Learning About The Microbiome
The community of microorganisms that lives on us and in us is called the âmicrobiome,â and itâs a hot topic for research. The Human Microbiome Project, supported by the National Institutes of Health from 2007 to 2016, played a key role in this research by mapping the normal bacteria that live in and on the healthy human body. With this understanding of a normal microbiome as the basis, researchers around the world, including many supported by NIH, are now exploring the links between changes in the microbiome and various diseases. Theyâre also developing new therapeutic approaches designed to modify the microbiome to treat disease and support health.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is among the many agencies funding research on the microbiome. Researchers supported by NCCIH are studying the interactions between components of food and microorganisms in the digestive tract. The focus is on the ways in which diet-microbiome interactions may lead to the production of substances with beneficial health effects.
Should I Take Probiotic Supplements
Probiotic supplements are pills, powders, or liquids that contain live beneficial bacteria or yeast.
Theyre very popular and easy to find, yet not all of them are worth your money. They do not all have the same types of bacteria or the same concentrations. There are also many products on the market making claims with no proof of efficacy .
They also usually do not come with fibrous food sources for the bacteria to eat, which can hinder their effectiveness if someone isnt also eating those foods.
Some probiotic supplements are designed to carry the bacteria all the way to your large intestine for better effects, while others probably dont make it past your stomach acid .
There are some individuals who should not take a probiotic, or who may experience worsened symptoms if they do, such as people with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or people sensitive to ingredients in the supplement.
However, the right strains of probiotics can be incredibly beneficial for some people. It depends on the type of strain, product formula, the quality of the product, and storage. (
Which Strains Are Best
As well as selecting the optimum probiotics, it is important to consider the viability and efficacy of the strains themselves. Generally, the best strains tend to be the most well-researched, so look out for those with plenty of clinical trials investigating them.
The strains must be alive at the time of consumption and must survive the stomach acidity in order to reach the intestines. Optibac Probiotics strains undergo numerous in-vitro tests documenting their viability at room temperature and to survive the acidic stomach environment and bile salts.
Friendly bacteria are all individual, and different strains have different modes of action in the body. Therefore, the best live cultures for you might not be the best for somebody else. In general, however, there are a few good ways to tell if a strain is high quality:
- It should be guaranteed to reach the gut alive
- It should be well-researched
- It should have been featured in gold standard human clinical trials and not just in-vitro tests
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Scientific Guidelines For Testing
First, probiotics must be alive when administered. One of the concerns throughout the scientific literature resides in the viability and reproducibility on a large scale of observed results for specific studies, as well as the viability and stability during use and storage, and finally the ability to survive in stomach acids and then in the intestinal ecosystem.
Second, probiotics must have undergone controlled evaluation to document health benefits in the target host. Only products that contain live organisms shown in reproducible human studies to confer a health benefit may claim to be probiotic. The correct definition of health benefit, backed with solid scientific evidence, is a strong element for the proper identification and assessment of the effect of a probiotic. This aspect is a challenge for scientific and industrial investigations because several difficulties arise, such as variability in the site for probiotic use and mode of application.
Third, the probiotic candidate must be a taxonomically defined microbe or combination of microbes ” rel=”nofollow”> strain level). It is commonly admitted that most effects of probiotics are strain-specific and cannot be extended to other probiotics of the same genus or species. This calls for a precise identification of the strain, i.e. genotypic and phenotypic characterization of the tested microorganism.
Kefir Is A Probiotic Drink
Kefir is a thick and creamy fermented milk product. It tastes tangy like yogurt. Probiotic strains in kefir may help reduce cholesterol, protect against cancer, fight allergies, and improve the digestion of lactose. Kefir is rich in lactic acid bacteria , friendly bacteria that may help prevent and treat diarrhea, boost immunity, and improve the body’s ability to ward off infection. Kefir is rich in Lactococcus lactis, Lactobacillus kefir, Lactococcus cremoris, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus casei, and a few varieties of beneficial yeast. You can learn to make your own kefir using kefir grains as the starter.
Like kefir, kombucha is a fermented drink that may improve the function of the immune system and boost energy levels and detoxification. Beneficial bacteria in kombucha may improve antioxidant activity in the body as well. Kombucha tea comes in black and green varieties. Kombucha tea is made using a SCOBY, or a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, that is necessary for the fermentation process. Saccharomyces boulardii is a probiotic yeast strain that is found in kombucha.
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What Are Probiotics And Why Should I Be Taking Them
Probiotics are actually bacteria and yeasts which live in your gut and ensure the healthy running of your entire gastrointestinal system.
Without this good bacteria, the bad stuff would overrun everything and cause illness.
Various lifestyle factors can reduce the number of good bacteria within your gut, e.g. if you have to take antibiotics due to an infection of some kind, and this can cause issues in your stomach, such as bloating, constipation or even the development of certain conditions, such as IBS.
Having a smooth running, healthy gut is vital to overall health and wellbeing, because when you feel bloated, or generally sluggish due to a stomach issue, your mood is certainly going to be on a downer, at the very least.
I Often See Similar Products Labeled With Live Active Cultures Why Is That What Are Cultures
The terms probiotics and cultures are often used interchangeably. Live food cultures are microorganisms often used to ferment foods and beverages. Probiotics are live microorganisms that have been shown to have a positive health effect. Live cultures are essential for creating many of the foods known to be rich in probiotics, for example, your favorite cheese. At the same time, cultures are used to create other fermented products like beer, which is not considered rich in probiotics.
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Is It Better To Consume Probiotics Through Pills Or By Eating Foods With Probiotics
There are several reasons why probiotic foods are the preferred choice for getting probiotic bacteria over pills. Consuming probiotics through dairy foods allows the stomach acids to be buffered and increases the chance that the probiotics will survive and make it to the intestine. Probiotic supplements in the form of pills dont usually provide nutrients that the cultures found in probiotic foods like yogurt produce during fermentation. Finally, fermented dairy products, like yogurt, are also a source of nutrients that are critical for good health such as calcium, protein, and potassium.
What Are Prebiotics And Synbiotics
The prebiotic comes before and helps the probiotic, and then the two can combine to have a synergistic effect, known as synbiotics. A prebiotic is actually a nondigestible carbohydrate that acts as food for the probiotics and bacteria in your gut. The definition of the effect of prebiotics is the selective stimulation of growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of microbial genus/species in the gut microbiota that confer health benefits to the host. The health benefits have been suggested to include acting as a remedy for gastrointestinal complications such as enteritis, constipation, and irritable bowel disease prevention and treatment of various cancers decreasing allergic inflammation treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease , and fighting immune deficiency diseases. There has also been research showing that the dietary intake of particular food products with a prebiotic effect has been shown, especially in adolescents, but also tentatively in postmenopausal women, to increase calcium absorption as well as bone calcium accretion and bone mineral density. The benefits for obesity and type 2 diabetes are growing as recent data, both from experimental models and from human studies, have shown particular food products with prebiotics have influences on energy homeostasis, satiety regulation, and body weight gain.
How Do They Work
Researchers are trying to figure out exactly how probiotics work. Some of the ways they may keep you healthy:
- When you lose “good” bacteria in your body, for example after you take antibiotics, probiotics can help replace them.
- They can help balance your “good” and “bad” bacteria to keep your body working the way it should.
Should You Be Eating/drinking Yogurt On A Daily Basis
Yogurt has some fantastic health benefits, as well as being really quite delicious too! If youre comparing yogurt to another type of snack, such as a milkshake or an ice cream, then its really a no brainer.
Even the more unhealthy types of yogurt are better for you than a fat-laden milkshake, but if youre looking for overall health and wellbeing, you should certainly look towards natural yogurts, which contain live and active cultures.
Yogurt is very easy to incorporate into your daily routine, and it doesnt necessarily have to be a sweet treat either.
You can add yogurt into savoury dishes, and this is done quite often in Mediterranean cooking, such as around the Greece and Turkey region.
Of course, breakfast is one of the best times to add yogurt into your diet, as you can have yogurt on top of your muesli, you can eat yogurt with berries or other fruits, or you can go for a yogurt drink which is aimed towards the probiotic audience, to fill up until later on.
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Are All Yogurts Probiotic
Live bacterial cultures are added to milk to start the fermentation process that turns milk in to yogurt.
These fermentation bacteria are called starter cultures and Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are the most commonly used to make yogurt.
Based on that fact, you would think all yogurt is probiotic.
I can see companies saying made with but forgetting the but we killed them all part.
Unfortunately, most regular yogurt brands are pasteurized after fermentation. The heat kills off the beneficial bacteria so there no longer probiotic.
Yogurt can contain live and active cultures as long as its not been heat treated or bacteria has been added after fermentation.
Why Does Activia Need Billions Of Its Exclusive Probiotic
Since Activia was launched in 2006 it has contained billions of our exclusive probiotic in every cup. Activia yogurt’s exclusive probiotic culture was specifically selected because of its ability to survive passage through the digestive system and reach the large intestine in sufficient amounts. Two double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled studies show that Activia may help reduce the frequency of minor digestive discomfort when consumed twice a day for two weeks as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Minor digestive discomfort includes bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort, and rumbling.
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Myth: All Probiotic Supplements Are Basically The Same
“This is absolutely wrong,” Hibberd said. Theoretically, every single probiotic supplement available on the market could be different, she said. Some probiotics have a single strain of organisms, while others contain multiple strains. Different strains of the same species may even be different, and could have different effects on health.
Microbe concentrations can also vary widely among products. Because these diverse organisms can have different effects on the body, it’s difficult for scientists to tease out their exact health benefits, and the ways they may work.
And with hundreds of probiotic species, researchers haven’t yet studied all of them. “We need to know the important features of some probiotic organisms that can help prevent or treat specific medical conditions,” Hibberd told Live Science.
Popular Brands Of Live Culture Yogurt
Different brands offer different types of yogurt. Some may include live cultures while some may be heat treated. Some popular live culture yogurt brands that contain beneficial bacteria like L. acidophillus include the following:
- Chobani: Chobani is a brand of Greek yogurt and one of the most popular yogurt brands. The yogurt from Chobani is a live culture yogurt that contains active cultures including Streptococcus thermophilus and L. acidophilus.
- Siggis: A US-based yogurt brand, Siggis manufactures Icelandic yogurt known as skyr that has a fairly sour texture. It contains multiple probiotics and live cultures including L. acidophilus.
- Fage: Fage is a multinational conglomerate that manufactures yogurt and several by products of yogurt. Each of the products includes probiotics like L. acidophilus.
Its important to know live culture yogurt from the heat-treated one, especially if you are a regular consumer of yogurt.
What Are Active Probiotics Good For
Probiotics are made up of good bacteria that helps keep your body healthy and working well. This good bacteria helps you in many ways, including fighting off bad bacteria when you have too much of it, helping you feel better. Probiotics are part of a larger picture concerning bacteria and your body your microbiome.
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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Are Probiotic Supplements A Good Idea
Probiotic supplements come in tablet, powder, capsule, and liquid forms. They do not provide the nutritional boost that probiotic foods do, but they are another option to promote a healthy mix of gut bacteria. Different probiotics may be recommended to different individuals. Ask your doctor if probiotic supplements are recommended for you. Some people who have immune system disorders or weak immune systems should be cautious about taking probiotic supplements. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice.
It May Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Tempeh is traditionally made from soybeans, which contain natural plant compounds called isoflavones.
Soy isoflavones have been associated with reduced cholesterol levels. One review looked at 11 studies and found that soy isoflavones were able to significantly decrease both total and LDL cholesterol .
Another study looked at the effects of soy protein on cholesterol levels and triglycerides. In the study, 42 participants ate a diet containing either soy protein or animal protein over a 6-week period.
Compared with animal protein, soy protein decreased LDL cholesterol by 5.7% and total cholesterol by 4.4%. It also decreased triglycerides by 13.3% .
Though most available research focuses on the effects of soy isoflavones and soy protein on blood cholesterol, one study did focus specifically on tempeh.
A 2013 animal study examined the effects of nutrient-enriched soybean tempeh on mice with liver damage. It found that tempeh had a protective effect on the liver and was able to reverse damage to liver cells.
Additionally, tempeh caused a decrease in both cholesterol and triglyceride levels .
Tempeh is made from soybeans, which contain soy isoflavones. Studies show that soy isoflavones and soy protein may decrease blood cholesterol levels.
Other studies have found that supplementing with soy isoflavones may have a favorable effect on several health conditions associated with oxidative stress.
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Is The Milk Test Reliable
Many consumers ask if the milk test is a valid way to examine if the probiotics in certain products are alive and active. The official professional answer is no.
Though it can be done at home, it is not a particularly reliable method to check the viability of a probiotic supplement even if the milk curdles quickly.
While the milk test is commonly used in a pinch at home, if you need to reliably determine if your probiotics are truly active youll need to consult a lab.
This is particularly important if youre using probiotics to treat any sort of medical condition. Once again, the only officially reliable method to determine their viability is to consult a medical professional at a laboratory.
Common Probiotic Species And Strains And Their Health Benefits
Check label for probiotic strains in the yogurt
In general, most probiotics will help improve your gut health.
However, different strains do offer different health benefits.
The most common probiotic strains added to yogurt are from the two main species.
BTW, these species are the most studied and researched.
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How Does Plain Yogurt Cure Yeast Infections
yogurt Contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, a bacterium that also happens to be found in a healthy vagina. Acidophilus kills yeast By producing hydrogen peroxide. Most Vimin uses yogurt Treat comes Yeast infection Simply apply it directly to the vagina and gently inject part into the vagina by all necessary means.
How Are Probiotics Regulated In The United States
Government regulation of probiotics in the United States is complex. Depending on a probiotic productâs intended use, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration might regulate it as a dietary supplement, a food ingredient, or a drug.
Many probiotics are sold as dietary supplements, which donât require FDA approval before they are marketed. Dietary supplement labels may make claims about how the product affects the structure or function of the body without FDA approval, but they arenât allowed to make health claims, such as saying the supplement lowers your risk of getting a disease, without the FDAâs consent.
If a probiotic is going to be marketed as a drug for treatment of a disease or disorder, it has to meet stricter requirements. It must be proven safe and effective for its intended use through clinical trials and be approved by the FDA before it can be sold.
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