The term “probiotics” is a relatively new term; it was introduced in 1953 by Kollath. In 1989, Roy Fuller defined priobotics and emphasized that these microbes were able to deliver substantial health benefits for the host.
The most common form of probiotics is dairy products and some probiotic fortified foods. There are some tablets, capsules and probiotic supplements available containing the bacteria in freeze dried form. Most of the benefits of probiotics have been found while in the initial stages of animal testing. Human clinical trials are being conducted to substantiate most of the benefits of probiotics, but the initial finds are certainly promising.
Much research has been conducted on probiotic health benefits, and its effect on intestinal lactic acid bacterial species. Lactic acid bacteria converts lactose into lactic. They include Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus johnsonii. Lactobacillus is currently being researched by molecular biologists for its interaction with the immune system and its potential in cancer treatment. Lactobacillus has shown remarkable results in alleviate symptom of lactose intolerance.
Lactobacillus bulgaricus (LAB), in initial testings, has demonstrated anti-mutagenic effects. This is due to its ability to bind with carcinogenic substances formed in cooked meat. Testing in animals has shown that LAB can prevent colon cancer in rodents. F
urther testing is being conducted to see if these results are the same for humans. It should be noted that there are documented studies that colon cancer rates are lower among consumers of fermented dairy products. LAB has also shown to lower serum cholesterol levels during animal studies. LAB is also being researched for health benefits of lowering blood pressure, improving immune functions and preventing infections.
LAB supplements and foods, in clinical trials, have demonstrated an ability to prevent reoccurrence of inflammatory bowel diseases in adults, improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome as well as colitis.