What Probiotics Can Do For You

Posted on Friday, July 26th, 2019
The gut is one of the most important parts of the human body. The gastrointestinal tract starts at the mouth, where food enters the digestive system and ends at the anus, where waste is expelled from the body. The tract is connected to multiple organs, including the stomach. Inside the digestive system are microorganisms that are usually referred to as the microbiome. Both good and bad bacteria can inhabit the gastrointestinal tract. When there is a better balance of good bacteria, the body is healthier, but when bad bacteria start taking over, then illness may develop, and you can start to experience complications. This is where probiotics come in. There are certain foods considered to be probiotics, as well as a number of supplements that can provide the body with probiotics. Probiotics are essential to strains of both yeast and bacteria microorganisms. These are the good types of microorganisms that reside in the gastrointestinal tract – they assist with digestion and can also help to provide other potential benefits to the body.

Understanding Different Probiotic Types

First of all, it is important to understand that different types of probiotics exist. Each type is associated with certain benefits and effects in the body and can help to provide specific strains of microorganisms to the gastrointestinal tract. The most common type of probiotics that you will find details about and often also listed on probiotic supplements would be Lactobacillus. There are different species within this family. Lactobacillus is a type of bacteria that is beneficial for the gastrointestinal tract. It has been shown to be useful in reducing diarrhea and may also be useful for people who have a problem with the digestion of lactose. Bifidobacterium is another strain of bacteria species that are often found in probiotic supplements and available in different types of foods. This particular type of probiotic may also be useful in the management of irritable bowel syndrome. Saccharomyces boulardii is a common probiotic yeast strain that is sometimes also included in probiotic supplements. It is known that this yeast strain can be beneficial for individuals with gastrointestinal conditions.

The Benefits Of Probiotics

Many studies have been conducted on the consumption of probiotic foods, as well as the use of supplements containing probiotics, in the last few years. It has been long known that probiotics play an important role in the maintenance of digestive well-being. When there is an adequate number of good bacteria and other microorganisms residing in the digestive tract, then the functions that are executed in the gastrointestinal tract is more efficient. This also reduces the risk of the “bad” bacteria causing infection in a person’s body. More recent studies have noted that probiotics may also play a crucial role in improving the immune system of the human body. There are also some studies that have shown a positive connection between probiotics and the risk of cancer. Furthermore, it has also been established that probiotics may assist in regulating serum cholesterol levels. In a clinical setting, lactose metabolism may be improved with the use of probiotics. The use of probiotics is also common in patients with diseases that cause diarrhea. Antibiotic-associated diarrhea can also be effectively prevented with the use of a high-quality probiotic supplement in many cases. Studies have also linked the well-being of the digestive system to overall mental well-being. Certain conditions that affect the mind may be improved with a better-balanced microbiome.  In one review paper, scientists explain that increasing the consumption of probiotic foods can help to improve the symptoms associated with mental conditions like depression, as well as anxiety disorders. The same study found that probiotics may also improve symptoms of autism and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Furthermore, beneficial effects were noted in terms of memory function, which is another important discovery that has been made concerning the connection between the mind and a healthy gastrointestinal system.

How To Get More Probiotics?

It is possible to take a probiotic supplement in order to provide the gastrointestinal tract with various species of healthy bacteria and yeast. These supplements have made it exceptionally easy to balance the microbiome in a positive way. This, however, is not the only way to ensure there is an appropriate balance of bacterium species thriving in the gut. Many people in the modern world rather prefer to opt for natural sources of probiotics instead of taking supplements. There are many foods on the market that contains probiotics. The most common food that you might have heard of before would be yogurt. In fact, yogurt is actually considered one of the top ways to get more probiotics into your gastrointestinal tract. Try to opt for plain, Greek yogurt, however. Yogurt also has a variety of bacterium species that helps to improve the overall diversity of your microbiome. Most fermented foods do contain probiotics, apart from yogurt. Here is a list of some foods that you might want to try out if you wish to get more probiotics into your body:
  • Kimchi
  • Tempeh
  • Miso
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Pickles

Conclusion

An imbalance in the gut’s microbiome can lead to infection, as well as an aggravation of symptoms associated with certain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome. A diet that is rich in probiotic foods, or the use of probiotic supplements, may help to increase the number of good microorganisms that make up the microbiome and possible assist in the management of such conditions.
References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25862297

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27413138