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Maybe it was the invitation I received to a coming symposium, “Gut Microbiota, Probiotics and Their Impact Throughout the Lifespan,”convened by Dr. To be sure, lay and scientific literature are filled with probiotic promise, and I am hardly the only consumer who has opted to hedge her bets. In the early 1900s, the Nobel Prize winner Elie Metchnikoff found that certain “healthy bacteria,” like those that produce lactic acid, can have a positive effect on digestion and the immune system.
To better understand the current enthusiasm for enhancing the body’s supply of these micro-organisms, some definitions are needed. At least a dozen studies, most of them in infants or children, have found that probiotics can prevent or treat diarrhea.
In an extensive review of the evidence published in 2010 in the journal Pediatrics, an expert committee concluded that probiotics might limit the course of virus-caused diarrhea in otherwise healthy infants and children. Only a small percentage of probiotic foods and supplements have the backing of peer-reviewed published research. The challenge in taking probiotics is to get the microbes past the stomach, where most are killed by gastric acid, said Robert Dunn, a biologist at North Carolina State University. There is growing evidence for the role of the appendix in restoring a healthful balance of microbes in the body. But a growing number of doctors sees hope in something available: the helpful bacteria known as probiotics, long trumpeted in yogurt, unpasteurized sauerkraut and fermented cheese. Rob Knight is a pioneer in studying human microbes, the community of tiny single-cell organisms living inside our bodies that have a huge — and largely unexplored — role in our health. That's the community of trillions of bacteria that inhabit our gut, mouth, lungs, nasal passages, skin, and brain. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that leads to abdominal pain and cramping, changes in bowel movements, and other symptoms.
IBS is not the same as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
The main symptoms of IBS are abdominal pain, fullness, gas, and bloating that have been present for at least 3 days a month for the last 3 months. People with IBS may switch between constipation and diarrhea, or mostly have one or the other. Those with constipation will have a hard time passing stool, as well as fewer bowel movements.
For some people, the symptoms may get worse for a few weeks or a month, and then decrease for a while. Most of the time, your doctor can diagnose IBS based on your symptoms, with few or no tests. IBS does not cause permanent harm to the intestines, and it does not lead to a serious disease, such as cancer. Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or if you notice a change in your bowel habits that does not go away. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.


Like all over-the-counter dietary supplements, probiotics undergo no premarket screening for safety, effectiveness or even truth in packaging.
Perhaps it was to stimulate a sluggish gut or to counter lactose intolerance or, as some enthusiasts have suggested, to enhance a healthy old age. The global market for probiotic supplements and foods is expected to reach $32.6 billion this year, with a projected annual growth of 20 percent or more. Beneficial micro-organisms have since been shown to inhabit three main locations in the digestive tract: the stomach, the lower part of the small intestine and the large intestine.
They are found naturally in oats, wheat, some fruits and vegetables (bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, soybeans, honey and artichokes), and in breast milk, and they are added to some infant formulas.
They are found in so-called functional foods like yogurt and kefir, fermented foods like pickles and some cheeses, and in some supplements. Walker has explained that probiotics enhance defensive action by the cells that line the gut. For example, among 119 children taking antibiotics for respiratory infections, those given the probiotic Lactobacillus GG had a 70 percent reduction in diarrheal symptoms, compared with those given a placebo. But the committee said there was not sufficient evidence to justify routine use of probiotics to prevent rotavirus-caused diarrhea in child care centers. They include Dannon’s Activia yogurt and DanActive drink and the supplementsCulturelle and Align.
Dunn, author of “The Wild Life of Our Bodies,” says there is good reason to remain skeptical of probiotics.
Though long considered an expendable, vestigial organ, the appendix is now being looked at as “a storehouse of good bacteria,” Dr.
If the visitors are easy to get along with and especially helpful — they take out the trash, do the dishes, rake the yard and so on — it’s wise to feed them very well so they stay as long as possible. According to Global Industry Analysts, the probiotics market is expected to exceed $29 billion by 2015 and expected to rise 7 percent a year over the next five years. They're not always bad news, and in fact, our health depends on having a thriving collection of microbes.
If your urine is clear that only means you are drinking enough water. If urine is dark, it probably means you are dehydrated.
Although we’ve been aware of these bacteria for a while, until now we didn’t realize what a crucial role they play in just about every aspect of our health. This approach to food supposedly re-creates the way our ancestors ate during the Paleolithic period, before the invention of agriculture.
If the visitors are easy to get along with and especially helpful — they take out the trash, do the dishes, rake the yard and so on — it’s wise to feed them well so they stay as long as possible. They will often have an urgent need to have a bowel movement, which may be hard to control. Eating a lactose-free diet for 2 weeks may help the doctor check for a possible lactase deficiency. For example, regular exercise and improved sleep habits may reduce anxiety and help relieve bowel symptoms.


However, no specific diet can be recommended for IBS, because the condition differs from one person to another.
For some people, symptoms are disabling and reduce the ability to work, travel, and attend social events.
Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and George F. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.
Can there really be 20 billion micro-organisms (“guaranteed at the time of manufacture”) in those dry capsules that will spring into action in my digestive tract?
Japan, where a woman’s life expectancy far exceeds ours, accounts for half the world’s consumption of probiotics.
When a person takes antibiotics, especially the broad-spectrum antibiotics most often prescribed, many of these beneficial microbes are destroyed along with the disease-causing bacteria. Nor did the committee endorse taking probiotics during pregnancy and nursing or giving them to infants to prevent allergic disorders in those at risk. Although kefir contains even more probiotic strains than yogurt, clinical studies have not shown it to be effective in preventing or treating infectious diarrhea.
They go about their lives unnoticed, but they are doing important work keeping our digestive system healthy and, in turn, protecting the whole body. Others populate the inside of your mouth (some of them forming tooth-destroying plaque, and others that are harmless or beneficial). Although there are many different incarnations of Paleo, they all agree on one thing: Human genes evolved when our ancestors were still hunters and gatherers. It is the most common intestinal problem that causes patients to be referred to a bowel specialist (gastroenterologist).
Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California.
Patients on antibiotics are often told to consume yogurt with active cultures to replenish the beneficial organisms.
In a study of recovery rates from Clostridium difficile, which causes a severe form of infectious diarrhea, often following antibiotic therapy, patients whose appendixes had been removed were more likely to have a recurrent infection than those who still had appendixes. Therefore, according to the Paleo perspective, our genes have simply not had time to catch up to a diet of grains and legumes.
The nerves can become more active during stress, causing the intestines to be more sensitive and squeeze (contract) more. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites.
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