How do probiotics benefit health? In most cases, the organisms in the probiotics you take or give to your companion animal or horse are also found in a healthy digestive system. These probiotic organisms have several jobs. probiotics has some nice tips on this.
They protect the GI tract.
Probiotics and Your Pets
Research shows that they work to protect the host – you or the animal – from pathogens that try to invade the GI tract. It takes a lot more of the “invaders” to have an effect on the GI tract if probiotic bacteria are already present. Probiotic organisms compete more effectively for the nutrients in the GI tract and produce substances that make the environment less favorable for the disease-carrying organisms.
Probiotic organisms support specific metabolic functions, providing nutritional benefits for the host animal. They help with digestion, modify metabolism of some nutrients, and help adjust absorption of some minerals. They manufacture various vitamins and fatty acids. These and other functions help to nourish the GI tract.
They also have structural functions in the GI tract.
They can help fortify the barrier going through the intestinal tract. Among their benefits, they can stimulate production of immunoglobulin A – an antibody.
All that combines to a healthier GI tract – the system that provides 70 percent of our immunity to disease.
Probiotics: Get the Most for Your Money
One sign that the use of probiotics is becoming more common is their acceptance by various animal and pet food manufacturers. Recently probiotics have been showing up in dog and cat food products, treats for animals, and supplements.
Probiotics are live organisms that, taken in a large enough dose, promote the health of the intestinal tract – and therefore, the health of the person or animal.
To be effective, the probiotics in food products have to be incorporated in such a way that they are not harmed in the manufacturing process. Typical dog food pellets, for example, undergo a heating process that can kill probiotics – making them useless. Just because it says probiotic on the label does not necessarily mean there are effective levels present in the food.
Some treats or foods may not contain therapeutic levels of probiotcs. They may contain what might be considered a maintenance level of probiotic and could be useful after the animal as reestablished its normal balance. You would use them when you want to give the animal a treat that has some health benefits. Just remember that probiotics have to be provided in a large enough dose to make a difference for the animal – or you’re wasting your money.
To get therapeutic levels of probiotics you’ll need to provide your companion animals or horse with a supplement. There are dozens of different probiotic supplement brands on the market with different strains and different doses and different active ingredients. There are a number of reputable probiotic supplements available including the Probios brand probiotics and Purina’s Fortiflora.