What Are Probiotics?

Posted by Luisa de Luca on


Probiotic Rich Foods

Twenty-five years ago hardly anyone outside the medical field had heard of probiotics. However, since the mid-nineties, the conversation has budded and bloomed. What are probiotics and what are they used for? First, there are some people who should not take probiotics. Those with immune system problems or other serious health problems should not take them. Anyone considering the use of probiotics should have a thorough conversation with their doctor before starting. Generally speaking, probiotics are believed to be safe. The FDA consider probiotic as foods, not medication. Because this is so, they do not have to stand up to the stricter rigors put forth by the FDA. It is not required that the manufacturers show that their products are safe or that they work. Probiotics are found in some foods, in your body, and even as supplements. They are made up of yeasts and ‘good’ bacteria. There are bad and good bacteria in our bodies. Obviously, we want the good bacteria. The bad bacteria are the ones that cause health problems and diseases. To function with a healthy body, the good bacteria needs to be there doing its job, which is to make sure you have a healthy gut.

What Do Probiotics Do? Probiotics replace the good bacteria in your gut when they have been destroyed. The most common way the good bacteria is destroyed is by taking a series of antibiotics. In an effort to keep you body working well, probiotics will balance the good and the bad bacteria.

Are There Different Types of Probiotics? There are many, many types of probiotics. They basically fall into one of two groups.

Lactobacillus: This may be the most common probiotic. It’s the one you’ll find in yogurt and other fermented foods. Different strains can help with diarrhea and may help with people who can’t digest lactose, the sugar in milk, reports WebbMD.

Bifidobacterium: You can also find it in some dairy products. It may help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and some other conditions, also from WebMD.


Gut Health

What About Side Effects? Different health problems are affected by different probiotics. There is still a lot of studying going on to determine which probiotics treat which problems. The goal is to keep food moving through a healthy gut. Gas, nauseousness, or diarrhea and bloating are the most common side effects. Not everyone experiences them, and if they do, it’s usually for the first few days. It is possible to have an allergic reaction taking probiotics. If this is something you experience, stop taking them and see your doctor as soon as possible. At the very least, call your doctor’s office, and report your discomfort.

When Should I Take the Probiotic? There’s quite a debate about when is the best time to take your probiotic. In May, 2015, LiveStrong reported that researchers found that taking the probiotics either 30 minutes before a meal, or with the meal had the best impact. In addition, they noted that it is better to take the probiotics with 1% milk as opposed to juice or water. It was also noted that dietary fat improved the survival of the bacteria. Much discussion has been going on concerning antibiotics and probiotics. Some say the use of probiotics should be stopped while taking an antibiotic prescription. Some say otherwise. The answer is, proven by studies, when taking an antibiotic is the very best time to continue with your probiotics. Among other valuable reasons, the probiotic will reduce the side effects of the antibiotic, including diarrhea. So, there you have, a very brief explanation of probiotics. Because there are so many choices to be made concerning which probiotic will be best for you, doing more research on the subject can only be of benefit. I recommend you do that, and you, along with your doctor, will make the informed decisions necessary.


http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/what-are-probiotics http://www.livestrong.com/article/502816-should-i-take-probiotics-with-or-without-food/ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22531096

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