Answers To Your Questions About Probiotics
The business of beneficial bacteria seems to be booming, with the word “probiotics” showing up on labels of everything from supplements to yogurt to granola bars.
Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” that are similar to organisms that occur naturally in the digestive tract. Certain strains or types of probiotics have been linked to all sorts of health benefits, from helping with irritable bowel syndrome and travelerâs diarrhea to boosting the immune system. They’re sometimes used with antibiotics to combat the diarrhea that may result from taking antibiotics.
As the supermarket invasion of probiotic products kicks into high gear, you may have some questions about how to buy and use them. Here are some answers to five common questions about probiotics and products that contain them.
What Is Fermentation And Good Bacteria
The fermentation process beings when different bacteria or yeast convert carbohydrates into lactic acid .The whole process involves the metabolic breakdown of carbohydrates without oxygen, producing ethanol, acids, and gases that become part of an enzymatic chain.
These microorganisms, with the enzymes that they contain, participate in producing lactic acid, which is essential in the fermentation process. All this creates the beneficial bacteria we know as âgood bacteria,â enzymes, vitamins, and probiotics, all of which are living bacteria that improve the intestinal microflora. Still not sure why you need probiotics for good immunity? Read on!
How Probiotics Can Help Your Immune System
One of the most frustrating symptoms of an imbalanced gut is the way it weakens your immune system. The regular headaches, fatigue, and other symptoms associated with Candida or SIBO are bad enough, but adding regular colds and viruses to the mix can really make life difficult.
Flu season is particularly bad, but this can happen throughout the year. A chronically weakened immune system leaves you vulnerable to every virus that comes along. Sometimes the cold viruses can arrive so frequently that its tough to know where one cold ends and the next begins.
Unfortunately, pathogens and other germs arent easy to avoid. No matter what time of year it is, youll be exposed to viruses and other bacteria in the air, in food, and on everyday items. If your immune system has been chronically weakened by a gut imbalance like Candida, you may find that youre picking up every infection that comes your way. Thats especially if you have young kids.
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Do I Need To Take Probiotics After I Take Antibiotics
Antibiotic medications are often needed to fight an infection. However, while antibiotics are killing the bad bacteria, they are also knocking out the good bacteria in your body. Some people develop conditions like diarrhea after taking an antibiotic. In other people, this may allow for really bad bacteria to take over and populate the gut, such as with C. diff. Some research has shown a positive connection between taking probiotics after an antibiotic and relief from diarrhea. This hasnt been proven yet and doesnt work for everyone.
The thought behind adding probiotics back into your body after taking an antibiotic is that it can repopulate the good bacteria that was destroyed by the antibiotics and re-boot your system. The extra good bacteria helps repopulate your gut and fight off any remaining bad bacteria. Many people feel that adding in probiotics wont hurt, might help you feel better a little faster and prevent diarrhea.
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What Foods Contain Probiotics
The best way to support your immune system is to eat probiotic-containing foods as often as possible. Probiotics from food or supplements are the same or very similar to the bugs naturally found in your gut. Taking probiotics can bring this bacteria into your colon, helping to restore the correct balance of helpful bugs.
A few foods that are high in probiotics include:
Aim to include a variety of these foods in your diet to help load your gut with healthy microbes that will keep your immune system healthy.
How To Build A Healthy Microbiome
One way to foster healthy intestinal bacteria is to eat more of the foods these bugs like to eatnamely, fiber. Increasing your intake of plant fibers from vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds is like filling a bird-feeder with the kind of seeds that the beautiful songbirds you want attract like best. If you feed them, they will come!
And if we want to attract a lot of different types of songbirdser, bacteriathen we want to put out a variety of foods. That means you dont just want to get all your fiber from a single source, such as a fiber supplement. You want to get it fiber from lots of different kinds of vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds.
Another way to nurture a healthy gut is to consume foods that contain beneficial bacteria. This includes things like yogurt, kefir, and other cultured dairy products kim-chi, sauerkraut, and other fermented vegetables miso, tempeh, natto, and other fermented soy products and kombucha, which is a sort of fermented tea.
Now, to be honest, its not entirely clear how many of those bacteria actually survive their trip through the digestive tract and set up permanent housekeeping in the gut. But even if they are just passing through, they appear to be the ideal type of houseguest that leaves the place a bit better than they found it.
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Biotics 8 Supplement Facts
Biotics 8 provides 10 probiotics. Nine of them are bacteria and the other one is a probiotic yeast:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Saccharomyces Boulardii
At 20 Billion CFU, Biotics 8 is not as powerful as the other products on this list but it contains some very useful immunity-boosting probiotic species such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus rhamnosus
As with Complete Probiotics Platinum, though, the manufacturer is not revealing the strains.
Research shows Bifidobacterium bifidum can have a positive influence on immune function, though.
Lactobacillus casei has proven value as an immunity improver as well.
So do some of the other probiotics that are present. There can be no doubting this Biotics 8s ability to support improvements in immune function.
However, lets not forget the CFU is a little lower than the other options. Thats why we cannot rate this option higher.
The presence of digestive enzymes in the formulation does not work in its favor either. However, the addition of Vitamin D very much does.
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A healthy immune system is vital for keeping us well, and one proven way to support it is with probiotics.
Many studies have found these good bacteria can help balance gut flora, helping produce protective substances which may turn on the immune system to fight off bugs, and there are other benefits to making sure you get enough probiotics too.
We asked Professor Glenn Gibson, a professor of food microbiology at University of Reading whos studied probiotics and prebiotics extensively, and Dr Carrie Ruxton, a dietitian for the Health and Food Supplements Information Service href=https://www.hsis.org target=_blank rel=noopener noreferrer> to tell us more about the friendly bacteria that live in our intestines, stomach and gastrointestinal tract
What are probiotics?
The World Health Organisation defines probiotics as live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. Ruxton says: Probiotics are live friendly bacteria in food or supplement form that can alter the balance of our own gut bacteria assuming they reach the gut intact.
Ruxton adds: Many chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease and bowel cancers, have been linked with an imbalance of gut bacteria, called dysbiosis, and optimal immune function giving us defences against viruses such as coronavirus depends on having the right bacteria in our gut.
Can you get probiotics in food?
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Any Tips For Taking Probiotics
While you can most definitely eat your way to a healthy gut, the truth is that eating a nutritious diet day in and day out can be harder than it sounds. In fact, esearch suggests up to 90 percent of the United State’s population has a poor diet.
Whether your poor diet is due to busy schedules or lifestyle habits, fueling your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive is no easy feat. Fortunately, we have probiotic supplements like Gut Feelings Probiotics.
A pre-, pro-, and postbiotic formula that supports complete gut health and immune function, Gut Feelings contains clinically studied ingredients, including 3 billion CFUs of probiotic strains.* Simply take one capsule per day and rest easy, knowing your gut and immune system are getting the support they need to promote good health. What’s not to love?
Thinking about adding a probiotic to your daily supplement lineup? Here are a few tips you should know:
How To Get Probiotics From Food
Taking probiotic supplements may be the first step back to optimal immune health but eating fermented foods is important, too!
Fermented foods have undergone a special process that allows natural, healthy bacteria to develop. The fermentation process is rather similar to what bacteria do in your gut anyway: breaking down food that youve eaten. Its for this reason that probiotic foods are technically pre-digested, because the nutrients are already available to be absorbed. This is a remarkably easy way to deliver vitamins, minerals and healthy bacteria to your gut.
Whats more, the bacteria obtained from eating fermented foods can boost the diversity of the microbiota in your gut. This helps to improve the health of the bacteria already present in your gastrointestinal tract, allowing them to thrive.
By including fermented foods with every one of your meals, youre giving your immune system a helping hand. These foods have been found to reduce inflammation in the gut, improve your microbiota profile, and improve digestion and the absorption of minerals. Long term, they can even support mental health.
The best types of fermented foods include unsweetened yogurt, kefir , sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickled vegetables.
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Can Probiotics Boost Your Immune System
Fun fact: Did you know that there are about the same number of bacterial cells as human cells in your body? That means that there are a whole lot of bacteria living inside of you RIGHT NOW! You are half bacteria! This fact is actually quite amazing and extremely beneficial.
The good news is that most of these bacteria are necessary and even essential for optimal health. These helpful bugs are needed to digest your food, extract important nutrients, protect your body from other pathogens and also keep things running smoothly with your digestion. One important role they play is keeping you healthy by communicating regularly with your immune system.
In order to stay in tip top health, you need to also keep these little guys healthy. One way to do this is to be sure you have the right number of beneficial bacteria living in your gut. When the good guys are around, they help your immune system function at its best. Certain types of bacteria taken in supplement form or found in foods such as fermented products and some dairy are called probiotics. There are many health benefits of probiotics, but one in particular is the connection between probiotics and the immune system.
Probiotics For Immune Disease Prevention And Treatment
Results of evidence-based analysis from human studies and animal models suggest that probiotics have potential for clinical effectiveness on intestinal diseases, including infectious diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, atopic diseases, necrotizing enterocolitis, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome, and extraintestinal diseases, such as allergy.
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Probiotics And Gut Health For Immunity
Your digestive and immune systems may seem completely separate, but they actually work hand in hand to keep you healthy. Gut bacteria play a critical role in helping regulate and activate immune cells.
First, they inhibit the adherence of pathogenic bacteria to the intestinal wall, so the bad bugs are not allowed to take over your gut and make you sick. The good bacteria help maintain the right balance of microorganisms in the gut. An imbalance of bacteria in the gut has been associated with a variety of illnesses from allergies to obesity.
Probiotics can also reduce the severity and symptoms of common digestive problems, like diarrhea, caused by either infections or antibiotics. A 2012 study found that taking a probiotic along with your antibiotics can reduce the risk of diarrhea by 42%. They also reduce the risk of developing other kinds of diarrhea by 26%.
Gut bacteria can help regulate immune response directly, by controlling inflammation and sending signals to the immune system telling it how to react to possible threats. Probiotics and the immune system are partners in the quest to keep you healthy.
Blood Sample Collection And Analysis
Blood samples were collected between 06:00 and 09:00 hours on the sample collection days. Blood samples were collected into K3EDTA tubes , serum separator and heparinized tubes and PaxGene tubes . Plasma and serum were separated by centrifugation at 3500g for 10 min and stored frozen at 80°C until analysis.
Determination of C-reactive protein concentrations was completed using a COBAS Integra 400 system and commercially available reagents, calibrators and controls . Concentrations of other soluble analytes, including lipopolysaccharide binding protein , intestinal fatty acid binding protein , pentraxin , serum alpha amyloid , E-selectin interleukin1, IL-6, IL-10, IL-1ra, tumor necrosis factor-alpha , and cortisol were determined using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and suspension array kits according to the manufacturers instructions. Dilution factors were optimized for each assay to ensure an acceptable goodness of fit to the standard curve. For each analyte, samples were assessed in duplicate and all samples from a single individual were assessed on a single assay plate. Inter-assay coefficients of variation ranged from 6.6% to 13.3%.
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What Should I Look For On The Label Of A Food Containing Probiotics
The first thing you want to look for is the full probiotic name, which includes the genus, species, and then the strain. Many products containing probiotics list only the genus and species on the package, such as “bifidobacterium lactis.”
You might want to check out the website of the company that sells the product. It may tell you more about:
- The strain used in the product
- How much of the probiotic each serving of the product contains
- The research that suggested a health benefit from the probiotic in question, and the amount of probiotic that was used in the research
Antibiotics And Your Immune System
The first line of defense for your system is gut microbiota. Itâs naturally designed to protect your body from âintruders.â However, recently, antibiotics have been used as the first line of protection. But they also run the risk of damaging intestinal bacteria. While antibiotics are sometimes essential and can help save lives, prevent infections, and minimize inflammation, they can also destroy good bacteria.
What is more, pasteurization and sterilization are becoming more and more popular. On the one hand, these processes help kill dangerous germs that can cause health conditions to develop. But on the other hand, they can also destroy vitamins and minerals that benefit the immune system.
One way to prevent the decrease of these beneficial bacteria in your system is by consuming fermented food, like probiotics! You canât always avoid using antibiotics or interacting with pasteurized and sterilized foods, but you can supplement your diet with probiotics to renew the microflora in your system. Make sure to add fermented food to every meal to promote probiotic growth. A diet high in sugar or a diet without any probiotics can lead to various health issues and a weakened immune system.
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Antibiotics Undermine Your Immune System
When those healthy, immune-supportive bacteria are diminished such as during a Candida overgrowth or SIBO your immune system is at a major disadvantage. Essentially, your body loses its protective army of good bacteria, whose job it is to fight off any pathogens that enter your body.
This is also one of the main reasons that antibiotics are so harmful to your immune system. While a doctor will readily prescribe a course of antibiotics for treating any infection you may have , this medication may in fact chronically weakan all ALL the bacteria in your gut good and bad.
This depletes your immune system even further. Broad spectrum antibiotics cannot discriminate between the various types of bacteria at all.
Effects On Serum Hormones Acute Phase Proteins And Immune Markers
Probiotic supplementation appears to have moderated changes in a number of serum analytes between V1 and V2. As shown in Figure 2, compared to the probiotic groups, the placebo group had a significantly larger within group time effect from V1 to V2 in the concentration of cortisol , pentraxin , MAdCAM-1 , IL-1ra and LBP . No between group differences were found for the markers over the period of nightshift.
Figure 2 Changes in the concentration of serum analytes over the course of the study. Significantly larger within group changes in the placebo group are evident in all analytes from V1 to V2. Data are % change and 95% CI. The large changes in these analytes while adhering to typical night-day sleep-wake cycle were greater than the effect of nightshift on indices of stress, the acute phase response, serum cytokines and intestinal integrity markers. *significant change from V1 in the placebo group, #significant change from V1 in UABla-12 group. **significance chance from V1 in the DDS-1 group.
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