What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are living microorganisms (bacteria and yeast) found in the intestines.
Similar probiotics are available in some foods and dietary supplements. Probiotics are sometimes called”good” or”healthy” microorganisms.
Experts believe that these bacteria help maintain a healthy digestive system by limiting the growth of”bad” or”unhealthy” bacteria.
Our digestive system is colonized by a whole series of bacteria that form a complex group called intestinal microbiota.
These bacteria live in symbiosis with our intestines in a delicate balance, which can be affected by food, stress, illness, or some medications.
Eating foods with prebiotics and probiotics may be helpful in maintaining this balance.
Probiotics are intended to improve the population of beneficial intestinal bacteria found in the intestine by promoting their development.
By growing in the intestine and adhering to the intestinal mucosa, they prevent other harmful bacteria from implanting and performing their negative functions, acting as a barrier that prevents colonization of the intestine by pathogenic germs.
Probiotics to fight diarrhea and improve intestinal microbiota
However, the benefits of probiotics should be studied in each species, i.e. the benefits of a particular type of probiotic cannot be extrapolated to others.
Even within the same genus and species, strains may have different probiotic capacity and different functions.
Overall, studies suggest that the benefits focus on improving intestinal health and immune function. They may be helpful in fighting diarrhea in children and adults, as well as other disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome.
The road to better health
The use of probiotics is related to digestive health. Although some probiotics have shown promise in research studies, there is as yet little solid scientific evidence to support the specific use of probiotics to combat health conditions.
They may also improve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any probiotics for the prevention or treatment of health problems.
The benefits of probiotics
The benefits of the immune response, the studies reveal that they favor the activity of the immune mechanisms of the intestinal mucosa, in addition to not allowing potentially pathogenic microorganisms to grow and develop.
In addition, it has been observed that consuming probiotics, such as fermented milks, improves lactose intolerance in those affected by this disorder.
Among its therapeutic possibilities, could even be the prevention of colon cancer, since the intestinal flora is involved in this pathology and there is a close relationship between the type of diet and this malignancy.
In fact, some animal studies have shown that probiotics reduce the risk of colon cancer, however, this has not been proven in humans.
Are probiotics safe?
Probiotics are similar to”good” or”healthy” microorganisms that already live in your digestive system.
Medical studies have not shown that probiotics are harmful to healthy people.
However, people who are very sick and people who have a weak immune system should be cautious about eating or drinking probiotic products or taking probiotic supplements.
Common side effects of taking probiotics may include gas and bloating. Although usually mild and temporary, the most serious side effects include allergic reactions to probiotics or to food or supplement ingredients.
You should talk to your family doctor before you start taking probiotics or any dietary supplements.
He or she can tell you if a probiotic supplement will affect any condition you have. Be sure to tell your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter medications or other dietary supplements you are taking.
There are two main ways to ingest probiotics: the first is through increased consumption of foods with natural probiotics, such as yogurt or kefir, for example, and the other is through the use of probiotic supplements.
Better Foods with Probiotics
It is a list of the best foods that provide probiotics, and it is recommended that at least several of them be in your diet.
Naturally, these are foods that have been fermented, that is, a colony of bacteria has produced their alteration and molecular structure.
- Natural yogurt: they are the main and easiest source of probiotics on the market, but there are also versions of flavored yogurts that keep beneficial bacteria alive.
- Kefir: It is a product fermented with yeast and bacteria, similar to yogurt, but has a higher amount of probiotics.
- Fermented milk: these are special products that generally contain Lactobacillus added by the industry, with Yakult being the most famous.
- Kombucha: is a fermented drink made mainly from black tea.
- Oriental products based on soybeans, legumes, and vegetables such as Miso, Natto, Kimchi, which can be purchased in specialized stores.
To maintain a healthy intestinal flora, at least 1 food source of probiotics per day is recommended, especially after the use of antibiotics that destroy the healthy intestinal flora.
What probiotics do
The main benefits of probiotics are:
- Combat and prevent intestinal diseases such as colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and intestinal inflammation.
- Combat diseases such as cancer, candidiasis, hemorrhoids and urinary tract infection.
Improve digestion and fight acidity.
- Fight constipation and diarrhea by regulating the intestinal transit.
- Increase the absorption of nutrients, such as vitamin B, calcium, and iron.
- Strengthen the immune system by increasing the production of defense cells called macrophages.
- Prevent the growth of bad bacteria in the intestine.
- Help digest lactose, especially in people with lactose intolerance.
- Prevent problems such as obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension.
- Prevent food allergies and intolerances.
A healthy, probiotic-rich intestinal flora begins to form from birth, especially when the baby is born in normal labor and exclusively breastfed at the beginning of life.
What are Probiotic Supplements?
In addition to food, probiotics can also be consumed in the form of supplements in capsules, liquids or sachets, which must be diluted in water or natural juices to be consumed.
Some examples are:
- Lacteol Fort.
- Pediatric Lactipan.
- Floraplus Eptavis.
- Glutapak R.
They can be found in pharmacies and nutrition stores.
There are several types of supplements, including 1 to 10 different types of probiotics. The most important ones are usually:
- Bifidobacteria animalis: helps to strengthen the immune system, as well as facilitate digestion and combat bacteria transmitted by the ingestion of contaminated food.
- Bifidobacteria bifidum: are present in the small and large intestines, helping in the digestion of dairy products.
- Brief bifidobacteria are present in the intestine and vaginal tract, helping to fight bacterial and fungal infections.
- Bifidobacteria longum: One of the most common types of probiotics in the intestine, it helps remove toxins from the body;
- Lactobacillus acidophilus: is perhaps the most important type of probiotic, as it helps in the absorption of various nutrients, in addition to fighting infections and facilitating digestion. L. acidophilus is also present in the vagina, helping to fight infection;
- Lactobacillus reuteri: they are especially present in the mouth, stomach and small intestine and are important against H. pylori infection.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus: They are present in the intestine and can help fight cases of diarrhea quickly, especially when traveling to other countries.
- Lactobacillus fermentum: helps neutralize products and toxins released during digestion, improving the environment for the growth of intestinal flora.
Difference between Prebiotic and Probiotic
While probiotics are healthy bacteria that live in the intestine, prebiotics are fibers that serve as food for probiotics and promote their survival and growth in the intestine.
Some examples of natural prebiotics are oats, onions, garlic, green bananas and green banana biomass.
Properties of Probiotics
- Improves Moodiness.
- These microorganisms help the gastrointestinal health of the human body and are therefore key elements in our overall health and well-being.
- This is particularly true considering that many of the common chronic diseases begin in the digestive system.
Restoring the Intestinal Tract
With more than 400 different bacteria living in the human gastrointestinal tract, the most common forms of intestinal probiotics are L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.
These bacteria act as agents to restore the unfriendly balance, pathogens of the intestine such as Candida or E. coli bacteria.
What is the Function of Probiotics?
Probiotics support the healthy balance of microflora in the gastrointestinal system, suppress the growth of harmful bacteria and support healthy digestion by improving intestinal mobility.
This improves the digestive function, particularly the effective absorption of nutrients.
These”friendly” bacteria help the intestines to produce lactic acid, acetic acid, hydrogen peroxide and other necessary organic compounds.
They are also involved in the synthesis of bile and gastric juice secretion.