The average western diet has an excessively high sugar content. Not only does this lead to weight gain and increased susceptibility to diabetes but high sugar intake has been shown to stimulate unhealthy bacteria and other potentially harmful microorganisms such as Candida yeasts as well as disrupt the action of beneficial bacteria in our gastrointestinal system.
There is growing evidence that if we supplement out diet with probiotics (live populations of ‘good’ bacteria) we can do much to improve our overall gastrointestinal health as well as assist in the management of certain disorders. Studies have shown that probiotics can help yeast infection treatment as one of the Candida diet foods, assist in the management of inflammatory bowel disorders, prevent and manage diarrhea, reduce cholesterol levels and improve the overall efficiency of our digestive function.
The contribution that probiotics can make to human health is an active field of study. In fact it has been estimated that there were 5 times as many studies conducted in the last decade as there were in the previous one. Unfortunately there are still many gaps in our knowledge particularly when it comes to the specifics of linking individual probiotic strains or stain combination to specific health outcomes.
The industry also suffers from a lack of standardization and weak labeling guidelines. For example many of the foods that are labeled as ‘probiotic’ may not contain the the right strains in the right quantities to confer a specific health benefit. The best probiotic brands however take care to denote the exact quantities of live bacterial strain provided in each dosage and link this to scientifically supported research on health outcomes.
As more foods and supplements emerge on the market, the establishment of standards will accelerate and consumers will have better access to the guidelines and information they need in selecting the right probiotic for their needs.