Probiotics are health-promoting bacteria and yeast residing in your gut. According to the PubMed Central database of the National Institutes of Health, probiotics refers to “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host” according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health [NCCIH], probiotics are ‘‘live microorganisms [in most cases, bacteria] that are similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human guts.’’
These bacteria are acquired at birth and grow through a process called colonization. These bacteria are used to you as they perform certain important functions specifically assigned to them including to support your immune system, synthesizing some vitamins and converting fibers to fatty acids.
Probiotic supplement serves to improve the quantity of these healthy bacteria in your system; having them in the adequate quantity is necessary to a healthy benefit from them.
SOURCES OF PROBIOTICS
Many strains of probiotics can be found in probiotic foods; fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, and kefir are good sources of different types of probiotics that are essential to good health and healthy living.
Probiotic is also available in supplement form; this comes handy in increasing the number of beneficial bacteria residing in your gut.
TYPES OF PROBIOTICS
Several types of beneficial bacteria are regarded as Probiotics. They are very instrumental to your wellbeing. They include Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces boulardii.
Bifidobacterium is very helpful in the treatment of constipation, both mild and chronic. It also provides relief from irritable bowel syndrome [IBS]; one symptom of IBS is persistent chronic constipation, a situation known as constipation-predominant IBS. Bifidobacterium is present in some foods like dairy products.
Lactobacillus has strains that help to boost your immune system, provide relief from diarrhea and aid the digestion of milk sugar, also called lactose. Lactobacillus also helps to address stomach upset, gas and bloating. This type of Probiotic is very common; it is present in yogurt and other fermented foods.
Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast present in probiotics and it is also good in addressing diarrhea and other digestive problems.
Very beneficial strains of these probiotics include:
Most probiotics supplements comprise a combination of some of several strains.
FUNCTIONS AND BENEFITS OF PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTS
Probiotics are known to be very beneficial to human health because they are used to address a variety of health challenges including diarrhea, constipation, etc.
Some Probiotics are very effective in the treatment of constipation. Constipation is a common stomach upset. It is a digestive system complication that results in infrequent bowel movement and hard feces that are difficult to defecate. Some people, especially the elderly and adults who are bedridden experience chronic constipation. Chronic constipation is characterized by infrequent bowel movement and difficulty in defecating that persist for weeks or longer. Bifidobacterium is very helpful in the treatment of both mild and chronic constipation. It is also very good in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease [IBD].
Probiotics are very good in the treatment of diarrhea arising from various causes including gastroenteritis, antibiotic use, food poisoning, and infections like parasites, viruses, and bacteria. Diarrhea is a condition with such symptoms as a loose and watery stool, cramps, bloating in your stomach, nausea, etc. It is a common condition and usually short-lived, say 2 to 3 days, but can become chronic with some people. Lactobacillus has strains that can provide relief from the condition.
Probiotic supplements like Saccharomyces boulardii is very good in the treatment of digestive problems.
It has been hinted that Probiotics is useful in addressing skin-related problems like eczema, especially in infants. Probiotics promote healthy skin by fighting inflammation and blocking the growth of bacteria. It may also be useful in combating acne and atopic dermatitis.
It is also good in the maintenance of mental health. Research has it that mental health conditions like autism spectrum disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety. People who experience frequent symptoms of any of the above can make good use of probiotic supplements and eat foods containing probiotics.
Probiotics are also found to promote body weight regulation in fat people by burning a reasonable amount of fats. Some types of probiotics prevent fat absorption leading to an increase in the excretion of fatty acids in the stool. Other types of probiotics are instrumental to fat-burning and weight loss in several ways. For instance, some strains of probiotic alter the level of hormones that regulate hunger and appetite so that you feel fuller between meals and eat less thereby leading to weight loss. Specifically, taking low doses of Lactobacillus gasseri may lead to a reduction of belly fat by 8.5 percent over 12 weeks.
Probiotic supplements help in replenishing lost bacteria in the body. The use of antibiotics can reduce the quantity of “good” bacteria in your system because when you take antibiotics to kill infection-causing bacteria, the beneficial ones are also destroyed. This decrease in the quantity of “good” bacteria can cause diarrhea and inflammation.
The supplement is also useful in the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in your body. Digestive experts recommend that the right balance of gut flora should be 85 percent good bacteria and 15 percent bad bacteria. This is necessary for the proper functioning of your body generally because it serves to prevent dysbiosis, which is an imbalance of too much of a certain type of bacteria, yeast or fungus and can be very detrimental to your health. If you suspect an imbalance or a lack of probiotics, you can consume more of foods naturally containing it or make do with the supplements to regain the right balance.
The good bacteria in your gut also perform the function of producing vitamin B12, Vitamin K2 and butyrate, stimulating the secretion of IgA and regulatory T cells, which support immune function. It is also responsible for crowding out bad microbes and creating enzymes that destroy harmful bacteria.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT
Taking a probiotic supplement is necessary to boost your health and to counter a deficiency of it. When deciding on taking this supplement, it is important to make the best choice in order to get the best from it.
For every condition, there are specific probiotics that more appropriately address it because the strains are more effective in treating that condition, therefore, it is important to know the right probiotic to take. There are considerations you should take note of when choosing your probiotic supplement which include:
- Constituting strains: It is important to get probiotics containing strains like Lactobacillus plantarum, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus clausii, Bacillus coagulans, and Saccharomyces boulardii and other formulas that guarantee that probiotics get to your gut and go through colonization.
- High colony-forming unit (CFU) count: it is beneficial to get a supplement that contains a high number of probiotics, say 15 billion to 100 billion in order to get maximum result from the use. If you are buying the supplement for a specific health condition, you stand the chance of noticing changes fast if you use a supplement with a high number of probiotics.
- Reliable brand: there are several brands of probiotic supplements. Before buying, ensure to patronize reliable retailers who can answer all your questions. If you are buying online, ensure to access reviews from users to know more about the reliability of the brand.
- Probiotics and ingredients: Apart from balancing up the required number of good and bad bacteria in your body system, probiotic supplements also provide the ingredients that aid the natural probiotics in your body to grow and thrive. So when buying your supplements, you should ensure to buy the one having both probiotics and other ingredients like astragalus, hemp seed, flaxseed, chia seed, pumpkin see, ginger, turmeric, and peas, preferably fermented ones, that aid your body’s digestion and immunity.
- Fiber and starch: The best choice of supplements is the synbiotics containing both probiotics and prebiotics. The best synbiotics contain healthy plant fibers and starches, instead of sugar, that promote the growth of probiotics by feeding them
- Preservation: When making your purchase, opt for supplements containing probiotic strains of a soil-based organism. Products that do not necessarily need to be refrigerated or kept cold to retain their potency.
Getting the most out of these beneficial bacteria is contingent upon consuming the probiotic supplements in the right amount.It is beneficial to get a supplement that contains a high number of probiotics, say 15 billion to 100 billion in order to get maximum result from the use. However, recommended doses range from I billion to 10 billion CFU, (the amount contained in 1 or 2 capsules) several days per week.
PROBIOTICS SIDE EFFECTS
Probiotic foods and supplements are usually regulated like foods and are safe for most people although it is not advisable for people with serious health conditions like immune system difficulties.
Side effects of Probiotics may include stomach upset, diarrhea, gas, bloating, gas, etc. Some people may have allergic reactions if they take the supplement. If this happens, you are advised to stop the intake and seek a medical caregiver’s advice.
Taking foods and drinks rich in probiotics is a good way to supply your body with the required level without having to worry about the side effects as such. However, when taking probiotic supplements, it is advisable, to begin with, a low dose and progress on it depending on your level of tolerance or compatibility with it.
Probiotics are beneficial to health but should be consumed for the right health condition in the right proportion.