All About Probiotics
The World Of Probiotics
Microorganisms or microbes are tiny microscopic living organisms that exist as unicellular, multi-cellular or as a cell cluster. While we are surrounded by microorganisms, bacteria forms the majority of microorganisms that live on and in us.
Did you know that you have more bacteria in your body than you have human cells? These can be broken down further into Genus, Species & Strains.
While the first two are common, bacterial strains are unique, and among the numerous bacteria in the body, the most common ones belong to the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium family.
Gut – The Microbiome Classroom
Before we delve into the world of probiotics, let us first understand the role bacteria plays in the human body. Our bodies are host to both good bacteria and bad bacteria (also known as the commensal bacteria)
Good bacteria breaks down indigestible compounds, defends the body against invading germs (pathogens), and contributes to the development of the immune system. However, it is impossible for you to have 100% beneficial bacteria in your body. With over 90% of your microbes and 70% of your immune system residing in your gut, the gut becomes the classroom where immune education takes place.
As long as the good bacteria far outweigh the bad bacteria in number, the immune system is able to tolerate the bad bacteria and is said to be in the Eubiotic state. In the Eubiotic condition, good bacteria is 85% or more. However, due to excessive antibiotic use, the ingestion of toxic substances around you or poor lifestyle choices, the number of good bacteria, particularly in the gut, gets destroyed. This leads to an imbalance (referred to as dysbiosis), and consequently, a weakened immune system.
When pathogens attack the body, it causes systemic or localised inflammation that manifests as a disease condition. Unfortunately, many conventional treatment options focus on managing the symptoms. Instead, when the area of bacterial imbalance (or site) is identified, and the right probiotic (good bacteria) is administered, they target the problem area, flood it and restore the balance.
Instead, the site of microbial dysbiosis can be identified and one can be administered with the right disease-specific probiotic to restore the microbial balance and address the root cause of the disease condition.
In the last decade, there has been substantial scientific research across the world in the field of probiotics. Subsequent clinical trials have established that probiotics have succeeded in treating ailments where most conventional treatments have failed. We are now in the probiotic era!
Probiotics are being recommended by health care practitioners for a host of benefits – immune enhancement, gut health, allergy, urogential health, skin care or oral health.
There is ongoing research in the areas of weight loss, diabetes, autism and as an adjuvants in chemotherapy. It has been established that probiotics do not enter the blood stream, and generally found to be safe for people of all ages including infants, pregnant women and the elderly.
Down To The Strain
Bacteria is specified at 3 levels – Genus, Species and Strain. While genus and species are common, strains are unique. However, in order for probiotics to have the desired effect, it is essential that the probiotics include the right strains which are capable of targeting the site and desease condition. This in turn will confer a health benefit to the host.
Velbiom specialises in multi-species, strain specific, site specific and disease specific probiotics, backed by clinical research.
The strains that we offer in our probiotic range:
Gut related skin conditions
The Role Of Prebiotics
Prebiotics are soluble, non digestible fibre which serves as the food for gut microbes and in turn ensures good colon health. Prebiotics and probiotics work together to ensure there is a healthy colony of bacteria in the body. Recent research has also shown that prebiotics can kick start the growth of the native gut bacteria and restore intestinal health.
Probiotics and Its Applications
Research done around the world have identified the following conditions where probiotics have been found to be useful. Consult a doctor for more details.
Multiple Origin Diarrhea
Diarrhea, a condition causing loose or watery stools can arise from multiple sources like bacterial diarrhea, acute viral diarrhea, antibiotic-induced diarrhea, travelers’ diarrhea, lactose intolerance induced diarrhea, etc.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a highly prevalent functional gastrointestinal disorder that mainly affects the large intestine causing abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. It is a chronic condition often leading to anxiety or depression due to poor quality of life, thus calling for long term therapy.
Inflammatory bowel disease
IBD is a term used for two conditions i.e., Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis that are characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Most common symptoms include persistent diarrhea, blood in the stool, abdominal pain, fatigue, weight loss, etc. Prolonged inflammation results in damage to the GI tract.
Women health and Pregnancy
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is described as an infection of the vagina that results from a change in the normal balance of bacteria. BV can cause symptoms like vaginal discharge, itching, unpleasant odour and a burning sensation.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an acute, bacterial infection of the urinary tract accompanied by pelvic pain, burning sensation while urinating, fever, etc. Recurrent UTIs (rUTIs) can be defined as at least three episodes of UTI in 1 year or two episodes in 6 months.
Vulvovaginal candidiasis is a term used to describe vaginal and vulvar tissue infection caused by an overgrowth of yeast. This condition can cause inflammation, intense itchiness, irritation and a thick, white discharge from the vagina.
Preceding IVF Treatment
Compelling evidence shows decreased conception rates and increased rate of early pregnancy loss following IVF-embryo transfer in patients with vaginal infections. Probiotics restore the healthy vaginal flora, prevent ascending infections, improve vaginal mucosal immunity and thus help to increase success rates of conception by IVF procedures.
Probiotics ensure continued immunity for the mother-to-be during pregnancy to ward of any unwanted infections and need for antibiotics that may not be safe. A good maternal microbiome ensures proper seeding and feeding of good microbes to the baby. This helps in maintaining good infant and child health.
Skin conditions and Allergy
Atopic Dermatitis / Eczema
Atopic dermatitis (AD), is a chronic, recurrent inflammatory skin disease, commonly having a childhood-onset and characterized by itchy, red, swollen, and cracked skin. It is common in children but can occur at any age. Atopic dermatitis usually develops in early childhood and is more common in people who have a family history of the condition.
Urticaria, often referred to as hives, is a common skin disorder that arises due to allergic and nonallergic reactions to internal and external agents. It is characterized by wheals, rashes, itchy welts accompanied by a burning sensation that can be debilitating for patients as it can last for years in some and reduces the quality of life for many.
Allergic rhinitis refers to inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose caused by an allergic response to specific allergens. It often causes sneezing, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes.
Lactose Intolerance is the inability to digest a sugar molecule called lactose, which is commonly found in milk and other dairy products. Consumption of lactose containing products can result in abdominal cramps, bloating and diarrhoea.
Child and Oral health
Infantile colic is described as frequent, prolonged episodes of crying in healthy infants. It is traditionally defined by Wessel’s criteria of crying or fussing more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for three weeks.
AnswerDental caries, also known as cavities or tooth decay, is discoloration and damage of the teeth structure caused mainly due to bacteria. Untreated cavities can cause toothache, infection, and tooth loss.
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums or gingiva. It commonly occurs due to bacterial plaque formation leading to red, swollen gums. Gingivitis, if left untreated, can progress to periodontitis.
Periodontitis is a serious bacterial infection affecting the soft tissues (gum) and the bone structures supporting the teeth. The gums recede from the teeth and small pockets form between the gums and teeth that harbour harmful bacteria. It can cause pain, bad breath, and eventual tooth loss.
Halitosis, commonly referred to as bad breath is characterized by an unpleasant odour emanating from a person’s mouth. The accumulation of odor-causing bacteria in the oral cavity is the most common cause of halitosis.
A sore throat is described as a painful, dry, or itchy feeling in the throat that often worsens when one swallows. Sore throats are a common symptom caused by viral or bacterial infections.
Immunity and Bone health
Here the probiotic is indicated for use to regulate the immune system with the help of microbial strains (Immunobiotics) for effective functioning of the immune system.
Osteoporosis means porous bones, a bone disease in which the density and quality of bone are reduced. As a result, bones become weak, and the risk of fracture is greatly increased.