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Probiotics in foods, necessary or not?

  1. Probiotics are bacteria that are claimed to be beneficial to health. Products with probiotics from Yakult, Activia, Vifit and Actimel are known. They are said to promote the functioning of the intestines and, for example, help with intestinal complaints such as diarrhea. What is true of these statements? Can they be effective? Is it necessary to take products with probiotics?

Are probiotics effective for intestinal complaints?

  1. One brand is different and different types of bacteria are used as probiotics. These different types of bacteria also have different effects. A few brands of foods with probiotics have shown that they indeed have a positive effect on certain complaints. This includes Activia, Yakult and Vifit

What does this beneficial effect consist of?

  1. The Activia and Yakult brands have been shown to have a positive effect on stool blockage. Vifit and Yakult have been proven to have a beneficial effect on diarrhea due to, for example, the use of antibiotics, traveler's diarrhea and infections caused by the rotavirus

Probiotics and antibiotics

  1. The use of antibiotics also deactivates the good bacteria of the intestines, the intestinal flora. That is the reason that diarrhea regularly occurs when using a course of antibiotics. The chance of this is reduced by half if a serving of a food with a probiotic is taken every day. Since probiotics and antibiotics actually work against each other, it is recommended to use them side by side, but not at the same time

The bacteria in probiotics

  1. Bacteria that are used in probiotics must meet a number of conditions. For example, the bacteria in probiotics must be sufficiently resistant to stomach acid to reach the intestines alive and to be able to do their work. One such type of bacteria is Lactobacillus casei; it is widely used as a probiotic. It is a Gram-positive rod, a bacterium that normally already occurs in, for example, the mouth and the small intestine and therefore belongs to the normal flora. This bacterium is present in the products of Yakult and Actimel, among others. Another bacteria used as a probiotic is Bifidobacterium spp

Probiotics Safety

  1. Probiotics are safe to use by healthy people (Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, June 2009). People dealing with a severely weakened immune system or who are seriously ill should be careful with it and should consult their doctor before taking products containing probiotics.

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