Probiotics are live microorganisms which can help our digestive system to work better, balancing our good and bad bacteria to digest food and to have many other benefits. They usually can be found in yogurt ,some fermented foods and some fruits and vegetables especially those that are high in fiber and with a resistant starch.
There is a large variety of probiotics and also many types of supplements so it is important that you should be aware of your condition and select the right probiotic that you need.
Types of probiotics
Probiotics mostly come from two groups, find out from your doctor which one might best suitable for you:
It is the most popular that you can find in yogurt and other fermented food. It can help people who can’t digest lactose or with diarrhea.
It can help to alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, helps to prevent infection and produces important chemicals.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Prebiotics are plant fibers found in many fruits and vegetables, especially those that contain complex carbs that cannot be digested from our body directly so they are processed by bacteria and other micro organisms.
Probiotics contain live organisms, usually specific strains of healthy bacteria that are also present in the digestive system. The most common probiotic is the yogurt other good sources of probiotics are also Kombucha and Kimchi.
Possible side effects of probiotics
The most common symptom reported from people which uses probiotic supplements is bloating and gas increasing or constipation and thirst. You might need to start with a low dose of bacteria-based supplements and slowly increase the dosages.
The presence of amines in some probiotic foods like histamine, tyramine or tryptamine can cause headaches in people that are sensitive to those substances. If that is your case you should opt for probiotic supplements instead of fermented foods.
People with food intolerance or allergies should check the labels of some supplements products as they might contain traces of diary, nut or eggs. In rare cases some individuals can develop an infection from the yeast found in probiotics including people with a weaker immune system or who have undergone recent surgery.
How to choose a probiotic
Generally you should opt for probiotics products with at least 1 billion colony and containing the genus Lactobacillus or Saccharomyces Boulardii which are the most known along with Bifidobacterium. It always important to check the labeling and look for products with added bacteria to the primary cultures.
It is advised to choose fermented probiotic food instead of supplements in particular yogurt, Kombucha (black fermented tea) or kimchi (fermented cabbage). as they can better provide you with healthful bacteria. It might take some time to find the probiotic that works for you. If you cannot find some benefits from one product after few weeks you take it try another with a different strain of bacteria.
Can I take probiotics everyday?
Generally it is safe to take probiotics every day, some people might like to use them periodically or once they need some support. It is important to understand that our lifestyle influences the microbiome balance in our stomach. In simple words we can be exposed to different types of antibiotics or chemicals like chlorine in the water. Other factors to consider can be the use of some types of medication like HRT or contraceptive pills, that can also alter the bacterial colony in your intestines.
More benefits of probiotics
Although more studies need to be elaborate the best effect of probiotic therapy has been in the treatment of diarrhea. Two large reviews together indicates that probiotics can reduce diarrhea associate with the use of antibiotics by 60% if compared with a placebo.
Probiotic therapy can also help people with irritable bowel syndrome. Few studies have shown that some types of probiotics can prevent relapse of Crohn’s disease and to contain the emission of ulcerative colitis. Probiotics can be also helpful to restore the balance of the uterus ecosystem.
Women can eat yogurt for example to treat bacterial vaginosis and to help the urinary tract infections.
Consideration on taking probiotics
Probiotics have a history of few bad side effects and a safe use for people that are in a good healthy condition. The risk of more harmful effects can rise with people that have severe illnesses or a weak immune system. Some risks might include infections and the production and transfer of harmful substances to other microorganisms in the digestive tract.
Some people have also reported to bacterial or fungal infections after the use of probiotics.
How do you know if probiotics are working?
The first improvement that you will notice is in the digestion including a more regular bowel movement reducing inflammation and gas or bloating. Reducing inflammation in your guts can improve your energy levels as an imbalance in the digestive bacterial flora can make it difficult for the body to absorb all the nutrients from food.
Bacteria in our stomach can influence how the brain communicate with the digestive system in the production of certain chemicals that influence our mood like serotonin for example. Probiotic bacteria can help also the body to absorb food nutrients and to strength the immune system preventing large particles of food from to enter into the blood stream.
To maintain a healthy and balanced intestinal flora it is very important for all the benefits that have been illustrated in this post. It is important to understand how probiotics work and which might be best for you. Consult first with your doctor if you have tried different probiotics and none are working. Always Consider to opt for a high quality of supplement reading the labels and checking the ingredients to avoid bad allergic reactions. Hope you enjoy this post and see you on the next healthy episode!