The Role Probiotics Play In Your Health
Up until the past few years, scientists in the medical profession paid little attention to the colonies of bacteria that live in the lower gut. Today, we know maintaining a healthy balance of good versus bad bacteria is important because people with more beneficial bacteria are less likely to suffer from a wide range of diseases and conditions.
Once GI experts realized there is more to the lower gut than first assumed, the push to understand the diverse roles these bacteria play became urgent. Many mysteries still need solving, but clinical evidence increasingly indicates that people in good health should optimize lower gut bacteria. You can accomplish this by eating prebiotics to encourage the growth of your existing gut microbes, and probiotics to add to the ones that are already there.
The science on what probiotics do is still emerging. There is some hard evidence that suggests eating probiotic foods and supplements can have a beneficial effect on health. Other evidence suggests probiotics benefits are limited to those individuals in good health and should be avoided by those who suffer from certain serious health conditions. There is no research that demonstrates the risks or the benefits of probiotic supplements on children.
Yogurt and supplements arent the only places you can find probiotics. More foods that contain probiotics include:
Information About The National Institutes Of Health
NIHs mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.
Thanks in large part to NIH-funded medical research, Americans today are living longer and healthier. Life expectancy in the United States has jumped from 47 years in 1900 to 78 years as reported in 2009, and disability in people over age 65 has dropped dramatically in the past 3 decades. In recent years, nationwide rates of new diagnoses and deaths from all cancers combined have fallen significantly.
NIH is the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world, investing more than $30 billion in taxpayer dollars to achieve its mission to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. In pursuing this mission, NIH improves health by promoting treatment and prevention, contributes to society by driving economic growth and productivity, and expands the biomedical knowledge base by funding cutting-edge research and cultivating the biomedical workforce of today and tomorrow.
NIH is made up of 27 institutes and centers , 24 of which can make grant awards.
Where To Find Oligofructose
Inulin is present in high concentrations in chicory root, agave, and even dandelions. It is present to a lesser extent in bananas, wheat, onions, asparagus, rye, and barley. Indeed, it has been found in over 36,000 plants around the world. Oligofructose, also present in these foods, is a similar fiber. Very surprisingly, Americans get only about 2 grams/day of these fibers, 70% from wheat and 20% from onions. Europeans eat three times this amount. Somehow our food industries and our eating habits have simply bypassed this remarkable fiber. These soluble prebiotic fibers have by far the most science behind them. Much of the research in the scientific literature, in fact, has been done with a combination of inulin and oligofructose.
The mixture of these two fibers is called oligofructose-enriched inulin. It seems to provide a synergy whereby the mixture of the two has been found to be more effective in producing beneficial results than either one by itself. It is also a full-spectrum lower gut health solution because it acts in all areas of the colon, not just one localized site. The laboratory, animal and human studies reported in the medical literature are impressive and it is only just beginning. The benefits of these prebiotic fibers include better digestive health, improved immunity to disease, better appetite control, reduced anxiety, improved mineral absorption, stronger bones and more.
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Probiotics And Prebiotics: Whats The Difference
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria, and prebiotics are food for these bacteria. Well explain what you need to know about the two.
Both prebiotics and probiotics are important for human health. However, they have different roles:
- Probiotics. These are live bacteria found in certain foods or supplements. They can provide numerous health benefits.
- Prebiotics. These substances come from types of carbs that humans cant digest. The beneficial bacteria in your gut eat this fiber.
The gut bacteria, collectively referred to as the gut flora, or gut microbiota, perform many important functions in the body.
Eating balanced amounts of both probiotics and prebiotics can help ensure that you have the right balance of these bacteria to keep your gut microbiota healthy.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria found in certain foods or supplements. Prebiotics are types of fiber that feed the friendly bacteria in the digestive system.
The good bacteria in your digestive tract help protect you from harmful bacteria and fungi.
Additionally, some of your gut bacteria form vitamin K and short-chain fatty acids.
The gut bacteria help with a variety of biological tasks. They also provide important nutrition to the cells lining your digestive tract.
Synbiotics Blend Both Pre
Dr. Cresci is actively studying synbiotics, which combine aprebiotic and a probiotic.
A probiotic in a capsule may not survive while sitting onthe grocery store shelf or passing through the intestinal tract, she says.But when you combine it with its food source, the prebiotic, it has a muchbetter shot at staying viable until it reaches the part of the gut where itwill ultimately live.
Dr. Cresci recommends people get their probiotics andprebiotics from a healthy diet, but if you need to take a supplement, sherecommends choosing a:
- Product that has a seal of approval from testingagencies such as Consumer Reports or Consumer Labs.
- Probiotic capsule packaged with inulin or otherprebiotics.
- Probiotic in spore form, which can survive onthe shelf or in the digestive tract.
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What Has Science Shown About The Effectiveness Of Probiotics For Health Conditions
A great deal of research has been done on probiotics, but much remains to be learned about whether theyâre helpful and safe for various health conditions.
Probiotics have shown promise for a variety of health purposes, including prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea , prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis and in premature infants, treatment of infant colic, treatment of periodontal disease, and induction or maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis.
However, in most instances, we still donât know which probiotics are helpful and which are not. We also donât know how much of the probiotic people would have to take or who would be most likely to benefit. Even for the conditions that have been studied the most, researchers are still working toward finding the answers to these questions.
The following sections summarize the research on probiotics for some of the conditions for which theyâve been studied.
Why Are They Good For Us
Probiotics help ensure that your microbiome works to the best of its ability. When your microbiome is healthy, it:
- Manufactures vitamins, like vitamin K and vitamin B
- Turns fiber into short-chain fats that feed your gut wall and perform metabolic functions
- Prevents bad bacteria from entering your blood
- Helps your body digest food
- Breaks down and absorbs medications
- Prevents numerous health conditions that affect the heart, body, and mind
- And so much more7,8
These are all considered to be the beneficial health effects of probiotics.
Your body naturally seeks to balance its good and bad bacteria. Consuming probiotics may help supercharge this natural process.
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Hang On What Is The Microbiome
Put simply, the microbiome is the collection of all the microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses that naturally live in and on us. It might sound weird to think that there are millions of microscopic organisms crawling all over and and inside us, but theyre actually super cool.
Everyone’s microbes are different. A bit like a fingerprint, your core microbiome is formed early in life and is host to a unique community of microbes. Although you might not be able to see them, your microbes are grafting hard to protect you from pathogens, support your immune system and help you digest your lunch. And guess what? Probiotics are a key player in keeping your microbiome healthy.
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What Are Prebiotics And Why Should I Be Eating Them
Prebiotics are plant fibers that stimulate the growth and activity of good bacteria living in the human digestive tract. Prebiotic fiber provides food to existing bacteria, keeping them healthy, growing and functioning at their best ultimately helping to maintain the health of your digestive system.1,3,4
The number of live organisms in fermented foods may vary depending on manufacturing processes.
And How About Prebiotics
While our probiotics are working hard to keep our gut healthy, we also need to think about keeping our probiotics happy and healthy. Enter the prebiotics i.e. probiotic nutrients. Confused yet? You can ensure that youre getting enough prebiotics by simply eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, which all contain different kinds of prebiotics. Bananas, berries, tomatoes, onions, green veg and cereals are all great examples.
How Prebiotics Can Impact Gi Symptoms
Prebiotics are certainly not appropriate for everyone and can actually worsen symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome since rapid fermentation can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation in patients who are sensitive. If you have Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or FODMAPs intolerance, prebiotics are also not recommended.
Prebiotics For General Health
Ongoing research has shown that prebiotics may provide health benefits to the general population. These benefits include improved calcium absorption, decreases in allergy risk, improved immune system defense, and other positive effects on metabolism.
Research is ongoing to understand the full effects of these foods on gut health, metabolism, and certain diseases. But not all nutrition experts are able to confirm that consuming functional foods or prebiotics will necessarily boost specific health outcomes.
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Should You Take A Prebiotic Supplement
The truth is, research on prebiotic supplements is still in its early stages, and many of the benefits are still largely theoretical. For those reasons, and because potentially helpful prebiotics can be found readily in many fruits and vegetables, its best to consume your prebiotics naturally whenever possible.
What Are Probiotics And Why Are They Important For Gut Health
“Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for your digestive system and may help you extract nutrients from your food,” Bannan explains. “They are naturally found in some dairy productslike live-culture yogurts and some cheesesand fermented foods.” A list of fermented foods that are chock-full of probiotics include kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, and kombucha.
Bannan also says that “research on probiotics suggests that these bacteria may help keep the immune system strong and reduce chronic inflammation.” Chronic inflammation is associated with life-shortening diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, Bannan says.
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What Are Prebiotics And Why Are They Important For Gut Health
“Prebiotics provide fuel for resident beneficial gut bacteria and may confer a health benefit,” says Bannan. “They are fibers we don’t digest ourselves, so they are consumed by the good bacteria in our gut. The most common prebiotic is fiber found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.” Bannan also says that bananas, onions, garlic, chicory root, and asparagus are all good examples of foods that contain prebiotics.
What To Do With This Information
Before taking a probiotic, talk to your doctor about which specific products would be best for you. Your ideal probiotic will depend on your digestive health, which diseases you do or dont have, your diet and lifestyle, and many other factors. For example, the bacterial strains that work well for someone with constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome are likely different than the ones that help someone with Crohns disease. For most people, eating fermented foods and prebiotics can help improve digestive health. Just make sure to take it slowly when adding in these foods by starting small and adding more as you can tolerate, and follow our tips for being a good microbe host.
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Why Are The Gut Bacteria Beneficial
All of this is important because gut bacteria isnt just important for your physical wellbeing. Your microbiome, or gut probiotic composition, can also affect your mental wellbeing, too. Thats right. Your gut and your brain are connected via whats known as the “Gut-Brain Axis,” a series of bidirectional connections that are revealing links between your microbiome and mood, cognition, and mental health.3
Research is still being conducted, but so far, several mood disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and autism spectrum disorders now have well-established links to functional GI disruptions, whereas GI disease often involve psychological comorbidities associated with alteration of the gut microbiome.
Learning About The Microbiome
The community of microorganisms that lives on us and in us is called the âmicrobiome,â and itâs a hot topic for research. The Human Microbiome Project, supported by the National Institutes of Health from 2007 to 2016, played a key role in this research by mapping the normal bacteria that live in and on the healthy human body. With this understanding of a normal microbiome as the basis, researchers around the world, including many supported by NIH, are now exploring the links between changes in the microbiome and various diseases. Theyâre also developing new therapeutic approaches designed to modify the microbiome to treat disease and support health.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is among the many agencies funding research on the microbiome. Researchers supported by NCCIH are studying the interactions between components of food and microorganisms in the digestive tract. The focus is on the ways in which diet-microbiome interactions may lead to the production of substances with beneficial health effects.
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Get Dirty To Get Clean
Theyve been hanging around the shelves of the health food aisles for years and your gut loves them – this week is all about probiotics. Youll probably know a bit about probiotics already. Like theyre good for your gut and more commonly found in yoghurt than a natural deodorant. But its 2021 guys and now its all about bacteria that works from the outside in.
Cleansers, masks, mists, serums, and – most importantly – natural deodorant. Were putting it in everything and as it turns out, theres a lot of evidence to suggest that it really is worth it. Read on to find out everything you need to know.
The Best Probiotics For Women
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From urinary and digestive support to boosting immune health
Probiotics, found in kefir to kombucha and even pickles, offer a variety of health benefits by balancing bacteria in the digestive system, which has been linked to overall health.
While eating probiotic-rich foods is a popular way to add to your diet, theyre also available in supplements. Probiotic supplements may also improve a number of concerns, including digestive and vaginal health and immune function.
Knowing which one to choose can be tricky. First, consider your reasons for wanting to take probiotics. Then, check out these six probiotics, which have been formulated to address a variety of conditions that affect women specifically.
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How Does Food Affect The Gut Microbiota
The food you eat plays an important role in the balance of good and bad gut bacteria.
For example, a high sugar and high fat diet negatively influences the gut bacteria and may contribute to insulin resistance and other conditions (
Harmful bacteria and less healthy gut flora has also been associated with higher body mass index .
Additionally, foods treated with pesticides may have negative effects on the gut bacteria, although more research is needed to confirm this .
Studies have also shown that antibiotics can cause permanent changes in certain types of bacteria, especially when taken during childhood and adolescence.
Because antibiotic use is so widespread, researchers are now studying how this may cause health problems in people later in life .
The foods you eat affect gut bacteria. Chemical residues and antibiotics may also disrupt balance in the gut bacteria.
One of the things your good gut bacteria do with prebiotic fiber is turn it into a short-chain fatty acid called butyrate.
Studies suggest that butyrate production in the colon cannot be maintained without adequate intake of prebiotic fiber .
Prebiotics are types of fiber that humans cannot digest, but your gut bacteria can. These types of fiber provide nutrients to the bacteria that support healthy digestion and immune function.
What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Prebiotics
Youve heard of probiotics: the stuff you find in yogurt and kombucha thats great for your gut. But prebiotics? Yes, theyre a thing and theyre just as important as probiotics. Its important to know the difference and understand why you need both probiotics and prebiotics for the best gut health. So buckle up: were going on a ride that will get you more intimate with your gut than when Miss Frizzle took the Magic School Bus inside Arnolds stomach.
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