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Video: Intestinal Probiotics And Prebiotics - Benefits And Sources
2023 Author: Lynn Laird | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:49
Have you heard it said, "You are what you eat"? The lining of your intestines, like all other surfaces on your body, is covered in bacteria. These organisms create a micro-ecosystem called a microbiome. And even if you don't really notice it, it plays a crucial role in your health and can even affect your mood and behavior. In short, what you feed your gut flora can have the greatest impact on your physical condition. So, the healthier this flora, the healthier you are. The key to a balanced microbiome is adding supportive live microbes (gut probiotics) and providing them with the foods they love (prebiotics). Read on to find out more !
Gut probiotics are bacteria that live naturally in your body and help your intestines break down food. Probiotics that are the same or very similar to these can be taken orally in the form of supplements or foods to supplement healthy digestion.
Probiotics are different depending on the living organisms they contain, usually specific strains of bacteria. A single dose may include a particular strain of microbes or a mixture of microbes in your gut flora. For example, companies producing probiotic supplements market products for specific conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
When people talk about probiotic bacteria, they are generally referring to two families - Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Moreover, these strains can be found in certain fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and yogurt. Probiotics generally need to be stored in the refrigerator to keep bacteria alive and ready to breed.
Prebiotics - the food of probiotics
Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers, made up of carbohydrates that your body cannot digest. They act as a fertilizer, stimulating the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. The supplement companies offer products that address specific conditions, such as bone health and weight loss.
Prebiotics are found in many fruits and vegetables, especially those that contain complex carbohydrates, such as fiber and resistant starch. They do not contain bacteria. They are precisely the fuel to help the latter to develop. The inulin fiber found in chicory root, bananas and asparagus is an example of a beneficial prebiotic.
Prebiotics on their own have not been found to be very helpful. However, added to infant formula, in combination with intestinal probiotics, they are found to be very close to the content of breast milk. When a food source contains both prebiotics and probiotics, the product is called a synbiotic. Synbiotic foods include cheese, homemade kefir, and some types of yogurt. Prebiotics can also be purchased as a food additive or capsule supplement.
In conclusion, it can be said that you don't need to take a prebiotic for probiotics to work, but taking them could make your probiotics more effective.
Health Benefits of Intestinal Probiotics
Some research indicates that intestinal prebiotics and probiotics are effective in treating diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, allergic disorders, colds, and even obesity. In addition, they are being studied as a way to prevent inflammatory arthritis and the spread of cancer.
A 2013 study of bacteria in the gut confirms that a wide variety of this good type can help keep the immune system working and improve symptoms of depression.
Some of your gut bacteria form vitamin K and short chain fatty acids. These are the main source of nutrients for the cells lining the colon. They promote a strong intestinal barrier which helps keep harmful substances, viruses and bacteria out. It also reduces inflammation and may have the potential to decrease the risk of cancer.
Probiotics are considered safe for most people and have a number of health benefits.
- They lower the pH levels in the colon, which could help stool move faster.
- They can relieve antibiotic-related diarrhea by replenishing the good bacteria that the drugs might have killed.
- Probiotics can promote better absorption of protein from your diet, as well as other vitamins and nutrients.
Indeed, not all probiotics are created equal and more research is needed to understand the benefits of each type. Most of the studies focus on the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains. Their subspecies include: L.acidophilus, L.casei, L.plantarum, B.lactis, B.longum, B.bifidum.
The effectiveness of probiotics taken by mouth depends on their ability to resist the highly acidic environment of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract. The highest quality probiotics will pass through your stomach still intact and travel to the intestines where the nutrients are absorbed. This is where probiotics do most of their good work.
Before you go out and buy expensive prebiotic supplements, remember that many foods contain them naturally. This is because prebiotics are types of fiber that are found in vegetables, fruits, and legumes, as has already been explained.
Foods high in prebiotic fiber include:
- legumes - beans and peas
- Jerusalem artichoke
- dandelion leaves
Natural sources of probiotics
There are also many probiotic foods that naturally contain helpful bacteria. For example, high quality plain yogurt with live cultures can be a fantastic addition to your diet. Fermented foods are another great option. They include:
- kombucha tea
- kefir (dairy and non-dairy)
- certain types of pickles (unpasteurized)
- other pickled vegetables (unpasteurized)
If you plan to consume these probiotic foods, make sure they are not pasteurized as this process kills bacteria.
Risks and side effects of taking prebiotics and probiotics
The use of commercial prebiotics and probiotics is generally safe for healthy people. However, there are rare cases when a healthy person becomes ill after ingesting certain types of bacteria in these products.
In fact, when you start a synbiotic diet there are some common side effects - gas, constipation, loose stools, and loss of appetite sometimes occur, especially at the start of the diet. Bloating and acid reflux have also been reported.
There is one side effect of probiotics that is known to be dangerous: having an allergic reaction to bacteria that are added to your body. If you have hives or experience extreme stomach pain after swallowing a prebiotic or probiotic, stop taking the supplement. Contact a doctor immediately!
You already understood that every probiotic is different due to variations in the strains of bacteria. So not all gut probiotics will work the same for you, and not everyone needs to take a probiotic. If you are lactose intolerant, be sure to look for a dairy-free probiotic.
Are probiotics safe for babies and children?
Some of them have side effects that cause allergic reactions, stomach pain, diarrhea, gas, and bloating. That is why small children and infants require special care. You should talk to your doctor about any type of supplement before giving it to the little ones.
Which probiotics to fight against Candida?
Can probiotics help with Candida albicans yeast overgrowth, commonly known as candidiasis or fungal dysbiosis. First of all, it is very important that all Candida protocols and diets are undertaken under the supervision of a suitably qualified therapist. This is especially because many of the symptoms you have can be similar to those associated with other health problems.
So the Saccharomyces boulardii strain which is itself a yeast, but with probiotic potential, has shown anti-Candida properties during research. S. boulardii has been shown to inhibit Candida populations and deter them from establishing in the intestines. These effects are believed to be due to the fact that S. boulardii produces caprylic acid, an effective antifungal substance.
Species of intestinal probiotics that may be beneficial for histamine intolerance
Based on very limited research so far that has examined the role of probiotics in histamine intolerance, strains considered beneficial (as they are believed to degrade biogenic amines such as histamine) are Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium longum, Lactobacillus plantarum and possibly Lactobacillus reuteri.
Are Probiotics Safe During Pregnancy?
In fact, in the limited research on the use of probiotics during pregnancy, there has been no association with miscarriages or deformities of any kind. In addition, a meta-analysis conducted by Canadian researchers found no association between taking probiotics and the incidence of cesarean section, birth weight or gestational age.
Probiotics, whether from foods or supplements, help a pregnant woman's digestive system work more efficiently. As stated above, they are believed to reduce the presence of bad bacteria. This helps to lower the risk of health complications. Probiotics are believed to be helpful in the following cases:
- infectious diarrhea
- irritable bowel syndrome
- inflammatory bowel disease
- bacterial vaginosis
- atopic dermatitis
- A study from the Natural Medicine Journal reported that the use of probiotics reduced the likelihood of developing gestational diabetes mellitus.
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