Most of the people think that bacteria and other micro-organisms are harmful germs, but many micro-organisms help our body to function properly. Probiotics fall into this category and this article discusses the importance of probiotics.
The definition given by the World Health Organization (WHO) for probiotics is "live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host."
Probiotics are called as good and helpful bacteria. The meaning of probiotics is "for life" (pro-biota). Probiotics have been in our system right from the moment of formation of the fetus in the birth canal. Probiotics are bacteria and yeasts that are good for health, especially the digestive system to keep our gut healthy.
Availability of Probiotics
Types of Probiotics
There are many types of probiotics available. The most important and commonly used probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
How Do Probiotics Work?
A problem in the digestive system affects every physiological system in our body. Many toxins we are subjected to in our current environment can affect the function of the digestive system and our ability to utilize nutrients. Our gut has approximately 85 % good bacteria and 15 % bad bacteria. When the ratio gets out of balance, probiotic-rich food and supplements will help improve the ratio.
Excessive intake of antibiotics, high carbohydrate diet, non-organic meat, sugar, tap water, GMO foods (genetically-modified foods), grains, emotional stress, etc., can kill off the probiotics in our body. Over a period, the damage to the digestive tract increases the need for probiotics supplement.
Uses of Probiotics
Side Effects of Probiotics
Probiotics are not all alike. The effect of probiotics varies from person to person. Although some probiotic formulations have shown scientific evidence to support the uses of probiotics, for most of the conditions it is lacking. Information on long-term safety is limited. The common side effect of probiotics is diarrhea. The risk of serious side effect may be higher in people who have underlying health conditions. Though considered safe, there is a theoretical risk for people with impaired immune function.
To know more about probiotics, consult a gastroenterologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/medical-gastroenterologist
You can take probiotics every day because it is a natural supplement and not a medicine. It is safe and does not cause any harmful effects on the body, so it is recommended to be taken daily.
The best form of probiotic to take is the Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Saccharomyces boulardii.
The signs that you need probiotics are:
Suppose you have taken antibiotics, it usually kills all the bacteria in the gut. Therefore taking probiotics after an antibiotic therapy will help you put the normal bacterial flora back into the gut.
- Food poisoning.
- Upset stomach.
- Mood issues.
- Yeast overgrowth.
- If you are often feeling sick, it is good to take probiotics.
- Skin diseases.
- Digestive irregularity.
- When sugar cravings are out of control.
- Slow metabolism.
- Skin issues like psoriasis, eczema, and itchy rashes.
The fruits that contain probiotics are:
- Green banana.
The people who are immunocompromised and those under treatment for cancer should not take probiotics without the doctor's opinion.
Yogurt is a good probiotic, but if you are allergic to dairy products, then supplements are a better choice. Probiotics can be taken even on an empty stomach. Probiotic pills have a longer shelf life than yogurt, but do not offer other nutrients and minerals like yogurt.
Studies have proved that taking probiotics like strains of Lactobacillus can help reduce belly fat. The probiotics will reduce the total number of calories that are absorbed from the food, and also affects the proteins and hormones that are related to fat storage and appetite.
Probiotics restore the beneficial bacteria inside your gut. Apple cider vinegar is not a probiotic, but it is a prebiotic. The term prebiotic means the origin of nourishment in the fermented food, which is the food for the good bacteria present in the gut. Therefore, in simple words, prebiotics promote the flourishing of the gut's good bacteria.
The best natural probiotics are:
- Dark chocolates.
- Green olives.
Several types of strains are there in both Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus families, which helps reduce belly fat and weight. But Lactobacillus gasseri is the most effective strain, which helps reduce weight.
While using probiotics, a few people may initially experience side effects related to digestion like bloating, gas, and diarrhea. This may be due to some gut microbiota changes where the bacteria will produce more gas than usual, leading to bloating. These side effects will get resolved, and digestion will be improved within a few days to weeks after taking probiotics.
The signs that probiotic is working are positive changes in the body like:
- Improved digestion.
- Improved mood.
- Clearer skin.
- More energy.
It would be best if you take probiotics early in the morning on an empty stomach, and it should be taken at the same time every day.
The increase in the number of good bacteria after taking probiotics will help detoxify the digestive system and absorb more nutrients efficiently. But the probiotics, which contain a mix of bacteria, will increase the frequency of bowel movement and improve constipation symptoms like stomach pain, incomplete evacuation, and straining.
The probiotics appear to stay only for a short period in your gut; therefore, you should continue taking them for a good result. If you stop continuing them, the gut may return to its pre-supplementation state within one to three weeks.
The long term use of probiotics may be dangerous and cause side effects like:
- Increased risk of infection.
- Increase in the histamine levels by some strains.
- Adverse reactions like allergy or intolerance.
- Unpleasant digestive symptoms.
- Amines in the probiotics can cause headaches.
- Production of harmful substances by the microorganisms in the probiotics.
Last reviewed at:
10 Oct 2019 - 2 min read
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