A Definition of Probiotics
Probiotics are considered to be the good bacteria that benefit the digestive system and the body as a whole. The live bacteria and yeasts that comprise probiotics are available in foods and dietary supplements and are similar to those that exist naturally in the gut. Probiotics help to keep people healthy in a number of ways, including replenishing the good bacteria after a round of antibiotics and maintaining the balance between good and bad bacteria to help the body function properly. Image via Flickr by AJC ajcann.wordpress.com
Examples of Probiotics
There are several probiotic-filled foods that people eat to add probiotics to their systems and improve their health. For example, certain yogurts, Kombucha tea, miso soup, soy milk with live and active cultures, kefir, sauerkraut, and dark chocolate contain probiotics for added health and strengthened immune systems.
Common examples of probiotics that may be found in food or supplements include…
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus is a probiotic often found in yogurt and soft cheeses. This probiotic aids in the conversion of lactose and other sugars into lactic acid, which is helpful for people who are lactose intolerant.
- Streptococcus thermophilus is a probiotic that also is used to make yogurt and cheeses, and it assists lactobacillus bulgaricus by making nutrients that assist with growth.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei are two probiotics that convert lactose into lactic acid and help those who are lactose intolerant. Lactobacillus acidophilus may also reduce cholesterol levels.
- Bifidobacteria is bacterial family known for preventing and treating a variety of gastrointestinal disorders such as infections, irritable bowel syndrome, and constipation. Bifidobacteria makes lactic acid and a few important fatty acids that the body absorbs and metabolizes. Some studies are showing that certain bifidobacteria protects against carcinogenic activity of other intestinal flora.
Benefits of Probiotics
Studies continue to show that probiotics help to prevent and treat a range of health issues. Probiotics especially help with gastrointestinal issues, such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD), but they also help to prevent infection and boost immune systems, help to improve women’s health, and help to fight obesity. We take a specific look at how probiotics help with digestive health, urinary health, allergies, women’s health, immunity, and obesity below:
- Digestive Health – Good bacteria in the digestive tract breaks down food and absorbs nutrients. But, taking antibiotics kills the healthy intestinal flora that does this work in our digestive system. That’s why doctors often prescribe probiotics for people who take antibiotics, so that they can repopulate the digestive tract with good bacteria. Probiotics also help with other digestive issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and overall digestive management.
- Urinary Health – Evidence suggests that regular probiotics use helps prevent bacteria from invading the urinary tract by maintaining a colony of healthy bacteria on the tract’s adherence areas, especially in people who suffer from urinary tract infections.
- Allergies – Researchers are studying the ways in which probiotics taken during pregnancy reduces the instance of childhood eczema, which is an early sign of allergies, in their newborns.
- Women’s Health – Because the vagina depends on a balance of good and bad bacteria, probiotics are being investigated for their impact on preventing bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Probiotics also may aid in improving maternal health, because bacterial vaginosis is a contributing factor for pre-term labor.
- Immunity – Probiotic-filled foods and probiotic supplements help people to maintain good intestinal floral, which leads to a healthy immune system. Probiotics also add more good bacteria to the microbiome, which aids in overall immune health.
- Obesity – Stanford University researchers determined that obese people have different gut bacteria than non-obese people, which was the first step toward showing that gut flora impacts overall weight. Probiotics are proving to help obese people who undergo weight loss surgery to maintain weight loss, and probiotics have been shown to assist postpartum women with losing abdominal fat.
Choosing the Right Probiotics
Everyone has different probiotic needs, so you should look into choosing those that will address your specific needs, but there are some probiotics that generally benefit everyone. Fermented foods deliver probiotics to people who want to boost their overall immune and digestive health. You may want to try probiotic-enhanced foods, yogurt, fir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles. When choosing probiotic-filled foods, look for packages that include words such as “raw,” “lacto-fermented,” and “unpasteurized.”
Probiotic Supplements for Digestive Health, Immunity, and Overall Wellness
Probiotic supplements are an especially good choice for people who are not sure they are getting enough probiotics in their diet, or who do not enjoy eating fermented foods. Probiotic supplements tend to include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are two strains of good bacteria that yield the most general health benefits. Experts recommend choosing probiotic supplements that contain at least 20 billion live organisms per dose.
Delpro™ Probioitcs, for instance, contains Del-Immune V® in addition to essential probiotics for intestinal health that help to keep your digestive system in balance. Because your gut is a major component of your immune system, keeping your digestive system in perfect balance enhances immunity. When your digestive system is out of balance, it’s easier for pathogens to enter your system, leading to fatigue, illness, foggy head, and other symptoms that can impact your ability to function at your best. Each Delpro capsule contains 10.0 Billion colony forming units; with a recommended dose of three capsules per day, you get the benefit of 30 billion CFU daily – plus the added benefits of Del-Immune V for an immediate immunity boost.
Probiotics have been used to treat digestive health issues for years, and research is showing that they are much more beneficial to our health than previously thought. If you’d like to boost your immune system, feel better when taking antibiotics, or improve your health overall, consider trying probiotics.