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Dysbiosis is an imbalance between the beneficial “good” and pathogenic “bad” bacteria in the gut. In a normal, healthy gut, the beneficial bacteria should outnumber the pathogenic at a ratio of about 85:15. With that in mind, consumers are increasingly learning about the benefits of probiotic supplements and enhanced foods that contain advantageous microorganisms – microorganisms that can promote a healthier well-being. However, probiotic supplementation is not a one-size-fits-all approach, as consumers of different age groups may require specific blends of bacterial strains in order to achieve maximum benefit. It’s important for both consumers and suppliers to understand how probiotics support the health of children, adults, and seniors.
A child’s microbiome, an ecological community of microorganisms, develops in the womb and sets during early childhood. These good bacteria aid in food digestion and vitamin synthesis. With many parents’ efforts to sterilize their children’s environments, our society may have gone too far. “We’ve been in this crazed, antibacterial, antiseptic world where we think bacteria are the enemy, but the right bacteria are our friends,” said Dr. Vincent Pedre, an internist who specializes in gut health, in a recent piece in The Washington Times. According to a study in Pediatrics, the probiotic group Lactobacillus was found to be safe and effective in treating infectious diarrhea in children, and a study published in Pediatrics in 2007 found colicky infants who were given Lactobacillus improved in one week. In addition to potentially helping with specific health issues, probiotic supplements may help in the formation of a more balanced microbiome in children.
For adults, clinical trials suggest probiotic therapy could prove beneficial to the gastrointestinal system, where many individuals experience afflictions and maladies. Disorders relating to this part of the body are numerous and difficult to treat, which is why more and more adults are turning to probiotics for their natural health promoting properties. Allergy sufferers should also take note: a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found allergy sufferers who took a supplement of a probiotic called B. lactis once a day for eight weeks felt better two months later compared to those who didn’t. The people on probiotics also had lower levels of pro-inflammatory markers.
In adult women, probiotics may support urogenital health. Lactobacilli strains of bacteria make it too acidic for harmful microorganisms to survive within the vagina. But antibiotics, spermicides, and birth control pills can cause an unbalance in a woman’s microbiome. Restoring the balance of microflora with probiotic treatments can be helpful in promoting a woman’s urology, according to Harvard Health.
Adults 50 years and older commonly have immune systems that are not as effective as they were during their physical prime. The composition and population of probiotic microorganisms within the digestive tract decline with age, with some studies showing friendly bacteria levels in the gut of a typical over 60-year-old at one thousandth the level of that of a younger adult. Older adults should reach for a probiotic supplement with the Bifidobacterium strain B. lactis, which can help in digestion. The strain B. infantis has shown benefits in easing inflammation.
As always, all individuals and parents should consult with their medical professional for guidance on how and when to use any sort of supplementation.
To maximize the effectiveness of probiotics, supplement products should be formulated with strains for individuals at different life stages. Deerland Probiotics & Enzymes & Probiotics is a leading specialty formulator and contract manufacturer of enzyme- and probiotic-based dietary supplements. To learn more about our products, visit DeerlandEnzymes.com.
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Digestible is your go-to resource for learning about enzymes, probiotics and their impact on digestive health. Keep up with the latest trends in dietary supplements, learn why gut health is critical to overall wellness and immunity, and the science behind it all.