Getting to Know the Good Bacteria in Your Gut
Oleh: Morinaga Platinum
The presence of bacteria in our body does not always cause detrimental effect, but bacteria has some beneficial effect too. You may have heard that yoghurt is good for your gut health. Yoghurt is fermented drink that contains good bacteria that work inside your gut to eradicate bad bacteria and maintain gut health. However, have you ever heard about probiotic and prebiotic? What is the difference between probiotic and prebiotic?
Probiotic is food, drink or supplement that contains live bacteria that can modify gut environment and maintain flora balance in the human gut. Probiotic is well known for its beneficial effect for human health including gut health among children. Probiotic does not have any bad effect on gut health and nontoxic. An example of good bacteria contained in probiotic is Bifidobacterium.
At the other hand, prebiotic is food, drink or supplement which contains indigestible component, but functions to support the growth of probiotic bacteria in the human gut. Prebiotic usually comes in a form of oligosaccharide, a simple carbohydrate, naturally contained in breast milk and some food. Prebiotic can also be added to food, drink, and certain milk. Some example of prebiotic is lactulose and soy oligosaccharide.
So, by consuming probiotic, we give our gut the good bacteria, and prebiotic is used as its fertilizer.
Bacteria in baby’s gut
Newborn baby has sterile digestive system. Gestational age, method of baby delivery, food consumed by mother and baby, were some factors that contribute to the baby’s gut flora. Baby that was born with cesarean delivery, born prematurely and exposed to antibiotic before or after delivery, has a worse pattern of gut flora.
Breastfed baby also has more probiotic in their gut, compared to baby who was given formula milk.
Probiotic and its use for human health
Probiotic can be beneficial for human body by triggering the growth of good bacteria, that can be lost during antibiotic treatment. Probiotic also aid in suppressing bad bacteria in the gut that might disturb digestion process, and balancing the amount of bad and good bacteria.
Probiotic can help alleviating the following conditions:
- Reducing diarrhea symptoms caused by virus, bacteria or parasite, also diarrhea due to antibiotic. “Probiotic is proven to be useful in reducing diarrhea symptoms and help in reducing abdominal pain symptom,” explained Dan W. Thomas, M. D, head of the Gastroenterology Department in Children Hospital, Los Angeles.
- Alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
- Reducing the symptoms of Inflammatory bowel disease
- Preventing allergic and runny nose. Probiotic is scientifically proven to reduce the risk of allergic in baby, if consumed by pregnant woman one month before delivery and for the next 6 months during breastfeeding period
- Reducing the symptoms of skin disorder, like eczema
- Maintain oral hygiene
- Reducing pulmonary infection
Despite the robust beneficial effect of probiotic, it usage must be carefully tailored according to each baby condition, especially among baby and children with reduced immune system, like premature baby or baby with severe illness.