Thursday, June 20, 2024

What Are Probiotics And What Are They Used For

Benefits For The Mind And Brain

Probiotics: Are They Really Necessary? | Talking Point | Diet

Gut health is about more than just digestion. Scientific evidence shows that the gut and the brain stand in constant communication with each other. You may have noticed this connection when your stomach drops or you have a gut feeling. This gut-brain axis influences many mental health conditions.

More research shows the important role that gastrointestinal health plays in improving mood and supporting focus and memory.

How To Use Them Safely

The FDA regulates probiotics like foods, not like medications. Unlike drug companies, makers of probiotic supplements don’t have to show their products are safe or that they work.

Ask your doctor if taking probiotics is a good idea for you. In general, probiotic foods and supplements are thought to be safe for most people, though some people with immune system problems or other serious health conditions shouldn’t take them.

In some cases, mild side effects might include an upset stomach, diarrhea, gas, and bloating for the first couple of days after you start taking them. They may also trigger allergic reactions. Stop taking them and talk to your doctor if you have problems.

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How Popular Are Probiotics

The 2012 National Health Interview Survey showed that about 4 million U.S. adults had used probiotics or prebiotics in the past 30 days. Among adults, probiotics or prebiotics were the third most commonly used dietary supplement other than vitamins and minerals. The use of probiotics by adults quadrupled between 2007 and 2012. The 2012 NHIS also showed that 300,000 children age 4 to 17 had used probiotics or prebiotics in the 30 days before the survey.

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How Much Is Needed

The amount needed for health effects varies widely, depending on the species and strain of probiotic and the desired health benefit. Different probiotics are effective at different levels some products are effective at a level of 50 million live cells per day and others at over one trillion. Yogurt commonly contains between 100 million and 10 billion live probiotics per serving. Follow manufacturers recommendations for the levels needed from specific products. Because probiotics do not permanently stay in the intestinal tract, daily consumption of probiotics is generally recommended.

Are There Any Storage Instructions For Probiotics

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Several probiotic strains are very fragile and need to be protected from heat, oxygen, light and humidity. The probiotics might start to break down or die if they are exposed to these elements. Because of this, you may need to refrigerate your probiotics or store it in a particular place. Refrigerating certain probiotic strains ensures that theyre still viable when you go to use them and will still provide the full benefit of the probiotic. Always read the labels on any probiotic product you purchase to make sure you store it correctly and use it within the expiration date.

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How To Take Probiotics

The quality of a supplement containing probiotics is determined by the diversity of probiotics and the number of bacteria in each tablet, as this will promote balance and faster development of a healthy intestinal flora.

It is recommended that the supplement should have between 2 to 10 billion active bacteria. However, health specialists are best placed to prescribe products and dosages in harmony with the problem to be treated.

Experts say that it is good to try the supplement for a month, and if there is no improvement in that period, it would be wise to try a different supplement.

On the other hand, probiotics should be taken before or after a meal, so that the food helps the bacteria to survive the gastric acid and reach the intestine, where it will be easier for them to multiply.

Finally, it is important to note that in addition to the consumption of probiotics in the form of supplements or foods rich in these bacteria, it is necessary to have a healthy diet rich in fibre, as fibre is the main food for probiotics.

Reduce The Severity Of Certain Allergies And Eczema

The gut houses the majority of the immune system, which is directly related to allergies. Keeping the digestive tract healthy has been of interest in helping relieve allergies and skin conditions like eczema.

In many studies that used the probiotic strains of Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium among adults, positive effects have been shown, including reductions in symptoms and in the prevalence of eczema.

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Supplements Vs Probiotic Foods: Whats Better

Probiotics are added to some foods like yogurt and cultured cottage cheese. They are naturally occurring in fermented foods like buttermilk, kefir, and sauerkraut. Raw cheese made from unpasteurized milk is another source.

Some experts support the health benefits of raw milk and products made from raw milk, but it shouldnt be given to children. Raw milk may contain dangerous bacteria. It can cause life-threatening illness.

If youre wondering if probiotic supplements or foods are better, the answer isnt clear-cut. Getting nutrients from whole foods is usually best. But in the case of probiotics, your child may not be able to get enough from food alone. Probiotics in foods may not survive the manufacturing and storage processes. Unless you have a lab in your kitchen, theres no way of knowing exactly how much made it out alive.

The same could be said for probiotic supplements. In the supplement world, products are not created equal. Supplements are not well-regulated. When you buy probiotic supplements, you assume the product contains what it advertises. In reality, you may not always get what you think youre buying.

Only buy supplements from reputable brands. Check the expiration date before using. Review storage requirements so you know if the product needs refrigeration.

If your doctor recommends giving your child probiotics, consider these options:

Certain Probiotic Strains Can Help Keep Your Heart Healthy

Do You Need Probiotics for Down There?

Probiotics may help keep your heart healthy by lowering LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.

Certain lactic acid-producing bacteria may reduce cholesterol by breaking down bile in the gut .

Bile, a naturally occurring fluid mostly made of cholesterol, helps digestion.

A review of 5 studies found that eating a probiotic yogurt for 28 weeks reduced total cholesterol by 4% and LDL cholesterol by 5% .

Another study conducted over 6 months found no changes in total or LDL cholesterol. However, the researchers did find a small increase in HDL cholesterol .

Consuming probiotics may also lower blood pressure. A review of 9 studies found that probiotic supplements reduce blood pressure, but only modestly .

In order to experience any benefits related to blood pressure, supplementation had to exceed 8 weeks and 10 million colony-forming units daily .

Bottom Line:

Probiotics may help protect the heart by reducing bad LDL cholesterol levels and modestly lowering blood pressure.

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How Do Probiotics Work

The main job of probiotics, or good bacteria, is to maintain a healthy balance in your body. Think of it as keeping your body in neutral. When you are sick, bad bacteria enters your body and increases in number. This knocks your body out of balance. Good bacteria works to fight off the bad bacteria and restore the balance within your body, making you feel better.

Good bacteria keeps you healthy by supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation. Certain types of good bacteria can also:

  • Help your body digest food.
  • Keep bad bacteria from getting out of control and making you sick.
  • Create vitamins.
  • Help support the cells that line your gut to prevent bad bacteria that you may have consumed from entering your blood.
  • Breakdown and absorb medications.

This balancing act is naturally happening in your body all of the time. You dont actually need to take probiotic supplements to make it happen. Good bacteria is just a natural part of your body. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fiber every day helps to keep the number of good bacteria at proper levels.

How To Use Baby Probiotic

Follow all directions on the product package. Refer to the label directions for your specific product to see if the dose should be swallowed whole, chewed, sprinkled onto food or mixed with liquid. If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Some probiotic products may contain live bacteria . Antibiotics may prevent these products from working well. Take any product containing live bacteria at least 2 to 3 hours before or after taking antibiotics. Follow the directions for your specific product.

If you are taking this product for diarrhea due to antibiotics, do not use it if you have a high fever or for more than 2 days, unless directed by your doctor. You may have a serious problem that requires medical treatment.

If your condition persists or worsens, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention.

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The Benefits Of Yogurt

Have you noticed that the yogurt section of most grocery stores has practically taken over the dairy aisle? Itâs getting harder to find more traditional dairy foods, such as cottage cheese and sour cream, amid the sea of yogurt options. But it only makes sense that a food with as many health benefits as yogurt be given prime real estate in the supermarket.

And just what are the health benefits of yogurt?

First off, let us not forget that yogurt comes from milk. So yogurt eaters will get a dose of animal protein , plus several other nutrients found in dairy foods, like calcium, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-12, potassium, and magnesium.

But one of the words we’re hearing more and more of regarding yogurt is “probiotics.” Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” that are naturally present in the digestive system. Live strains of these “good bacteria” are also found in many yogurt products. While more research needs to be done, there’s some evidence that some strains of probiotics can help boost the immune system and promote a healthy digestive tract.

Here are six possible health benefits to having some yogurt each day:

Probiotics Benefits And Dysbiosis


The potential benefits of probiotics have been recognised for a while. Thats why doctors often prescribe a probiotic supplement at the same time as an antibiotic, often to prevent diarrhoea.

Probiotic supplements can help by adding beneficial bacteria that stabilise and balance the communities of bacteria in your gut microbiome: when they are off-kilter, it can cause dysbiosis.

This condition happens when the balance of bacteria is off, and microbes with potentially negative health consequences settle down in the gut or become too abundant. It causes inflammation and digestive problems.

And probiotics might well be the solution to dysbiosis, and help prevent many diseases. The applications of probiotics in research are very widespread now we have the technology to assess the gut microbiome. In fact, probiotics can even be used to effectively treat depression according to recent research.

Also Check: Do Probiotics Have Calcium In Them

Common Strains Of Probiotics

The most well-known strains of probiotic bacteria are members of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera. Lesser-known probiotics that are administered for specific health issues like diarrhoea and gastrointestinal issues include Bacillus coagulans, Escherichia coli Nissle and Enterococcus faecium.

Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse / Unsplash

Its true that some members of the E. coli species and Enterococcus genus are linked with infections but others like the ones we mentioned can help support and normalise your bowel function.

Yeasts can also perform probiotic functions, like Saccharomyces boulardii, that protects against gastrointestinal disorders and antibiotic-induced diarrhoea. It is nearly identical to another member of the same genus: S. cerevisiae, that you probably know better as brewers yeast and bakers yeast.

FACTMany probiotics used for humans contain strains that are also administered to pets, including dogs.

Good Bacteria In The Gut

Probiotics are live microorganisms available without a prescription for use as dietary supplements to treat or prevent diarrhea and other gastrointestinal conditions. Probiotics are often referred to as good microorganisms because they help supplement those already existing in a healthy human, but they may be lacking due to recent antibiotic use or inflammatory or infectious diarrhea. Probiotic supplements, available in capsules, powders, tablets, and liquids, or in foods such as fermented milk and yogurt, are generally safe and cause few side effects. They are often recommended by healthcare professionals for the prevention or treatment of diarrhea from a variety of causes.

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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.

Probiotics For Babies: A Good Idea

Prebiotics & probiotics

Probiotics for babies are said to treat diarrhea, ease allergies, and even help baby colic. But do they work? And are they really a good idea for babies?

Here, were sharing everything you need to know about infant probiotics.

In this article:

  • What are probiotics for babies?
  • Are there benefits of probiotics for babies?
  • The best probiotics for babies?
  • How should babies take probiotics?
  • Probiotics for babies: The bottom line

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Is It Safe To Take Probiotics Daily

For healthy individuals, probiotics have a long history of being safe and beneficial to use daily. Thats because most probiotic supplements typically use the same microbes that already exist naturally in the human gut.

The risk is greater for people with severe medical conditions or who are immunocompromised as supplementation. If you have a severe medical condition or are immunocompromised, please consult with your healthcare practitioner before you start using a probiotic supplement.

Milk Enzymes: Allies Of Intestinal Balance

Among the microorganisms with probiotic action, milk enzymes are of great importance for the balance of the intestinal microbiota.

Their action, in fact, contributes to the enzymatic fermentation of certain sugars, necessary for the production of lactic acid.

Normally, milk enzymes are activated in case of intestinal imbalance, irritable colon and various dysfunctions of the digestive system, to fight swelling or other symptoms that may arise and rebalance the intestinal flora.

Milk enzymes are also useful in helping to lower blood cholesterol levels and contain the symptoms of food allergies.

They are present in yoghurt, cream cheese and fermented milk and favor the metabolization of lactose.

Lactic acid bacteria can also be found in plant-based foods, from sauerkraut, miso, tempeh to kombucha tea.

They can also be taken as needed in the form of supplements, usually with dosages of 1 billion per strain per day or more , which should be accompanied by a diet rich in vegetables to facilitate their development.

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Understanding The Health Benefits Of Taking Probiotics

What are the benefits of taking probiotics? Bacteria have a reputation for causing disease, so the idea of tossing down a few billion a day for your health might seem literally and figuratively hard to swallow. But a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria. Northern Europeans consume a lot of these beneficial microorganisms, called probiotics , because of their tradition of eating foods fermented with bacteria, such as yogurt. Probiotic-laced beverages are also big business in Japan.

Some digestive disease specialists are recommending probiotic supplements for disorders that frustrate conventional medicine, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies suggest that probiotic therapy can help treat several gastrointestinal ills, delay the development of allergies in children, and treat and prevent vaginal and urinary infections in women.

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Probiotics May Help Boost Your Immune System

Can Taking Too Much Probiotics Be An Issue?

Probiotics may help give your immune system a boost and inhibit the growth of harmful gut bacteria .

Also, some probiotics have been shown to promote the production of natural antibodies in the body. They may also boost immune cells like the IgA-producing cells, T lymphocytes and natural killer cells (

Bottom Line:

Certain probiotics may help you lose weight and belly fat. However, other strains have been linked to weight gain.

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Probiotics Help Balance The Friendly Bacteria In Your Digestive System

Probiotics include good bacteria. These are live microorganisms that can provide health benefits when consumed .

These benefits are thought to result from the ability of probiotics to restore the natural balance of gut bacteria .

An imbalance means there are too many bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria. It can happen due to illness, medication such as antibiotics, poor diet and more.

Consequences can include digestive issues, allergies, mental health problems, obesity and more .

Probiotics are usually found in fermented foods or taken as supplements. Whats more, they appear to be safe for most people.

Bottom Line:

Probiotics are live microorganisms. When taken in sufficient amounts, they can help restore the natural balance of gut bacteria. As a result, health benefits may follow.

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