The Health Effects of Probiotics on the Human Body

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6 February 2023
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Probiotics are a type of active microorganisms that play a role by improving the balance of the host’s intestinal microflora. They can produce definite health effects to improve the host’s microecological balance and play a beneficial role. In 2001, the World Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) also defined probiotics as follows: Live bacteria that can play an effective role in the health of consumers by ingesting an appropriate amount. Bacteria or fungi in humans and animals mainly include: Clostridium butyricum, Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Actinomycetes, Yeasts, etc.

The intestinal flora is the largest pool of human bacteria and the largest micro-ecosystem. There are about 1,000 kinds of bacteria in the intestine, 100 trillion bacteria, 10 times the total number of human cells, including bacteria, fungi, archaea, and native animals and plants (even viruses) and many other types of microorganisms. The intestinal flora is inseparable from the human body and is a unity of symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationships, and is also called the “second genome” of humans. The total weight of bacteria in the intestines can reach 1-1.5 kg, and more than 50% of the weight of feces excreted by the human body every day is composed of bacteria.

In the past two decades, due to the improvement of sequencing technology, scientists have paid more and more attention to the research of intestinal flora. It is found that probiotics can help digestion and absorption, promote the balance of intestinal flora, and maintain human health. A lot of evidence shows that different people have different composition of intestinal flora. Diet, drugs, and environmental factors can all affect the composition of an individual’s intestinal flora. The health effects of probiotics on the human body are not limited to the intestines, but also have broader effects, such as immune balance regulation, and also affect organs such as the brain and liver. Disturbance of intestinal flora is related to many chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, depression and so on.

In recent years, scientists have conducted a lot of research on the usefulness of intestinal flora to humans, revealing how intestinal microbes can help improve the host’s body health and help prevent diseases. Researchers have discovered that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), an important member of probiotics, can help treat intestinal problems and respiratory infections. They also found that the bacteria can help lose weight. So can LGG really bring benefits to mankind?

Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine published the latest research results in the journal mBio and found that LGG can play a role as a promoter to modify the activity of other intestinal bacteria. The study tested 12 subjects. Participants took LGG twice a day for 28 consecutive days to analyze the intestinal flora before and after the treatment. It was found that the intake of LGG can increase the expression of many genes, thereby promoting the growth of other intestinal flora, including Bacteroides, Bifidobacterium and other flora. These flora are considered to be beneficial to humans, including promoting the healthy development of the immune system.

Dr. Rinki Murphy of the University of Auckland found that a very low-calorie diet and intake of probiotics may help effectively inhibit the occurrence of type 2 diabetes. The effect of specific probiotic strains in inhibiting diabetes can help effectively reduce the occurrence of gestational diabetes, and can improve the patient’s insulin sensitivity and body weight. Inhibiting type 2 diabetes, intermittent fasting can magnify the beneficial effects by supplementing Lactobacillus rhamnosus probiotics.

Regarding the role of supplementing probiotics, there have been thousands of related studies published in the past few decades, and the number of clinical studies related to probiotics has also been increasing year by year. There are many positive experimental results for intestinal regulation, immune regulation, alleviation of allergies, cancer suppression, and women’s health.

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