The Role Of Probiotics For Your Digestive Health
There are tiny microorganisms that live in our bodies. One of them is called probiotics which are known to provide health benefits to us, their hosts. They are good bacteria that help in keeping our bodies healthy. Furthermore, probiotics support good digestion at the right and controlled levels, improve your body’s nutrient absorption, and even control harmful bacteria such as germs.
Overall, probiotics are bacteria that you want in your body. Let’s get to know more about this beneficial type of bacteria and its role in our digestive health.
What are Probiotics?
The word bacteria will usually induce an adverse reaction or thinking for many people. However, it’s essential to know that there are two types of bacteria in your body, the good bacteria and the bad bacteria. In this case, probiotics are the good bacteria or a combination of good bacteria and/or yeast naturally living in your body that is infinitely beneficial to your health. In fact, they are your body’s defense against harmful bacteria when you get too much of it.
Where do they live in the body?
You will usually find probiotics in your gut, mainly around the large intestines. However, there are also other locations where beneficial microbes (also known as probiotics). These are the mouth, vagina, urinary tract, skin, and lungs.
What are the common types of probiotic bacteria?
There are two most common types of probiotic bacteria. These are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Since yeast can also be found in probiotics, you’ll find the most common type of it to be Saccharomyces Boulardii.
How do probiotics work?
We’ve covered a bit about how beneficial probiotics are in the body, but let’s take a closer look at how they actually work.
At the very heart of it, the primary role of probiotics is to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your body. Overall, they keep your body neutral. When harmful bacteria increase in your body and make you sick, good bacteria try to restore the balance by fighting off the excess bad ones.
Next, they support your immune function and help control inflammation. Below are a few other roles of probiotics in your body:
- Help you digest food better.
- Create vitamins your body needs.
- Break down and absorb any medications you take.
- Support your cells lining your gut, preventing bad bacteria you may have consumed through food or drink from entering your bloodstream.
Can probiotics help with medical conditions?
There is plenty of research being done on the benefits of probiotics when it comes to treating medical conditions. While some are still on the verge of definitive answers, others have provided positive results. It is important to note here, however, that it varies from person to person, as well as the amount of probiotic intake.
Below are some of the conditions that are found to be alleviated with an increased level of probiotics in the body:
- Gum disease
- Yeast infections
- Lactose intolerance
- Urinary tract infections
- Sepsis, usually in infants
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Upper respiratory infections such as ear infections, common cold, sinusitis, and more
How to increase the good probiotics (microbes) in the body?
Now that you know that an increased level of probiotics in the body brings about numerous health benefits, you may be thinking of ways on how to increase yours. Fortunately, there are also various ways to do this, such as through food and/or supplements.
Probiotics from food
Fermented foods and drinks are particularly an excellent source to a host of probiotics. These are healthy foods that you can add to your diet at any time of the day. In fact, you may even be consuming food right now without knowing that they are rich in probiotics. You can check the label, though, for “live and active cultures.” If you’re looking for probiotic foods and drinks specifically, here are a few suggestions:
- Miso soup
- Cottage cheese
- Sourdough bread
- Fermented pickles
- Fermented sauerkraut
While adding more probiotic-rich food and drinks into your diet is a good idea, keeping a healthy balance of other foods is also recommended. Increased levels of probiotics are not exactly harmful, but keeping balance in your body is also essential. This is because focusing on one type of food alone will prevent you from getting other nutrients your body needs.
Probiotics from supplements
Supplements can come in their usual form as capsules/pills, or in our case here in Phemfuel, gummies such as our Gut Probiotic Gummies for Gut Healing. Some probiotic supplements also come as powders or liquids.
Sometimes, probiotic supplements are paired with prebiotics. When this happens, the supplement is called a synbiotic. Prebiotics are complex carbohydrates that are considered the food source of good bacteria. Through it, the good bacteria are kept healthy. It usually contains resistant starches, inulin, and pectin.
Are probiotics completely harmless?
The straight answer is yes, especially for healthy people. As mentioned previously, they are the good bacteria that are already living in your body. Generally, having increased levels of probiotics usually benefit the host. But before raising your probiotic levels, it’s recommended to consult your doctor, especially if you have a weakened immune system, critical illness, or went through a recent surgery.
Below are possible effects for the first few days when taking them for the first time:
- Trigger Allergic Reactions
- Mild Upset Stomach
- Flatulence (Passing Gas)
Below are the unlikely but possible risks of increased probiotics in a compromised body:
- An infection.
- Resistance to antibiotics.
- Other harmful byproducts from the probiotic supplement.
Probiotics and kids
Probiotics are beneficial to both adults and kids. In fact, you can easily and safely incorporate probiotic-rich food into their diet by simply adding yogurt or cottage cheese during snack time or any meal. When it comes to probiotic supplements, there are products made specifically for infants and kids. However, it is recommended to talk to their pediatrician for any decision related to probiotic food or supplements.
Here are some of the benefits of probiotics for children:
- Relieve constipation, gas, diarrhea, acid reflux, and eczema.
- It may help shorten symptoms of illnesses.
Antibiotics and Probiotics
When you’re fighting an infection, you are usually given antibiotics. But while it kills the harmful bacteria, it also knocks out the good ones. That’s why some patients tend to have diarrhea after taking their antibiotic medications. So, after taking antibiotics, it is recommended to follow it up with probiotics after you’re relieved of the diarrhea side effects. Taking probiotics will repopulate the good bacteria in the body to fight off the remaining bad bacteria not affected by the first medication.
So, should you add probiotic food or supplements to your diet? As mentioned, you may already be consuming probiotic food without really knowing. You can recheck our list above if you plan to incorporate probiotic-rich food into your diet. When it comes to probiotic supplements, however, you can check out our Gut Probiotic Gummies for Gut Healing. You can order one today, and we also deliver worldwide! Learn more here.