How Probiotics Work
We all know that probiotics are really important, especially if you are taking antibiotics, and that they are good for our body… but what are they exactly and how do they work? Read on and we’ll tell you all the important pieces of information.
Probiotics are live microorganisms, bacteria, that can usually be found in yogurt, similar fermented foods, beauty products and dietary supplements. They have numerous health benefits when they are consumed, and even when they are applied to the body. These bacteria help us digest food, produce vitamins, and destroy cells that cause some diseases.
Many of them can be naturally found in human bodies. In fact, there are 10 times more bacteria in our body than there are our body’s cells, believe it or not. Most of them live in our gut and are harmless, or even helpful. You just need to have the right kind, and that’s where probiotics in form of supplements usually come in.
These supplements contain a variety of microorganisms, and different types of probiotics may have different effects. The most common (helpful) groups of probiotic bacteria include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. There are many different species and strains that belong to these groups. There may also be used other bacteria, as well as some yeasts, such as the very beneficial Saccharomyces boulardii.
It is important to know that different probiotics affect different health conditions and have different effects. That is why it is very important to consult your physician in order to choose the right type for your body or health problem. There are also some types of supplements that combine several different species in one supplement. They are called broad-spectrum probiotics or multi-probiotics.
In addition to taking supplements with probiotics, you should also try to take in as many probiotic foods as possible to improve your digestive tract and health in general. You are most likely to find probiotics in fermented foods.
Probiotic foods are, among others, yogurt (but make sure to get one with live cultures), tempeh, kimchi, kefir, miso, pickles, and sauerkraut.
The most common effects of taking probiotics
Probiotics can have many different effects on your body. They usually:
- Influence your immune system and enhance your immune response.
- Help you keep a healthy community of microorganisms, or get back into a healthy condition after being sick
- Affect your digestive system
- Help you lose weight
- Keep your skin healthy
- Reduce risk of many diseases
There have also been many studies on probiotics and their effectiveness – a lot has been learned and a lot is still left to be learned. What we know for now is that probiotics can prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea, as well as necrotizing enterocolitis and sepsis in premature infants. Research also shows that it can help treat infant colitis, periodontal disease and even help maintenance or remission of ulcerative colitis.
As mentioned above, there are many types of probiotics and scientist are still figuring out which ones are helpful and which ones are not, what the appropriate dosages are and what conditions they are most likely to benefit.
To sum up
It is very important to work on your health on a daily basis and a part of those healthy habits should be probiotics. You can decide whether you prefer to take them in through probiotic foods such as yogurt or kefir, or through probiotic supplements – but remember that you should definitely make it a part of your routine.
Whether you are trying to improve your overall health, fix digestive problems, lose weight or just improve your immune system, probiotics are a great addition to every human’s diet.