You’ve probably been taught to avoid contact with bacteria, but these days health-conscious folks are willingly purchasing and consuming live bacteria for its positive effects on many gastrointestinal disorders. Beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, have risen in popularity as more and more food manufacturers introduce them into their products. Lactobacillus paracasei is one of the many strains of friendly bacteria that are being used for health benefits.
Normal Intestinal Flora
The presence of colonies of beneficial bacteria in your intestines is a natural and positive phenomenon. Lactobacillus paracasei is part of this intestinal population of bacteria, which is referred to as your normal flora. More than 400 different strains of bacteria live in your gastrointestinal tract, according to Bethlehem University’s Eclinic. By inhabiting your intestines, these bacteria crowd out harmful microbes that might otherwise colonize your digestive system and cause health problems.
Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics, whether in the form of fermented dairy products like yogurt, pickled vegetables such as kim chi, or freeze-dried bacterial cultures packaged in capsules, can be consumed to strengthen and enhance the populations of normal flora that already live in your intestines. These populations can sometimes be decimated by antibiotic use. Reintroducing them into your system by consuming probiotics may help to ward off certain illnesses, such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea, advises Bethlehem University.
The strain of probiotic bacteria known as Lactobacillus paracasei is commonly found in your oral and rectal mucosa, states Goran Molin of Lund University in Sweden. Lactobacillus paracasei has been safely used to treat diarrhea in infants, and is present in certain infant formulas. It has shown limited effectiveness in treating pollen allergies, according to a 2009 study published in “Allergy and Asthma Proceedings.” A study published in “Nutrition Journal” that same year found that some patients with chronic fatigue syndrome may experience relief from symptoms by using probiotics containing Lactobacillus paracasei.
Lactobacillus Paracasei Sources
Lactobacillus paracasei bacteria are typically found in dairy products, and you may be able to purchase yogurt, kefir and infant formulas that contain it. Read the food labels to make sure they contain live, active Lactobacillus paracasei bacterial cultures. You can also purchase Lactobacillus paracasei supplements at natural food retailers. Consult your doctor before taking probiotic supplements and read the labels to determine proper dosages.