Khamis, 24 November 2011

Probiotik dan Usus


Probiotik dan Usus
By Dr TAN HUCK JOO

Probiotics are known to support gut health. Let’s look at the use of probiotics supplements in a hospital setting.
PROBIOTICS is a popular health topic today. As a health-conscious individual, you probably have read and heard people talking about it numerous times. You might also be aware of how these living microorganisms, usually present in food and beverages, can contribute to a healthy digestive system. Here’s a quick look on why probiotics are important for your health.
Probiotics and gut microflora
In essence, probiotics are live, beneficial bacteria that will impart health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. Its general role in human health is to keep the ecosystem in the intestines – the gut microflora – in balance through promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, so they could keep the potentially harmful ones under control. A balanced gut microflora ensures a healthy digestive system, which in turn is essential for our health. Some of the tasks that beneficial gut bacteria performed are:
  1. ·Helping to digest and absorb nutrients, and producing certain vitamins and folic acid.
  2. ·Supporting gut cells to grow and stay healthy, thus supporting the intestinal immune system and protecting against infectious organisms that enter the gut.
  3. ·Helping to reduce the effects of harmful toxins and cancer-causing substances produced in the intestines.
The World Gastroenterology Organisation (WGO) recommends that to improve digestive health, consume fermented dairy products, especially probiotics with proven benefits on digestive health. Today, probiotics are also used in hospitals, particularly by gastroenterologists, to treat several types of digestive disorders.
Using probiotics in hospitals
In hospitals, probiotics supplements in the form of capsules are mainly given to patients to treat diarrhoea that arises from various causes. To date, probiotics are confirmed to be useful in two conditions: antibiotic-associated colitis and acute gastroenteritis.
·Antibiotic-associated colitis
The most common reason gastroenterologists prescribe probiotics is when a patient develops diarrhoea after being treated with antibiotics. This condition is known as antibiotic-associated colitis, in which the lining of the colon (large intestine) becomes inflamed and irritated due toClostridium difficile, a pathogenic bacterium that is resistant to the action of antibiotics. The use of probiotics in treating this condition has been proven to be very effective in terms of reducing the episodes of diarrhoea.
·Acute gastroenteritis
Probiotics are also often prescribed to patients with acute gastroenteritis, which is an acute inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Acute gastroenteritis, or better known as food poisoning, is caused by consuming food and drinks contaminated by bacteria or parasites, and can cause mild-to-severe bouts of diarrhoea. Probiotics has been shown to effectively reduce the severity and shorten the duration of diarrhoea in acute gastroenteritis. In mild cases, probiotics can sometimes be given to patients without antibiotics.
Other potential uses of probiotics
Probiotics may also be helpful in several other types of digestive disorders, but they are not the first-line treatment in these conditions. Many studies are still ongoing to confirm the efficacy and safety of probiotics in these following areas:
·Ulcerative colitis - Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) presenting with symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and bleeding. There is emerging evidence to suggest that probiotics are useful in reducing the symptoms of this disorder.
·Pouchitis - Pouchitis is an inflammation of an internal pouch created in patients who have their colon removed to treat ulcerative colitis. Symptoms of pouchitis include diarrhoea and abdominal pain. This condition is routinely managed with a short course of antibiotics. Some studies have shown probiotics to be helpful in treating mild symptoms of pouchitis.
·Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) - IBS is a problem that affects the large intestine, causing a change in bowel habits and symptoms, such as constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal cramping, and bloating. There is no cure for this condition and treatment available is not satisfactory.
To date, many medical studies have demonstrated that certain probiotics may be helpful in allaying these symptoms.
·Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection - H. pylori are the bacteria responsible for inflammation of the stomach that leads to gastric ulcers. The routine treatment for H, pylori infection is antibiotic,s but some patients may have difficulty getting rid of the infection with standard antibiotic therapy. There is evidence to suggest that adding probiotics to the treatment regime may help to increase the chances of H. pylori eradication.
Are probiotics supplements necessary?
Probiotics supplements are not necessary for normal, healthy individuals. If you are healthy, daily consumption of probiotics-rich foods, particularly fermented dairy products like yoghurt and cultured milk drinks, should adequately supply the amount of probiotics required to maintain a healthy digestive system and overall wellbeing.
Dr Tan Huck Joo is the president of the Malaysian Society of Gastroenterology & Hepatology. The author is not associated with and does not endorse any brand or product. This article is courtesy of the Malaysian Society of Gastroenterology & Hepatology and supported by the VITAGEN Healthy Tummies Programme. For a free digestive health booklet or more information, please contact 03-5621 1408.

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