Shop MONQ’s <span>best selling</span> AROMATHERAPY BLENDS

Shop MONQ’s best selling AROMATHERAPY BLENDS

shop now
probiotics benefits|probiotics benefits|probiotics benefits|probiotics benefits|||probiotics benefits

Health & Wellness

All About Probiotics

You have probably heard a lot about probiotics recently. There are lots of new food products on the market, including yogurts, milks, and pre-packaged museli products that are marketed as having probiotics in them. If the advertisements are to be believed, then they can improve digestive health, reduce bloating, help with weight loss, and serve many other purposes. Is this really true? What’s the fuss all about? Answers to these questions are outlined below.

probiotics benefits What Are Probiotics?


Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that can help improve digestive health. People have hundreds of different kinds of bacteria living in the gut. Collectively, this is known as the gut microbiome, and humans have a symbiotic relationship with those bacteria. 1 They feed on the things that people eat, and in turn, they help with food digestion. They have many other complex impacts on health and well-being including suppressing food cravings, improving mood, and more.

The idea behind probiotics is that they can replace or support some of the more important bacteria that is in the body. This can be helpful if an individual has just taken a course of antibiotics. Or, there may be a concern that a diet has been damaging the good gut flora and promoting the growth of less desirable gut flora.

History of Probiotics


The concept of probiotics is relatively new compared to some other elements of nutrition and health. While the term itself was not used, the general idea was first introduced in the early 20th century by Elie Metchnikoff, who is a Nobel laureate and is now widely regarded as the being the founder of probiotics.

Metchnikoff suggested the idea that consuming beneficial microorganisms could help improve a person's health and wellbeing. Further investigation suggested this could be true, and the phrase probiotics was coined. 2

Are Probiotics Safe? probiotics benefits


Most individuals are brought up to fear bacteria and microbes. After all, these are the things that make people sick. Why would you want to eat or drink them? While the idea is counterintuitive, probiotics are generally considered to be safe.

Researchers have investigated the safety of using probiotics and have found that while there are some risks associated with the use of probiotics in people who are immunocompromised or critically ill, their use in healthy adults is typically safe. 3 When it comes to those who are critically ill, researchers recommend doing a full cost-benefit analysis because there are some areas where probiotics could be helpful.

Benefits of Probiotics


Probiotics have several potential benefits. Studies show that they can be helpful for people who are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). If people who are on antibiotics also take a probiotic, then this can help to prevent certain side effects to antibiotics such as diarrhea. 4

Supporters of probiotics claim they can help reduce the symptoms of eczema, reduce bloating, and even help with weight loss. The evidence to support these claims is less conclusive. However, probiotics are generally considered to be safe and are widely available either through the consumption of probiotic-fortified foods or through the consumption of fermented foods. 5 Therefore, the risk associated with trying probiotics is minimal.

One of the biggest questions to address regarding the use of probiotics is whether it is actually worth taking them orally. To reach the digestive tract where the probiotics would have a beneficial effect, the bacteria must pass through the stomach, which is a highly acidic environment. Then it must pass through the upper intestine, which is also a relatively inhospitable environment. 6

Studies show that some probiotics, such as lactobacilli, can survive in acidic environments, especially if they are taken in the presence of metabolizable sugar such as glucose, fructose, and mannose. 7 Other studies looked at several bacteria present in yogurts and found that those bacteria are present in human feces. This suggests that they can indeed survive the digestive process. 8

The news that these bacteria can survive digestion is particularly interesting because these bacteria have been found to help support lactose digestion. 9 This means that people who are lactose intolerant may benefit from taking probiotics that include such bacteria and enzymes.

probiotics benefits Which Probiotics Work Best?


Another challenge that the probiotic industry faces is that there are several different types of probiotics. There are hundreds of different kinds of bacteria in the gut, and each person's gut microbiome is different. What one person is deficient in, another person may not need.

Figuring out which probiotics are right for you can be quite a challenge. However, there are a few specific probiotics that have earned recognition for having particular benefits, so it is a good idea to start with those.

Lactobacilli


Lactobacilli are the probably the most well-known probiotics because of their health-promoting properties. 10 A lot of commercial probiotics include Lactobacilli. However, this particular kind of bacteria does not form a stable and large population in the intestinal tract. Supplementation with this probiotic can be beneficial, but any benefits are short-term, as populations tend to die off when the supplementation ends.

Bifidobacterium  width=


The Bifidobacterium genus is one that does tend to form populations in the intestinal tract of humans. This strain is also popular in probiotic-enhanced foods and is known to have a number of benefits, including reducing constipation, as well as reducing the risk of traveler's diarrhea. 11 It is also thought to help with reducing eczema symptoms and even promoting healthy cholesterol levels. 12 , 13

Saccharomyces


This particular genus includes a number of different kinds of yeast, and it is most commonly associated with kefir and some kinds of kombucha. It is often promoted as a diarrhea treatment, and it is generally regarded as being effective in this respect. 14 Saccharomyces is thought to be safe for most people to use, but it is not recommended for use by individuals who are immunocompromised.

 width= Bacillus


There are many different bacteria in the genus Bacillus. These are often used for the treatment of diarrhea and are also thought to potentially have benefits as a treatment for H. pylori , which can be associated with stomach ulcers. 15 More research is needed to determine the safety and effectiveness of Bacillus-type probiotics because while many of the bacteria in that family are indeed safe, there are others that could cause problems for people who are immunosuppressed.

Escherichia


This is a particularly promising type of probiotic that is also rather unusual. Escherichia coli is perhaps best known as being a very nasty food-borne infection. However, when it is combined with other probiotics and used in a controlled fashion, it can be used to treat constipation, alleviate symptoms of IBS, and help with other gastric issues. 16

Should You Be Using Probiotics? probiotics benefits


If you are struggling to lose weight, feel bloated or tired, are suffering from low moods, or have general gastric troubles, then probiotics could be beneficial for you. As with most things, they are not a miracle cure. You cannot be certain that any one type of probiotic will help you or even that the dose you get from probiotic-enriched foods will be sufficient to offer any benefits.

You may want to try eating fermented foods, such as kombucha, kimchi, natural yogurts, and kefir, because they all contain probiotics and may well be more beneficial than buying commercially-produced “fortified” foods.

Another option for improving your gut microbiome is to simply try to eat more whole foods and stay away from processed foods, sugars, and artificial sweeteners. The foods that you eat have an influence over the bacteria that grow in your gut.

If you eat a lot of junk food, then you may come to crave it. This is not just because your taste buds are used to it, but also because the bacteria in your gut have been thriving on it. If you stop eating junk food the gut bacteria that feed on it will start to die off and be replaced by bacteria that thrive on fresh fruits and vegetables. Studies show that changing your diet for a period of four weeks is enough to cause changes to the gut microbiome. 17

It may not be easy to make those changes and stick to them, but it will get easier after the four week period has passed since you will have fewer cravings. Be patient and try to find the willpower to make the changes. Try using probiotics as well to see if they help to offset some of the cravings. Commercial probiotics are not the only way to influence your gut flora. You can see significant changes through simply living a healthy lifestyle, and eating more fiber, vegetables, fermented foods, and whole foods.

PhotoCredits: Pixelbliss/shutterstock.com, Uduhunt/shutterstock.com, LightSpring/shutterstock.com, KaterynaKon/shutterstock.com, Metamorworks/shutterstock.com

Related post