There are food and food supplements that contain probiotic bacteria. These include dietary supplements, pharmaceutical products, medical foods, infant formula, fermented foods like fresh yogurt, fermented milk, aged cheese, kimchi, craft beer, miso, fermented vegetables, sauerkraut pickles, and sourdough bread.

According to World Health Organization, probiotics are seen to confer a health benefit to the host when taken in adequate quantities. They help maintain a healthy balance in the gut microbiota and help build the body’s immune system. (The Good Gut – Justin and Erica Sonnenburg, 2015)

Gut microbiota balance is affected by poor diet, infections, antibiotic treatments, and other external factors. To restore balance, physicians regularly prescribe supplements containing live probiotic bacteria.

Probiotics have been found to trigger the immune system and devour tumor cells (Perdigon et al., 1995; Gourbeyre et al., 2011). The protective role of probiotics indigestion is now well established. A meta-analysis of 74 studies, 84 trials, and 10351 patients showed that probiotics are beneficial adjuncts in treating and preventing gastrointestinal diseases (Ritchie et al., 2012).

Probiotics are beneficial in acute diarrhea in children caused by pathogens like Salmonella and rotavirus. Those who travel internationally do often become victim to what is popularly called the travelers’ diarrhea. Probiotics help provide relief in such cases (Hilton et al., 1997). Most studies have been conducted with probiotics in non-food form.

Additional reading:

Nutrition Facts; a guide to good health

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