PROBIOTICS ESSENTIAL FOR HEALTHY SENIOR LIVINGMay 27th, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness
The Science of Probiotics
We seniors hear and read a lot about probiotics these days. The nurse-practitioner at the doctor’s office recently told us to start taking probiotics, and continue for the rest of our lives. She also encouraged us not to get them at the local drug stores or big-box stores; rather we need to get really quality probiotics that you can find at good health food stores.
So we took a look at them and at what probiotics really are. Wikipedia says they are, “…live microorganisms thought to be beneficial to the host organism. According to the currently adopted definition by FAO/WHO, probiotics are: ‘Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’”. (Wikipedia; Probiotics) The microorganisms are things like lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria. (Wikipedia) They are found in yogurt and supplements identified as Probiotic.
The science of Probiotics is this: The gut contains good microorganisms (bacteria) and bad. When the bad ones overtake the good, or the good ones die off because we’ve been on something like antibiotics that kill the good bacteria, we can have problems in the gut that result in things like diarrhea and abdominal pain. We’ve known for about a century now that Probiotics help nurture good gut bacteria, and are essential for good health.
New Probiotics Research
Some new research recently published from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) discovered mice who were fed yogurt were slimmer, had shinier fur, more fertile and sexually healthy and generally exhibited better behavior. The entire research project is reported here, and many of our viewers may find it interesting reading. The researchers believe the Probiotics in yogurt is responsible for the improved health in the mice.
Another report in Reuters suggested that patients who were taking antibiotics were less likely to get diarrhea if they were also taking a Probiotic. Probiotics and yogurt contain the same kinds of good bacteria which help balance good and bad bacteria in the intestines.
Keep your eyes open for new ongoing research about Probiotics, Seniors. Studies about their effectiveness are continuing, and will probably have a lot to tell us about maintaining good senior health.