Can Probiotics Hurt Me
For most healthy people, probiotics dont cause any harm. They are generally considered safe and are often given a try to see if they could help with various medical conditions. Theres a lot of research around the topic of probiotics. Scientists are trying to determine when and how they should be used, as well as how effective they are. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting a probiotic supplement because there are some cases where you shouldnt be taking them. Its always best to have the conversation first before starting a new supplement.
How Do Probiotic Strains Work Together
Probiotics require fructooligosaccharides , a type of soluble fiber that is found in a variety of grains, fruits, and vegetables, to thrive. This type of fiber is commonly known as prebiotics. In simplest terms, prebiotics are food for probiotics, helping nourish them to keep them alive and active in the gut.
The combination of probiotics and prebiotic strains creates a synergistic effect that allows the body to thrive. By encouraging the growth of the good bacterial strains and crowding out the bad ones, you enjoy the benefits of good digestion, including more energy, better weight control, and making feeling good the new normal.
Lab And Their Role In Delivering Cytokines And Other Molecules To Reconstitute Barrier Defects
One of the recent advances in probiotics research involves the use of LAB to deliver cytokines directly to target sites within a host. LAB-delivered cytokines can be applied to treat diseases that weaken the mucosal barrier, such as IBD subtypes Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD is a major health concern in the Western world and manifests as chronic inflammation of the intestine that results in diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss . Although the etiology of IBD is unknown, it is clear that both genetic alterations in host pattern recognition receptors and proinflammatory genes as well as the microbiota play a role in causing the sustained intestinal inflammation seen in IBD patients . Therefore, treatments aimed at reducing intestinal inflammation in these patients are highly desirable.
Lactococcus lactis. The probiotic L. lactis was engineered to produce different cytokines: interleukin 10 , heme oxygenase 1 , the Yersinia protein LcrV, TNF- nanobodies, or trefoil factors. After oral administration, L. lactis secretes these proteins in direct proximity to mucosal surfaces. These proteins can modulate the immune system in different ways to dampen the immune response and establish tolerance to the microbiota in the case of mucosal injury during IBD or cancer treatment.
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It May Lower Blood Sugar
Several animal and test-tube studies have found that cucumbers may help reduce blood sugar levels and prevent some complications of diabetes.
One animal study examined the effects of various plants on blood sugar. Cucumbers were shown to effectively reduce and control blood sugar levels .
Another animal study induced diabetes in mice and then supplemented them with cucumber peel extract. Cucumber peel reversed most of the diabetes-associated changes and caused a decrease in blood sugar .
In addition, one test-tube study found that cucumbers may be effective at reducing oxidative stress and preventing diabetes-related complications .
However, the current evidence is limited to test-tube and animal studies. Further research is needed to determine how cucumbers may affect blood sugar in humans.
Test-tube and animal studies show that cucumber may help lower blood sugar and prevent diabetes-related complications, although additional research is needed.
Tempeh May Not Be For Everyone
Tempeh, along with other fermented soy products, is generally considered safe for most people. However, some individuals may want to consider limiting their intake of tempeh.
Those with a soy allergy should avoid tempeh altogether. Eating tempeh may trigger an allergic response for these people.
This could include symptoms like:
- difficulty breathing
Additionally, soybeans are considered a goitrogen, a substance that can interfere with thyroid function.
Though studies show that soy intake has little to no effect on thyroid function, people with impaired thyroid function may want to keep intake in moderation .
Individuals who have a soy allergy should avoid tempeh, while those with impaired thyroid function may want to limit their intake.
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Can I Take Or Eat Something To Increase The Good Probiotics In My Body
You can increase the amount of good microbes in your body through foods, drinks and supplements. You may already have certain foods in your daily diet that contain probiotics. Fermented foods in particular are home to a host of good bacteria that benefit your body. There are also fermented drinks like kombucha or kefir that introduce extra probiotics into your diet.
Apart from food, you can add probiotics to your diet through dietary supplements. These arent drugs, so they do not need to be approved by the Federal Drug Administration . Its important that you always talk to your healthcare provider before starting any kind of supplement or major change to your diet.
Are There Any Risks Related To Probiotics
Probiotics are generally considered safe. However, there are some risks linked to the supplements. These risks are increased if you have a medical condition that weakens your immune system, have recently had surgery or have other serious medical conditions.
Unlikely, but possible, risks can include:
- Developing an infection.
- Developing a resistance to antibiotics.
- Developing harmful byproducts from the probiotic supplement.
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Why Are Probiotics Beneficial For Gut Health
A probiotic is best described as a microorganism which naturally occurs in cultured foods and which improves the health of its host . Probiotic foods naturally contain probiotic cultures of yeast or bacteria. Probiotic bacteria perform some important functions such as supporting a healthy immune system, metabolism and digestion. Research indicates that imbalances in the gut microbiome can been linked to numerous diseases, including cancer and type 2 diabetes.
Your gut microbiome is strongly influenced by your food choices and you can easily support this by including more probiotic rich foods into your daily diet.
Natural Sources Of Probiotics
Taking a supplement can give you quick access to certain probiotics, but there are other options, too.
“One of the easiest ways to is to increase the number of probiotic-rich foods in your diet,” says Sophia Tolliver, M.D., MPH, a family medicine physician at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
There are plenty of options out there when it comes to natural sources of probiotics, but these are considered the best:
However, the American Academy of Family Physicians generally recommends that adults try to consume 10 to 20 billion colony-forming units per day.
“Keep in mind, probiotic concentrations vary across foods,” Tolliver says. “For example, yogurt on average can contain one to five strains of different bacteria and 6 billion colony-forming units, whereas kefir can contain nearly 12 different strains of bacteria and 25 to 30 billion colony-forming units.”
Cording’s advice: Just do your best to try to eat probiotic foods regularly.
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How Do Probiotic Foods Affect Digestive Health
Foods with probiotics can help to maintain a healthy intestinal microbiome, which is the microbe population in your digestive system. It is made up of trillions of bacteria. Researchers have found lots of evidence that connects certain types of probiotics with stimulating immune functions and improving overall gut health.
But only foods and supplements that contain live, active cultures actually add these beneficial bacteria to the digestive tract. And as weâve talked about, some of the foods marketed as probiotic foods may not technically be probiotic. It can be hard for foods and beverages to maintain consistent levels of live active bacteria because of processing or storage requirements.
What Are Probiotics & Where Do They Come From
For a little refresher: Probiotics are live microorganisms that can have health benefits* when you eat them or apply them to your body, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health .
They’re naturally occurring in certain foods, particularly fermented options.
That’s because “probiotics are created during the fermenting process,” explains registered dietitian and mbg Collective member Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D.
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What Are The Top Probiotic Foods To Add To Your Diet
When youâre looking for probiotic foods, try fermented foods that retain some of their live cultures . Good examples of foods with live cultures are:
- Fresh sour pickles
Other foods like water or brine cured olives and some cheeses can be sources of foods with probiotics.Some may have labels with a âlive and active culturesâ seal, but it isnât always easy to know when products contain live cultures. It may be even harder to know if these products contain probiotics with proven health benefits.
Foods With Natural Probiotics
Youll find natural probiotics in fermented, or traditionally prepared foods. The process of fermentation is what populates these foods with probiotic bacteria. Fermentation has been around for millennia as a way to naturally preserve food.
During the fermentation process, the carbohydrates in the food begin to break down and interact with bacteria. The result is a tangy, often sour food that doesnt expire easily. Its also now filled with probiotics, which help the foods nutrient bioavailability.
Lets review ten of the best foods to find natural probiotics.
You may also like this article with the best gut healing foods, especially if you are one of the many people who suffer from digestive issues.
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When Does Your Body Need Probiotics
The human body contains more bacteria than cells, so maintaining healthy bacterial balance is important for overall health. Although probiotics can regularly support your overall health, there are certain occasions when they can be beneficial.
For example, when you are taking antibiotics, your doctor might also suggest you take probiotics. Regular probiotic supplementation can also help promote digestive health to help alleviate common gas, bloating, and indigestion, particularly after eating.
How We Chose The Best Probiotic Supplements
We selected the best probiotics using the following criteria:
- Vetting: All the products have been vetted to ensure that they meet Healthlines medical and business standards.
- Effective dose: All the supplements below contain at least 106 CFUs per gram.
- Ingredients: We looked for products that are made from high quality ingredients and free of artificial additives and fillers.
- Personal needs: Whether you need a specific probiotic strain or follow a gluten-free diet, we included options to suit a variety of needs and preferences.
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Misconceptions About Probiotic Foods
There are several misconceptions about probiotic foods.
Just because some food types can contain probiotics, it does not mean they all do. For example, not all yogurts contain live and active cultures. The ones that do are usually clearly marked.
Also, not all fermented foods contain live cultures. Examples of fermented foods that do not have probiotics include:
These and other foods like them go through additional processing that inactivates the live cultures. Examples of these processes include baking, filtering, or pasteurization.
What If I Dont Eat Dairy
The avoidance of milk doesn’t need to limit your choice of probiotic foods. Kefir and yogurt can easily be made using plant-based milks. Coconut and almond milk yogurts are commercially available and can also be easily made at home. Water kefir, where sugar water is combined with kefir grains and fermented to create a slightly fizzy drink flavored with fruits and spices, is another option.
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Why You Should Trust Us
Every brand and product on our list has been reviewed by registered dietitians and vetted to ensure that it aligns with Healthlines brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. Each product in this article:
- adheres to allowable health claims and labeling requirements, per Food and Drug Administration regulations
- is manufactured in facilities that adhere to current good manufacturing practices established by the FDA
- is produced by a medically credible company that follows ethical, legal, and industry best standards
- is made by a company that provides objective measures of trust, such as having its supplements validated by third-party labs
- Strains:Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
- Best for: IBS-related symptoms, travel
One capsule of Culturelle Digestive Daily probiotic has 10 billion CFUs of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a probiotic strain that may benefit a number of health conditions like diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome , plus 200 mg of the prebiotic inulin, which fuels beneficial gut bacteria .
Culturelle guarantees that the stated number of CFUs on the box is viable through the expiration date of the product, something the NIH recommends customers look out for.
Culturelle products are packaged to maintain viability, and the company is certified through NSF International, an organization that independently tests supplements for quality and potency and inspects manufacturing facilities.
Culturelle products dont require refrigeration.
How Might Probiotics Work
Probiotics may have a variety of effects in the body, and different probiotics may act in different ways.
- Help your body maintain a healthy community of microorganisms or help your bodyâs community of microorganisms return to a healthy condition after being disturbed
- Produce substances that have desirable effects
- Influence your bodyâs immune response.
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What Are The Most Common Types Of Probiotic Bacteria
Though there are many types of bacteria that can be considered probiotics, there are two specific types of bacteria that are common probiotics found in stores. These include:
Probiotics are also made up of good yeast. The most common type of yeast found in probiotics is:
- Saccharomyces boulardii.
Adding Probiotics To Your Diet
How do you decide whether to add probiotics to your diet? A first step is to talk with a doctor to make sure theyre right for you. Probiotics are generally considered safe to consume, unless you have a compromised immune system or youre seriously ill. Also, ask a doctor or pharmacist about dosage.
You may want to begin taking probiotics simply by adding some items with natural probiotics to your diet. You may want to keep a diary of what probiotics you introduce, and record over time whether you see any changes in your digestion or overall health. Some easily available food choices are:
If you want to take a probiotic dietary supplement, there are plenty of commercial products to choose from. Look for supplements that have:
- Live cultures: Check the expiration date on the label. To be effective, the probiotic should be live when you take it.
- Multiple bacteria species: A combination of probiotics is usually more effective than a single one.
- Large enough quantities of bacteria to form colonies: This is measured in colony-forming units called CFUs.
Its important to remember that probiotics are considered to be dietary supplements, which are not regulated by the . Also, probiotic manufacturers do not have to prove claims of effectiveness, nor does the FDA monitor these claims.
The is currently developing a method for discovering potentially harmful contaminants in probiotics.
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Why Probiotics Matter So Much
After dissecting and inspecting the various key strains that may be in your probiotic supplements, it is easy to see why they, particularly those discussed above, are helpful in supporting your overall health.
Their long list of health benefits doesnt stop there. The inclusion of prebiotics on a probiotic supplement plays helpful roles in almost every system in the body to support and promote health.
1. Balancing the good and bad bacteria in your gut helps support proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
2. Nourishing good bacteria that may be overwhelmed by occasional oxidative stress.
3. Promoting proper food movement through your gut and breaking down food into nutrients your body can use for energy, cell repair, and growth.
4. Promoting mineral absorption from the foods you eat, particularly iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and other minerals that support bone health.
5. Helping to metabolize occasional everyday toxins for removal from your body.
6. Supporting immune cell activity to protect against environmental and seasonal threats and promoting the production of natural antibodies in the body for healthy immune responses.
Its High In Protein To Keep You Full
Tempeh is high in protein. One cup provides 31 grams of protein .
Some studies suggest that a protein-rich diet may promote thermogenesis , leading to an increase in metabolism and helping your body burn more calories after each meal .
A diet high in protein can also aid in appetite control by increasing fullness and decreasing hunger .
One study found that high protein soy snacks improved appetite, satiety , and diet quality compared with high fat snacks .
Additionally, research shows that soy protein can be just as effective as meat-based protein when it comes to appetite control.
In a 2014 study, 20 men with obesity were placed on a high protein diet that included either soy-based or meat-based protein. After 2 weeks, they found that both diets led to weight loss, a decrease in hunger, and an increase in fullness, with no significant difference between the two protein sources .
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What Are Natural Probiotics
Natural probiotics are those probiotics that occur in food and in the dirt. As humans, we have actually evolved to ingest soil-based organisms as our source of natural probiotics. This includes trace amounts of organic dirt on your vegetables or incidental ingestion from working or being outside near grass and soil.
These naturally occurring probiotics populate our gut and keep us healthy. After all, our ancestors long ago didnt have access to probiotic supplements they got everything they needed from their natural environment and foods.
The good news is that we have access now to both: probiotic supplements and natural probiotics from foods. But, as mentioned, certain foods have naturally occurring probiotics that can help you diversify your diet and keep your gut health strong!