Probiotics are a very important topic in nutrition these days. Now we want to answer the question, what is a probiotic? First, we need to know the difference between the two words probiotic and prebiotic. Although they seem similar, these two have different roles in your health. Both prebiotics and probiotics are important for human health. However, they have different roles: they are live micro – organisms that can provide numerous health benefits. While prebiotics are obtained from various carbo – hydrates (mostly fiber) that humans cannot digest. The good bacteria in your gut eat this fiber. In other words, prebiotics are food for probiotics.
How do they work?
The primary function of good bacteria, is to maintain a healthy balance in your body. Imagine these bacteria keeping your body in a neutral state. When you are sick, bad bacteria enter your body and their numbers increase. This throws your body off balance. The good bacteria work to counteract the bad bacteria and restore balance in the body, making you feel better.
What is the microbiome?
The collection of all microbes such as bacteria and fungi that live on the surface or inside the tissues or fluids of the body is called the microbiome.
These microbes use the environment of our body to live and in return, they have benefits for our health.
Sometimes, by disrupting the balance of substances or malfunctioning in the tissue or body fluids, the conditions may change in such a way that these beneficial microbes become pathogenic. But these situations rarely happen.
Microbiomes support healthy body systems from your mouth to your gut and help control harmful micro – organisms like germs. They improve the absorption of nutrients and strengthen the immune system. They also reduce the symptoms of depression and help eliminate obesity. It also helps reduce inflammation and may reduce the risk of cancer.
Adequate levels of probiotics in the stomach can help digest food. Acid reflux is directly related to your digestive system. Reflux happens when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. This can cause damage to the esophagus and can ulcer your esophagus if it occurs repeatedly. There are many treatments for acid reflux. These treatments include lifestyle changes, drug therapy, and other methods. They are one such adjunctive therapy. Although they are used to treat many digestive conditions, we need more research to determine if they have an effect on acid reflux symptoms.
The effect of probiotics on the intestine
They also help the absorption of food in the intestine. On the other hand, studies have shown that they can play an important role in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
What is the effect of probiotics on diarrhea?
Diarrhea is a common and usually short – term illness that many people experience several times a year. Diarrhea is defined as increased bowel frequency with at least 3 loose or liquid stools in a 24 – hour period. Probiotic – rich yogurts may protect against various types of diarrhea, including traveler’s diarrhea and those caused by infections, antibiotics, IBS, and Crohn’s disease. However, if you are lactose intolerant, some dairy products may cause diarrhea. In this case, go for probiotic-rich vegan yogurts instead.
They reduce constipation by increasing short – chain fatty acid production, lowering colon pH, and increasing bile salt metabolism.
You may experience bloating in the beginning of taking probiotic supplements or foods containing probiotics. But when your gut microbiomes reach balance, these temporary side effects will disappear completely.
Some of the conditions that increase the amount of them in your body can help (through food or supplements) include:
Diarrhea (both diarrhea caused by antibiotics and infection)
Inflammatory bowel disease.
Irritable bowel syndrome.
Urinary tract infections.
Eczema (atopic dermatitis).
Upper respiratory tract infections (ear infections, colds, sinusitis).
Can you get probiotics from food?
Yes, you can absolutely increase your body’s beneficial bacteria through the foods you eat. Some foods contain probiotics (good bacteria) and can benefit your gut health. You can include these foods in your diet at any point of the day.
You may even eat them regularly now and not realize they contain probiotics. Here are some suggestions for some probiotic – rich foods to add to your diet:
Of course, it is good to make sure that whatever food you eat is balanced and healthy. Although adding probiotic – rich foods to your diet won’t hurt, balance is still a key element. Adding too much of just one food will deprive the body of the benefits of other food groups.
They are generally considered safe. However, there are some risks associated with supplements. These risks increase if you have a disease that weakens your immune system, or have recently had surgery.
Possible risks include the following:
Creating resistance to antibiotics.
Creating harmful by – products from probiotics.