcript of Probiotics
By Shruti Goradia
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, which may have health benefits when taken in sufficient quantities.
They were first identified by Russian Scientist, Eli Metchnikoff
"The dependence of intestinal microbes on the food makes it possible to adopt measures to modify the flora in our bodies and replace harmful microbes by useful ones"
Tissier observed that children with diarrhea had a low number of bacteria whereas healthy children had an abundance. He suggested that these bacteria could be administered to restore a healthy gut.
is found naturally in the human digestive tract.
It is also used in the production of dairy products by helping with the process of fermentation
In a healthy gut, there is a balance between good and bad bacteria.
Lifestyle and environmental factors may cause an imbalance and may lead to bloating, gas and constipation.
are indigestible carbohydrates which act as nourishment for probiotics to grow and multiply.
increase the number of good bacteria in the gut, directly impact the cell lining of the intestine and switch of inflammatory processes.
Probiotics are found in most dairy products and in tablet, capsule or powder form.
The main strains of bacteria used are
Some health claims include:
Preventing Constipation and Diarrhea
Reducing the risk of Atopic Disease, especially in children
Reducing the risk of certain cancer.
Probiotics cause no harm to its user and have been known to help aid digestion, so why not use them?
A Cochrane review of 63 studies examining the use of probiotics for treating acute diarrhea showed that probiotics shortened the duration of diarrhea by around 25 hours and also reduced the severity.
Further research still needs to be conducted regarding specific probiotics and their effectiveness to certain groups of people and the cost effectiveness of probiotic treatments.
Studies have also been completed on probiotics in the primary prevention of atopic diseases, such as eczema, rhinitis and asthma.
The results indicate that the consumption of probiotics were effective in preventing atopic diseases.
The efficacy of probiotics in cancer prevention stems from the knowledge that microflora in the gut produce carcinogens, any substance or exposure that can lead to cancer. Therefore, since probiotics modify the flora in the gut, they could have potential to modify carcinogen levels.
The WHO warns that further studies need to completed on this subject.
In the near future, it is suggested by several reputable organizations that the use of probiotics and their effectiveness is fully researched.
*Graph and Table from
The placebo effect is when something with no known beneficial value helps make people feel better
The strength of the placebo effect can be altered by factors such as whether it is a capsule, tablet or a powder or the colour and shape of these.
A double Blind experiment is an experiment where both the experimenter and the test subjects don't know about the critical aspects of the experiment