And You Are Probably Asking If All Probiotics Are The Same
The answer is NO. A probiotic is characterized by belonging to a genus and a species and, finally, by a specific strain . That way, probiotics are given specific properties and benefits, although each one has its own unique characteristics and health benefits.
Most Lactobacillus help maintain the health of the gastrointestinal tract, and some Lactobacilli strainsLactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricusin association with Streptococcus thermophilus help with lactose digestion.
And what about bifidobacteria? Most bifidobacteria help prevent and reduce diarrhea associated with antibiotic treatment or viral infections. Furthermore, specific strains have been shown to strengthen the gut barrier or improve digestive symptoms.
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Probiotics Can Aid Digestion And Help Maintain Gut Health
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.
Self-dosing with bacteria isn’t as outlandish as it might seem. An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel. These microorganisms generally don’t make us sick most are helpful. Gut-dwelling bacteria keep pathogens in check, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function.
What Do Probiotics Do For Your Gut
Probiotics help balance the good and bad bacteria in your gut to keep everything healthy and balanced. Probiotics are good bacteria that you add to your gut, via diet or by taking a probiotic supplement, to help support your health. How? They add the good bacteria your gut wants and help to keep the microbiome in your gut balanced and working harmoniously with your body.
The benefits that you should expect from a probiotic are dependent on its strain. By adding the right probiotic to your gut, you can help manage the occasional symptoms that can be caused by an imbalance in your microbiome. Bifidobacterium 35624, Alignâs flagship strain in 24/7 Digestive Support,Â§* can help calm occasional abdominal discomfort, gas, and bloating.*
Determine what benefit youâre looking for out of a probiotic, then from there you can choose the best probiotic for you.
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Can I Get Probiotics From Food
You can absolutely increase beneficial microbes in your body from the foods you eat. Certain foods have probiotics in them and can benefit the health of your microbiome.
These foods can be introduced into your diet at any point of the day. You may even be regularly eating them now and not realize that they contain probiotics. You will want to check the food label for live and active cultures. A few suggestions for just some of the probiotic-rich foods you can add to your diet and some times to try them include:
For breakfast, try:
Probiotic supplements may be combined with a prebiotic. Prebiotics are complex carbohydrates that feed the microorganisms in your gut. Basically, prebiotics are the food source for the good bacteria. They help feed the good bacteria and keep it healthy. Prebiotics include inulin, pectin and resistant starches.
When you have a supplement that combines a probiotic and prebiotic, its called a synbiotic.
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.
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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.
Can I Use Probiotics To Help With Medical Conditions
There is currently a large amount of research happening around the idea of what probiotics can do for your body. Even though there are a lot of possibly positive outcomes, researchers are still working to find definitive answers about how probiotics can help with various conditions.
However, there are some medical conditions where probiotics may help. This can vary between people meaning that what works for one person may not work for another. These can also vary based on the certain probiotic that is taken.
Some of the conditions that might be helped by increasing the amount of probiotics in your body include:
- Upper respiratory infections .
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Open The Conversation About Gut Health
Gut health is all too often a taboo topic, but it shouldnât be. Probiotics user Julie said, âMy friends and I talk about gut issues. I donât think itâs that secretive. And as soon as you talk about it, everybody else mentions the same issues. As we get older we all have very similar issues.â
Everyone has a gut. The more you talk about digestive health, the more empowered you are to find solutions to help ensure you keep it running at its best. Thereâs no need for you to go through life stressed about your digestion.
Probiotics Vary In Their Health Benefits And Appropriate Applications In Food And Beverages
Although it is currently yet not possible to predict which strains work best, research efforts are underway to understand exactly the specific features of probiotics that are necessary for the observed health outcomes. Whether a probiotic works directly on mucosal tissues or indirectly through modulation of the human microbiome, or some combination of both, knowledge on the molecular mechanisms of probiotic function will ultimately improve the probiotic selection process and guidelines for use. Until then, it is always a good idea to read the label of your probiotic products to find out which species and strains of those species are included.
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Probiotics Can Help Clear Up Your Skin
You know bacteria can make you break outbut the good bugs might keep the zits at bay.
Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis are two major bacterial inhabitants of pimples in acne, says Dr. Garden. This bacteria hangs out in your pores, contributing to the growth of blackheads and pimples, he says.
While some types of dairy may be problematic, like milk and ice cream, the probiotics in foods like yogurt may help calm the inflammation in your skin. The fermentation process may also result in lower levels of an acne-triggering hormone called IGF-1, Whitney Bowe, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, recently toldMens Health.
Should I Give Probiotics To My Kids
Probiotics can be beneficial for both adults and kids. If your child has an illness that requires an antibiotic medication for treatment, taking a probiotic can help shorten symptoms. Probiotics can also be used to help relieve constipation, acid reflux, diarrhea, gas and eczema in children.
Introducing probiotics into your childs diet through food is typically a safe way to give them probiotics. Foods like yogurt and cottage cheese are often part of a balanced diet and can add in good bacteria without much risk.
There are commercially available probiotic supplements specifically designed for infants and children. However, it is important to talk to your childs pediatrician before giving them any probiotic supplement or changing the childs diet to include probiotic-rich foods.
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What Are The Bad Bacteria
Bad bacteria arenât always that bad. If we have enough balance in our digestive and immune systems, bad bacteria really donât do much to our bodies. In fact, they sometimes work with the good bacteria to help us build immunity to other germs and illnesses.
But if there is not enough good bacteria and too much bad bacteria, then some more serious illnesses can occur like auto-immune diseases or cancer. This is the reason why we still try to avoid the bad germs and bacteria by wiping down surfaces and washing our hands.
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
The small and large intestines usually contain different types of bacteria. SIBO occurs when bacteria from the large intestine start growing in the small intestine.
The large intestine predominantly contains anaerobic bacteria, which do not require oxygen and live by fermenting indigestible carbohydrates from plant-based foods as they pass through the gut.
Symptoms of SIBO are similar to those of IBS, including gas, bloating, and diarrhea. SIBO can also cause brain fogginess and short-term memory problems.
Not everyone with IBS has SIBO, but the overgrowth is more common in people with IBS. SIBO also frequently develops in older females.
Experts do not fully understand what causes the overgrowth, but it may result from reduced gut motility, which slows the passage of food through the gut. This can cause fermentable carbohydrates to remain in the small intestine for longer.
Results of a indicate a possible link between SIBO and probiotic supplementation in people with brain fogginess. The researchers found that symptoms improved when participants stopped taking probiotics and started taking antibiotics.
Anyone with SIBO symptoms should consult a doctor.
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Which Probiotic Is Best For Skin
Acidophilus, is one of the best-known probiotics strains. This strain was found to be beneficial in helping people with inflammatory bowel disease. L. acidophilis has also been shown to help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that people who were given a daily probiotic supplement for six months were less likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who did not take the supplement.
Probiotics May Improve Digestive Health
Using probiotics may help reduce diarrhea caused by things like antibiotic use, cancer therapy, and hospital infections. Bacteria strains of Streptococcus and Lactobacillus can help, but doctors also use yeast strains, such as various Saccharomyces boulardii, to help prevent diarrhea, according to a paper published in March 2016 in the International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences.
If dairy gives you bad gas, you may have lactose intolerance, which is caused by a deficiency in the enzyme lactase. The good news is that probiotics seem to help with lactose digestion. Studies show that the probiotic used to make yogurt release lactase, which takes over the bodys usual responsibility of digesting lactose.
If your gassiness isnt due to lactose intolerance or associated with recurrent diarrhea from any of the aforementioned reasons, you may have a condition called irritable bowel syndrome . IBS is a default diagnosis that is used for unexplained digestive symptoms, such as gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. Some studies suggest probiotics can help relieve symptoms of IBS.
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They Can Affect Emotional Health Too*
Several studies have found that probiotics seem to reduce the body’s stress response and positively affect cognitive function.*
How? The mechanisms are complex, but good bacteria in the gut are capable of producing mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine.*
And because these bugs have a direct link to the central nervous system, via a pathway called the vagus nerve, they play a key role in regulating mood.*
And that can have real effects: In one study, when women were shown pictures of angry faces, those who ate probiotic yogurt twice a day for four weeks before seeing the pictures felt calmer compared to those women who didn’t eat the yogurt.
Probiotics Can Help With Ulcers
Peptic ulcers are commonly caused by an infection of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori . H. pylori is present in more than half of the worlds population and in most people it never causes any problems.
However, in some people this bacterium can lead to the formation of an ulcer, causing abdominal pain, nausea, loss of appetite, frequent burping, bloating and unintentional weight loss. H. pylori can be treated with antibiotics .
There is a growing amount of research that shows that probiotics can help manage an H. pylori infection, by increasing the eradication rate, improving symptoms and lowering treatment associated side effects.
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Optimize Gut Function By Balancing The Bacteria In Your Digestive System
Keeping the gut microbiome balanced allows for normal gut function, while some changes to the gut bacteria can lead to problems. Probiotics can help maintain the healthy balance of bacteria in the gut and help repopulate with healthy bacteria after conditions that disturbed the microbiome.
For example, taking antibiotics kills off many of your good gut bacteria. This leaves room for bad bacteria, viruses, and fungi to overgrow. Taking a probiotic during and after antibiotics is a must for sustained health.
Why Are Probiotics Good For You
Youve probably heard of probiotics and that they are good for your health, specifically for digestive health, but what exactly are they?
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms found naturally throughout your body and especially in your digestive system. They are sometimes called live cultures or good bacteria because they help keep your intestinal bacteria balanced. One way is by protecting against other types of bacteria that cause disease or illness. When too many bad bacteria are in the gut, probiotics can help fight them off to rebalance the gut.
There are thousands of species of bacteria that act as probiotics.
One of the most common is Lactobacillus, which can help support the immune system, healthy blood sugar levels, digestion and may help prevent yeast infections.
Another species, Bifidobacterium, is often used to manage symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome , while also being beneficial for mental health and addressing eczema in infants.
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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.
What Should We Look For When Choosing A Probiotic Supplement
There are two key issues when choosing a probiotic: the first is to ensure that the product contains enough bacteria to have an effect the second is to ensure that it survives the acidic environment of the stomach in order to reach the large intestine. Examples of probiotics that meet this criteria include Alforex, Yakult, Symprove and VSL #3. Each of these is designed to treat different symptoms, so if you are thinking about taking a probiotic, seek advice from a specialist dietitian or GP to ensure you take the correct one.
Unless stated differently by manufactures, probiotics should be taken for a minimum of four weeks before effects may be seen. If no improvement is noted, it is recommended that you try another brand or stop completely.
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What Really Happens To Your Body When You Start Taking Probiotics
What Really Happens to Your Body When examines the head-to-toe effects of common behaviors, actions and habits in your everyday life.
Probiotics, good-for-you bacteria best known for their connection to healthy digestion, naturally occur in plenty of foods â often the fermented kinds, including kimchi, miso and yogurt. They also come in the form of dietary supplements, and some food brands have taken to adding them to their products .
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Whether probiotics in food or supplemental form is better is still up for debate certain conditions seem to benefit from food-based probiotics, but this isn’t always the case.
A December 2010 study in the âInternational Journal of Food Microbiologyâ examined human saliva and fecal samples after participants consumed either yogurt or probiotic pills and found that both options provided the body with comparable amounts of microorganisms.
Probiotics get their good reputation for benefiting gut health, but they can potentially support the entire body, according to the Cleveland Clinic. While probiotics are naturally part of the human system, increasing your intake â through food or supplements â can be a good way to improve your health.
“Although more research is needed to understand the exact impact of the gut microbiome when it comes to heart health, we now know our gut affects more than digestion.”
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- ulcerative colitis and Crohnâs disease
- tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontitis
The secret to keeping the bodyâs natural probiotics healthy is, among other things, ample prebiotics. Prebiotics are basically probiotic food: specific organic compounds, like carbs or insulin, that sustain your bodyâs probiotics and help them proliferate.
This is why youâll often hear about foods, drinks, or supplements that boost your probiotic health by providing extra prebiotics, probiotics, or both.
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