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What Are Probiotics And The Science Behind Them

Although probiotics have become one of the most prominent health trends in recent years, many people don’t understand what probiotics are and why though are important for health. Read on to find out exactly why probiotics play a role in health and how they can be beneficial.

Finding Probiotics In Food

To give a broad definition, probiotics are live microorganisms that when consumed in adequate amounts, may impart health benefits to consumers. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as yogurts, kimchi, kombachu, and sauerkraut. Additionally, many products contain added probiotics and there are also supplements of probiotics. While there are millions of probiotic strains, the most common types sold are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains.

Prebiotics are the foods that do not contain active cultures but can increase the activity of probiotics. They include many fruits and vegetables such as bananas, leeks, onions, and garlic. Synbiotics are products that contain both prebiotics and probiotics.

Digestive Benefits

It’s worth mentioning that probiotics are still are an area being studied so it’s impossible to understand their health benefits completely. However, they have been beneficial in treating or preventing a variety of digestive system diseases and disorders. On example is antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Because antibiotics kill bacteria, they can wipe out the good bacteria living in your digestive system. Today, many doctors recommend taking a probiotic supplement when on antibiotics to prevent diarrhea and promote good digestive health.

Probiotics have also been studied and recommended for management of irritable bowel syndrome and disease, skin disorders, other types of diarrhea, and general immunity. Keep in mind that while probiotics can be beneficial, not every strain has been studied so results can vary depending on the type of probiotic taken, the amount, and what the probiotic is being used to treat. In many cases, it’s recommended due to a possible benefit and a low risk of harm.

Studies And Research Show Us How The Good Bacteria Works

There have been hundreds of studies involving probiotics for a variety of disorders and diseases and in both animal and human models. Most studies have shown benefits ranging from mild to significant. The studies that have been done today test either a single probiotic strain or a few combinations. While these studies are important to consider, there are millions of bacteria and not all have been studied. Additionally, not all combinations or single probiotics provide the same benefits. Companies today are patenting different strains when they note benefits from their studies.

Benefits And Risks

There are a number of potential benefits of probiotics. When taken in foods or with supplements, probiotics can help to normalize digestive function. Although they have not been shown to benefit individuals who have a healthy digestive system, they can provide benefits for digestive disorders and related diseases.

Taking a daily probiotic or including probiotic-rich foods in your diet has the potential to benefit you and is unlikely to cause harm. It is recommended to consume foods with probiotics before supplements when possible, so look for food sources initially. There are very few risks associated with taking probiotics.

Hospitalized patients with severe sepsis should not be given probiotics as the bacteria could have a harmful effect. However, fo the general population without this condition, probiotics are unlikely to cause harm. The major concern noted is that probiotic supplements may be expensive for consumers without actually having any real benefits. Purchase probiotics either in food form or high-quality supplements that have been recommended by a doctor or pharmacist for the best results.

Side Effects

There are few if any side effects of probiotics. In rare cases, individuals taking probiotics may experience increased bowel movements, especially if consumed in large doses. Some people also notice that they experience gas or bloating when taking probiotics. Side effects are usually mild. If you experience them, you can stop taking probiotics temporarily or try a different source to include them in your diet. Many times your body will adjust to them and side effects will go away.

Conclusion

In review, if you have a specific digestive disease or disorder, you may want to try probiotics as there are potential health benefits. However, if you are a healthy person without any of these problems, you’re better off eating a balanced diet that is rich in prebiotics and also including food sources of probiotics in your diet.

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