Understanding different Probiotic strains and their benefits for a healthy gut

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  • Different probiotic strains serve different benefits upon consumption. Often probiotic supplementation appears to be far more effective as a cocktail mix of compatible strains, that work in unison to impact the overall health of a person's gut. Hence, while purchasing a probiotic supplement it becomes very essential to understand the different strains of the microbes present in it, and benefits they provide.

     

    Here are a list of the most important strains* that feature in most commonly sold probiotic supplements.

    Probiotic strains What are their benefits?
    Lactobacilus
    Where do they localize in the human body?
    Vagina, GI tract (small intestine)
    L. acidophilus

    Useful for treating
    - Antibiotic- associated  diarrhea
    - Urinary tract infections
    -  Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
    -  Vaginal yeast infections

    L. rhamnosus

    Useful for treating
    - Atopic dermatitis in children
    - Allergies
    - Distressed gastrointestine (GI), in acute cases
    - Vaginal yeast infections

    L. casei

    Use for treating
    - Constipation
    - Vaginal yeast infections
    - Antibiotic- associated  diarrhea

    L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
    (also, curd starter)

    - Effective against harmful strains  of  E.Coli bacteria
    - Enhacing immunity

    L. reuteri

    Useful for treating
    - GI distress
    - Colic in infants
    - Diarrhea
    - Feeding intolerance in infants

    Bifidobacterium
    Where do they localize in the human body?
    Vagina, GI tract (large intestine)
    B.infantis

    Useful for treating
    - Colic
    - Eczema, allergies
    - IBS

    B. animalis subsp. lactis

    Useful for treating
    - Constipation
    - UTI
    - Colic in infants
    - Dental plaque

    B. bifidum

    Useful for treating
    - Colic
    - Acute diarrhea

    B. longum

    Useful for treating
    - colic
    - GI disease
    - Perinatal allergies

    Saccharomyces boulardi (yeast)
    Where are they naturally  found?
    Found in fermented foods such asbread, kefir, kimchi.

    Useful for treating
    - GI diseases
    - IBS
    - Diarrhea
    Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis
    Where are they naturally  found ?
    Found in diary products

    Useful for treating
    - Antibiotic-associated diarrhoea
    - Vaginal infections

     

    Enterococcus
    Where do they localize in the human body?
    Mouth, skin , intestine

    Useful for treating
    - Antibiotic-associated diarrhea
    - Anti-inflammatory activity

     

    Streptococci thermophilus
    Where do they localize in the human body?
    Mouth, skin , intestine 

    Useful for treating
    - Colic in infants
    - IBS

     

    Bacillus
    Where do they localize in the human body?
    Small intestine
    B. coagulans

    Useful for treating
    - Antibiotic-associated diarrhea
    - Vaginal infections

     

    B.subtilis

    Useful for treating
    - Diarrhea

     

    E. coli Nissle 1917
    Where do they localize in the human body?
    Lower intestine

    Useful for treating
    - Constipation
    - IBS
    - GI infections

     

    *Fijan Sabina,Microorganisms with Claimed Probiotic Properties: An Overview of Recent Literature, Int J Environ Res Public Health. May; 11(5): 4745–4767 (2014)

    Probiotics in your kitchen cupboard – food as medicine

    Parents can optimize their child’s gut bacteria as one of the many ways of disease management in some of these developmental disabilities. This can be achieved by giving them fermented foods such as idli, dosa, curd, fermented rice porridge (kanji) and pickled vegetables, to name a few humble sources of probiotics that can be found easily in any Indian kitchen. In additional to the bacterial advantage that these foods provide, fermented products are also easier to digest by a compromised gut.

    Probiotics from your chemist - supplementation

    Consuming probiotics through natural fermented food products is always good, but they can also be consumed through supplements. The bacterial and yeast strains with probiotic potential are multifold, as more strains are being discovered and studied. Different strains serve their probiotic potential by different mechanisms (currently being scientifically researched), hence customized usage of specific strains to serve a specific gut distress would be the ideal course of therapeutic action. There are different cocktails of strains being sold as probiotic supplements, over the counter today. Consult your nutritionist/dietician in addition to doing your fair share of research about the efficacy of the supplements that seem best suited for your child’s distinct GI problem(s).

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that this guide is for information purposes only. Please consult a qualified health practitioner for safe management.

    Understand how Probiotics can help manage gut-related challenges in children with special needs.

    Developmental Disabilities
    Nutrition
    Alternate Therapies
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