- What Are Probiotics?
- Bacteria in Probiotics
- 5 Signs of Poor Gut Health
- 7 Best Probiotics
- What To Consider
The gut maintains a healthy immune system and enables the body to perform daily functions.
Having good gut health helps strengthen the immune system, fight off skin conditions, elevate mood, and manage weight. Therefore, to maintain a healthy gut, the presence of good bacteria is essential to keep the harmful microbes in check.
Consuming foods high in probiotics or taking probiotic supplements is one way to maintain your gut health. While there are a few exceptions to this rule, the overall answer is that taking probiotics every day is safe and typically encouraged.
- Probiotics are dietary supplements and not medication. Thus, they are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as strictly as medications.
- You must take a doctor’s advice to choose safe and effective probiotics and their appropriate dosages.
- If you have a weak immunity due to any medications or underlying health conditions, avoid taking probiotic supplements without consulting your doctor.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are a combination of live "good" bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial for the body, especially for the digestive system.
The body contains both good and bad bacteria. When bad bacteria increase in the body, it leads to several ailments and complications.
Probiotics are made of good bacteria that help balance the bad bacteria and keep the body healthy. The good bacteria present in probiotics produce certain beneficial substances that promote health and strengthen the immune system.
Some of the functions performed by probiotics are:
- Aids in digestion
- Balances the bad bacteria in the body and keeps the system healthy and well-functioning
- Helps absorb vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients more easily
- Strengthens the lining of the gut to prevent the entry of the bad bacteria into the bloodstream
- Helps breakdown medication and aids in better absorption
- Helps relieve conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and diarrhea, skin conditions, allergies, urinary tract infections, and improve vaginal health
- Boosts oral health
What are probiotics made of?
According to medical professionals, various bacteria can be considered probiotics.
The most common types of bacteria found in probiotics are:
Probiotics are made up of good yeast as well, and the most common type of yeast found in probiotic preparations is Saccharomyces boulardii.
How to understand the need for probiotics
The body contains both good and bad bacteria and usually, it maintains a healthy balance between the two.
However, due to unhealthy diets, bad bacteria can proliferate rapidly, causing health complications.
5 conditions that can indicate poor gut health
- Inflammation, allergies, and asthma
- Mood disorders or depression, anxiety, and irritability
- Frequent cases of food poisoning and other digestive ailments
- The poor immune system makes the affected susceptible to frequent cases of cold, flu, or viral infections
- Affected by skin conditions, such as psoriasis or acne
7 best probiotics to include in your diet
The regular diet helps balance the microbiome. Certain food items increase beneficial microbes in the body.
The following food items should boost your gut health and should be included in the diet:
- Miso (a Japanese seasoning)
Besides these food sources, sauerkraut, natto, fermented cheese, apple cider vinegar, and olives are good sources of probiotics as well.
What should you consider before including probiotic supplements?
Probiotics supplements are available as capsules, pills, powders, or liquids. The supplements combined with prebiotics are complex carbohydrates that feed the bacteria present in the gut.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor the supplements; therefore, certain factors should be considered before choosing a probiotic supplement.
These supplements are considered safe, but, in certain cases, they can lead to minor side effects. Allergic reactions can get triggered, presenting with stomachache, flatulence, bloating, or diarrhea.
Caution should be followed by people who suffer from chronic ailments, have weakened immune systems, or recently had undergone surgery.
Possible risks of developing infections, resistance to antibiotics, or detrimental byproducts from the supplements are rare but not uncommon.
If you observe symptoms that show poor gut health, consult a medical professional for proper treatment and guidance. Before consuming a probiotic supplement, a proper consultation with your medical advisor is a must.
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Shi LH, Balakrishnan K, Thiagarajah K, Mohd Ismail NI, Yin OS. Beneficial Properties of Probiotics. Trop Life Sci Res. 2016;27(2):73-90. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5031164/
Reid G, Gadir AA, Dhir R. Probiotics: Reiterating What They Are and What They Are Not. Front Microbiol. 2019 Mar 12;10:424. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2019.00424/full
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