Yoghurt as Medicine: Support Intestinal Flora

When treated with antibiotics, probiotic yogurt can prevent infection with the dangerous bacterium Clostridium difficile. Two-thirds of those affected suffer from diarrhea after antibiotic therapy. Because antibiotics not only destroy pathogenic but also beneficial bacteria and can thus throw the intestinal flora off balance. Whether probiotics in yogurt also contribute to a better intestinal flora in healthy people is controversial.

Dangerous infection with Clostridium difficile

The bacterium Clostridium difficile is responsible for about 15 to 20 percent of diarrheal diseases caused by antibiotics. Its toxins cause life-threatening intestinal inflammation, which manifests itself in severe, sudden, watery diarrhea with nausea, abdominal pain, and fever. Typically, diarrhea has a putrid odor.

Probiotics in dairy products and supplements

Various microorganisms are summarized under the term probiotics, for example, lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus casei) and yeast fungi. They help strengthen the intestinal barrier function and reduce the excessive spread of pathogens.

Probiotics are naturally found in lactic acid products such as yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, and sauerkraut. In the case of probiotic yogurts, larger amounts of a bacterial strain are also added. As medicines, probiotics are available in capsule and drop form. Most preparations contain bifidobacteria and lactobacteria. More than a million microorganisms are needed for positive effects.

Gut flora is different for everyone

Everyone has their own individual composition of the intestinal flora, which is primarily influenced by nutrition and immunological processes. It is important for digestion, defense against pathogens, and strengthening the immune system. The intestinal flora in humans consists of around 2,000 different types of intestinal bacteria. In total, the approximately 100 trillion bacteria in the intestine weigh up to two kilograms.

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