Probiotics can support excellent health and well-being. There are many probiotic benefits for the human body. These healthy “gut bugs” can help with digestion, bowel problems, constipation, bloating, and other digestive issues.
Talk with a healthcare professional before deciding whether probiotics could be a source of wellness for you. Continue reading to learn more about the potential benefit of probiotics.
What Are Probiotics And How Do Probiotics Work?
Probiotics are microorganisms of live bacteria. They resemble the thousands of microorganisms in your gut, or gastrointestinal tract. The beneficial bacteria found in these microorganisms can be obtained through food and dietary supplements.1,2
In recent years, studies have shown that the good bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract may be a source of overall body health. Many types of probiotics can help the body balance beneficial bacteria and harmful bacteria. They may also support a healthy immune system.3
Antibiotics And Probiotics
Antibiotics inhibit the growth of bacteria and kill harmful bacteria microbes completely. The trouble is, some antibiotics also kill off the good bacteria. That said, if you are taking prescribed antibiotics, do not stop taking them. Instead, add probiotics to your routine.4
Probiotics are more concentrated on the balancing of good and bad bacteria. In short, they can help put some of the good bacteria back into your gut.
Possible Benefits Of Taking Probiotics
Probiotics may help with digestive issues including:
- Diarrhea (not necessarily traveler’s diarrhea)
- Digestive cramping or discomfort
Be sure to consult your doctor to determine if probiotics are right for you.
Common Types Of Probiotics
There are many types of probiotics, and different strains of both good bacteria and bad bacteria. Most common are two species of probiotics: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.
Lactobacillus bacteria break down lactose and help maintain a balance of good and bad bacteria. Bifidobacteria bacteria helps to support a healthy immune system; this bacteria may also help if you’re concerned about harmful microbes from overrunning the intestine.5
Within these species are many different strains. Our bodies contain over 500 diverse strains. Some strains are more studied than others. The most researched probiotic strains include:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus (and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG)
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Bifidobacteria infantis
- Bifidobacteria lactis6
Each strain is known to have specific health qualities and can be a source of specific health support. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus is known to help digestive issues, and support healthy blood pressure and immune system.7-9
Studies show Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG may help with certain skin and digestive issues in children.10 Bifidobacteria lactis supports healthy cholesterol levels.11 Bifidobacteria infantis is known to support the health of the digestive tract. It may help with bowel irritation such as bloating and gas.12
How To Incorporate Probiotics In Your Diet
As mentioned, it has been established that probiotics may benefit digestive health. Probiotics can be found in dietary supplements and in certain foods and drinks. Although fermented foods like pickles, kombucha, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread can be an excellent source of probiotics, you probably aren’t getting enough through these foods alone13
Are Probiotics Right For You?
While probiotics may not be recommended for everyone, they may be optimal for you.14
Be sure to speak with a healthcare professional before deciding to take probiotics. They can advise you whether taking a probiotics supplement might be beneficial for your digestive (and overall) health.
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Why Your Gut Says a Big Yes To Using Probiotics For Babies
10 Health Benefits of Probiotics (You Probably Didn’t Know)