The word probiotics come from Latin (pro) and Greek (bios), which means “for life”. Probiotics are a dietary supplement that contains live microorganisms, similar to those living in your intestines, which are essential for implementing a healthy lifestyle.
As a general rule, living microorganisms are bacteria (lactic acid bacteria in particular).
The purpose of using probiotics is to improve the balance of the bacterial composition of the gastrointestinal tract (bacterial flora), thus achieving a good intestinal flora.
There are billions of different bacteria
Did you know that bacteria outnumber cells by 10 to 1 in your organism?
But there is no need to panic because most bacteria are harmless.
And if you have the right bacteria, they can even greatly benefit your health.
There is more than one type of probiotic bacteria
The most common probiotic bacteria include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Each group of bacteria contains many different species and each species has many strains.
It is known that many supplements combine different types of probiotic bacteria in the same dietary supplement to make them work even better.
What is lactic acid bacteria?
To get the best possible result when taking probiotics, it is important that you supplement your dietary supplement with fiber.
Fiber makes the absorption of probiotics more effective since lactic acid bacteria needs of it to survive in the intestine.
What is the difference between prebiotics and probiotics?
Although it is not the same, they are inextricably linked.
Probiotics are bacteria found in natural yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, for example.
While prebiotics is a form of carbohydrates/fiber, which is an underlying layer for probiotics and can be found in foods such as artichoke, onion, and leek.
What is prebiotics?
Prebiotics are, therefore, a food component that human digestive enzymes cannot break down and help maintain the growth of good bacteria in the digestive system.
Probiotics “eat” prebiotics to survive.
What is inulin?
It has been discovered that most foods that have a prebiotic effect in our intestines are complex carbohydrates, that is, what we know as fiber.
The largest food group that contains prebiotic fiber is inulin.
Inulin is a carbohydrate found in the roots of some plants.
There are more than 36,000 plants that contain prebiotic fiber.
Some inulin containing plants are:
Therefore, prebiotics is usually found in vegetables and roots.
Cereal products such as barley, rye, oats, and wheat work as prebiotic components for the intestine, although not to the same extent.
Who needs to take probiotics?
Some people may feel some symptoms that could indicate that unhealthy bacteria have taken over the intestine, such as:
- Have constipation or diarrhea.
- Experience gas and bloating.
- Have digestive problems.
The above may also be due to other conditions; therefore, it is important that you consult your doctor.
Can probiotics help with digestion?
Lactic acid bacteria have been studied primarily for healthy digestion.
A clinical analysis published by the JAMA Network has carefully analyzed the cause of antibiotic-induced diarrhea.
When people take antibiotics, especially for long periods, they often suffer from diarrhea for a long time after the infection has been eradicated.
This is because antibiotics kill many of the natural bacteria in the intestine, which depletes the balance and allows “bad” bacteria to thrive.
Can probiotics help with an irritable bowel?
A study published by Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics found that probiotics are beneficial for relieving an irritable bowel, which is a very common digestive condition since they can reduce intestinal air, swelling, constipation, diarrhea, and other symptoms.
Can probiotics help with weight loss?
Although more research is needed in this area, a study published by The Lancet Infectious Diseases has shown that some probiotic strains contribute to weight loss.
Other beneficial properties of probiotics are:
- Inflammation: Probiotics have been shown to reduce systemic inflammation, which is responsible for many diseases.
- Depression and anxiety: The probiotic strains Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in people with a clinical condition.
- Blood cholesterol: Several probiotics can immediately reduce bad cholesterol (LDL).
- Blood pressure: Probiotics should also be able to cause a moderate drop in blood pressure.
- Immune defense: Several different probiotic strains can strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of infection, including the common cold.
- Skin health: There is evidence that probiotics are beneficial for acne, rosacea, and eczema, as well as other skin disorders.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Probiotics and lactic acid bacteria have been thoroughly researched and proven to be beneficial for many other health problems.
What are some probiotics foods?
Foods that contain live microorganisms are called probiotic foods.
A good rule of thumb is that probiotics are especially found in fermented dairy products.
Some examples of probiotics foods are:
- Yogurt and other sour dairy products.
- Miso Soup.
- Dark chocolate.
- Green peas.
How to take probiotic supplements?
For the best results, it is recommended to take your probiotics supplements half an hour before breakfast, that is, just when you wake up and then again before bedtime.
In this way, you should ensure that you have created the best conditions for living cultures to pass from stomach acid to your intestine.
How many probiotics should I take?
Try probiotic foods and regulate the amount you take until you notice good bowel function.
Since some people may be more sensitive in the intestinal tract than others, a high intake could cause stomach problems.
Your stomach will eventually benefit from the additional “good” bacteria, as the lactic acid bacteria do their job.
Is there any side effect of using probiotics?
In general, you should be able to tolerate probiotics, since their bacteria are harmless to most people.
As written above, probiotics are a natural part of the body.
However, in the first few days, you may experience some side effects regarding digestion.
Side effects such as stomach air and mild stomach discomfort are common.
Probiotics can be dangerous and can cause infections in people with a weakened immune system.
This includes people with HIV, AIDS and several other disorders.