Probiotics – Usage and benefits

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These days we often hear about probiotics. These are nowadays sold both in liquid and tablet form. Few companies are advertising them as essentials rather than optional or non-essential. In earlier days, probiotics were suggested by doctors for patients with digestive system problems or any immune system issues. However, as medical science started understanding the subject the utilization and benefits extended the scope of prescription and usage.

What Is A Probiotic?

We always take bacteria as our enemy which causes diseases and we have to take medicines (antibiotics) to treat ourselves. But our body is full of good and bad bacteria. We need good bacteria as they help us in several-body regulatory mechanisms. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast which are from the family of good bacteria. They help us keep our gut healthy. Through our gut health, we can help other systems work efficiently as a healthy gut leads to high metabolism, better absorption, effective immunity, and constructive digestion.

Working Principal

We already have good bacteria in our gut. However, due to several factors such as the use of antibiotics, certain ailments, poor diet, weight loss dieting, etc. gut bacteria may get affected. The use of probiotics can help stabilize gut bacteria configuration. It increases the number of good bacteria leading to a large number of health benefits.

Types Of Probiotics

There are many types of probiotics. However, while putting them to human consumption, we have to see how we intake them and bacteria survive our acidic stomach configuration to reach our gut.

  1. Bifidobacterium : It is mostly in dairy products. It is effective in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and few other similar conditions.
  2. Saccharomyces Boulardii : This is basically a type of yeast. It helps in stabilizing the gut bacteria configuration. Mostly used to fight diarrhea and other digestive problems.

Benefits Of Probiotics

  • Balances Healthy bacteria in gut
  • Prevents and treats diarrhea
  • Improve brain functioning
  • Required for healthy circulatory system
  • Reduces severity of allergies.
  • Boosts immune system
  • Helps in fat loss
  • Prevents accumulation of visceral fat
  • Reduces side effects of antibiotics.
  • Fights food borne diseases.

Treatment In Medical Conditions

There are certain medical conditions where probiotics have found space on doctors’ prescriptions. Although researchers are still trying to find out the mechanism behind the health benefits resulting in treating certain medical conditions, the use of probiotics is increasing by the day. Few medical conditions are:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disorder
  • Diarrhea
  • Side effects of antibiotics
  • Prevention of allergies and cold
  • Skin health
  • Urinary and vaginal health
  • Oral health

What Is A Prebiotic?

As more and more research is going into understanding probiotics, medical science is trying to make delivery more effective and efficient. It was realized that to have good growth of bacteria in the gut, we should also provide food that bacteria like. Hence intake of probiotics was complemented with prebiotics.

Prebiotic fiber is a non-digestible part of food that reaches the small intestines undigested and is fermented when it further travels to the large intestine and colon. This fermented food feeds bacteria colonies including bacteria received from probiotics. This helps increase the number of desirable bacteria which are associated with better health.

Probiotics From Food

We have abundant diety products which contain probiotics. Unfortunately, the latest food processing techniques and refrigeration destroy bacteria making our food less beneficial. We must understand that fresh and fermented foods have huge benefits and must be considered over-processed food. Few items which are still available and can be added to our daily diet are:

  • Yogurt
  • Pickles
  • Buttermilk
  • Cheese
  • Fermented homemade drinks
  • Fermented Dough chapatti or bread

Are Probiotics Safe?

Probiotic supplements are safe however people with certain diseases and immune conditions should take them after a doctor’s advice. Probiotics normally can be taken for long durations and do not pose any side effects or danger to health. As there are many types of probiotics, one must take those which are required for the condition to treat or address.

Dosage Of Probiotics

Different brands claim different numbers of bacteria and colonies. From 1 billion to 100 billion live bacteria or colony-forming units (CFU) per day is safe. Once can take higher doses in case of diarrhea or bacterial imbalance due to any medical condition.

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