What Are Probiotics And What Do They Do
Probiotics are living microorganisms that live in your gut and help your body in many different ways. But, do probiotics help your immune system? To answer that, its important to understand the relationship between probiotics and the body. But, most of the time, probiotics provide substantial health benefits.
While most probiotics are considered bacteria, there are some that are yeast. Most probiotics are obtained through supplementation and certain types of food particularly fermented food.
When a person hears the word “bacteria,” they assume its harmful. However, many bacteria are actually helpful. Bacteria are needed to digest food, produce vitamins and destroy disease-producing cells.
Most microorganisms in the best probiotics for immune support are similar to those naturally living in the body. However, you don’t want to confuse probiotics with prebiotics, which are dietary fibers that act as food for the bacteria that are already living in your gut.
And synbiotics are products that include both probiotics and prebiotics.
Now that you understand what probiotics are, it’s valuable to look at the connection of these microorganisms in relation to the immune system. On this page, we will answer the question, do probiotics help your immune system? Well also explain how probiotics help your immune system.
Adding Probiotics To The Gut Microbiome
Ingesting probiotics adds healthy bacteria to the gut microbiome, which helps improve the balance of good vs bad gut bacteria in a couple ways.
First, by adding probiotics to your routine you are adding beneficial bacteria directly to the microbiome, at least temporarily increasing counts of these useful bacteria in your system.
In addition to this, probiotics actually exert antimicrobial activity against pathogens in the gut. This means they can help push out those bad bacteria, bringing balance back to your gut microbiome.
Rebalancing your gut by taking probiotics may help to alleviate digestive symptoms, especially if your symptoms were caused by an imbalanced gut microbiome in the first place.
Better Absorption Of Nutrients
The gut flora is like the fermentation system of your body. What you may not realize is that good bacteria have digestive systems of their own which are not like ours. Good bacteria do things to the foods we eat that our own digestive system cant do. For example, we all need lots of B-Vitamins to stay healthy, such as biotin and folate. When we consume foods with these nutrients, the good bacteria must digest them first. Afterward, the body is able to absorb these nutrients for its own health. If something interferes with this process and the body cant absorb those nutrients, we will develop skin problems, reduced energy levels, and brain fogginess. So, by taking probiotics, it will allow the body to absorb the B Vitamins and sustain your health in these areas.
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Are Probiotics Safe For Kids Heres What You Need To Know
You may have passed them in the health food aisle at your local grocery store or seen a reference to them in your favorite healthy living blog probiotics.
Many adults use these supplements to help regulate their digestive systems. Some claim that probiotics can help with conditions like eczema and even yeast infections.
But probiotics dont always work the same for children.
Probiotics are useful for keeping your digestive tract healthy, says Dr. Joy Drass, pediatrician at Geisinger Port Matilda. But its important to know which probiotics you can give to your child, since they may not work the same way they do in adults.
Amines In Probiotic Foods May Trigger Headaches
Amines can excite the central nervous system, increase or decrease blood flow and may trigger headaches in people sensitive to the substance .
One study found that low-histamine diets reduced headaches in 75% of participants. However, a review of 10 controlled studies found no significant effect of dietary amines on headaches .
More research is needed to determine whether or not amines can be direct triggers of headaches or migraines in some people.
Keeping a food diary including any headache symptoms you might experience can help clarify whether fermented foods are problematic for you.
If probiotic-rich foods trigger your symptoms, a probiotic supplement may be a better choice.
Fermented foods rich in probiotics naturally contain amines. Some people may experience headaches after eating these foods, and should instead opt for probiotic supplements.
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The Side Effects Of Probiotics
Probiotics are safe for those who are healthy. If side effects occur, they are usually mild digestive issues, like gas. Just like before starting any new drug or supplement, you should talk to your healthcare provider before starting a probiotic. This advice is especially important for those with suppressed immune systems. Serious complications, like infections, have been reported in some people.
Immune Boosting Probiotic Strains And Supplements
The Lactobacillus species are some of the most common strains of probiotics youll find in probiotic supplements, and for good reason! ;
One specific strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been shown to be;beneficial in improving quality of life of allergy sufferers in some clinical studies.
Other common strains of probiotics belong to the Bifidobacterium family.
Like Lactobacillus, these are some of the first types of bacteria to colonize you when youre born and they are one of the powerhouse species in your gut. ;Some strains within this family may protect against eczema and food allergies by repairing intestinal hyperpermeability associated with these conditions.
One of the biggest findings in allergy research has been that people, and even babies, with allergies have less diversity within their gut microbiota meaning fewer unique species of bacteria. ;
With this in mind, it is likely most helpful to choose a probiotic that has several strains of good bacteria. ;Increasing gut microbe population and diversity is the name of the game here!
So, what youre looking for are probiotic supplements that contain multiple strains of the;Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families this will likely give you the most benefit.; To help you get started on your search, here are a few probiotics that fit the bill!
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How To Choose The Right Probiotic
When looking for probiotic products, look for a supplement with the following features
Multispecies and multistrain probiotic: The product should contain different bacterial species and multiple strains of bacteria.
Differentiated products tailored to your needs: Different digestive issues;warrant different probiotic strains. Therefore, for optimal benefits, try to seek out a probiotic;that is tailored to the specific health outcomes you are trying to achieve.
Clinical studies: The probiotic;and its claims should be backed by clinical studies using the final product. This will ensure that you are buying a product whose effects have been studied and proven.
Human strains: Only human bacterial strains can colonize your gut . Other bacteria, such as bacteria found in fermented foods;such as yogurt and in soil-based probiotics,;cannot colonize the gut and usually pass through your body within a few days. For lasting positive effects, you want to make sure that you have human strains that can colonize.
Free of animal proteins, allergens and fillers: It is recommended to choose a probiotic;that is free of dairy and other animal proteins, gluten, soy and yeast to ensure you are taking a clean product.
Delivery mechanism: When you ingest your probiotic, the probiotic;travels through the harsh, very acidic environment of the stomach before it reaches the small and large intestine.
How Probiotics And The Immune System Are Connected
Probiotics include many types of good bacteria that provide health benefits when consumed. And while new studies continue to explore exactly how probiotics work, we do know two things for sure:
- As the body loses “good” bacteria, the body and immune system suffer. You can lose this “good” bacteria when you take antibiotics and from an unhealthy diet.
- Probiotics work to balance the good and bad bacteria found in your body. And with a properly balanced digestive system, the body works as it should.;
Let’s examine the process deeper. In your gut, there are hundreds of different microorganism types. In fact, some estimations figure the gut may be home to more than 1,000 microorganisms. These microorganisms include bacteria, viruses and yeasts, but bacteria or gut flora make up the majority.
Most of this gut flora is located in your colon or large intestine, which makes up the final part of your digestive tract. Your gut flora is necessary for many vital functions required for good health. For example, studies show that gut flora manufacturers several vitamins, including Vitamin B and Vitamin K.
Gut flora also transforms fiber into short-chain fats, such as acetate, propionate and butyrate. These fats feed your gut wall and are needed for metabolic functions. As the fats stimulate the immune system, they also strengthen the gut wall. Research shows that a strong gut wall can prevent unwanted intruders from entering the body and stimulating an immune response.
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Best Probiotics For Allergies And Asthma
Disclosure ;This post contains affiliate links.;;;for details.
If you have asthma or allergies, youve probably been waiting for this section to find out how probiotics boost immunity! ;Fortunately for you, theres a lot of promising research out there to get you started!
I do want to preface this section by saying that while the research is promising, we still need more research.;
There have not been enough positive and consistent findings for scientists to be able to provide strong recommendations for specific probiotics for allergy or asthma relief or prevention. ;This is, in part, because of the complexity of how allergies develop.; ;
Until we have more specific information about how different strains work, please use the information below as a general guide.;
Make sure to discuss probiotics with your doctor or medical professional to find what will work best for you.; Were all different, after all!
The Best Way To Benefit From Probiotics
You can get probiotics from a variety of foods or supplements.
If you want to buy a probiotic supplement, then there is an with thousands of customer reviews.
Live probiotic cultures are often found in fermented dairy products such as yogurts and milk drinks. Fermented foods like pickled vegetables, tempeh, miso, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and soy products may also contain some lactic acid bacteria.
You can also take probiotics as tablets, capsules and powders that contain the bacteria in dried form.
However, be aware that some probiotics can be destroyed by stomach acid before they even reach the gut meaning that you get none of the intended benefits.
If you want to experience any of the health benefits discussed above, its important that you consume adequate amounts.
Most of the studies showing benefits used dosages of 1 billion to 100 billion live organisms or colony-forming units per day.
More about probiotics:
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What About Lactobacillus Plantarum What Immune System Benefits Can This Strain Of Bacteria Provide
This bacteria strain derived from plants has the ability to protect the immune system from pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacteria responsible for causing pneumonia, attacks the respiratory system and causes a buildup of pus, mucus, and other fluids to build up in the lungs as streptococcus multiplies in the body and is carried through the bloodstream. Lactobacillus plantarum helps white blood cells fight off this infection and prevent it from spreading to the respiratory system.;
Similarly, lactobacillus rhamnosus has immune health properties that can help prevent the spread of viruses. Like lactobacillus reuteri, lactobacillus rhamnosus helps with the production of T cells that can help fight off infections. Lactobacillus rhamnosus is particularly helpful in fighting off viral infections, like the flu. By helping trigger the production of T cells, lactobacillus rhamnosus can help strengthen the immune systems should a virus find its way into the bloodstream.
All three of these probiotic bacteria can help strengthen the immune system on top of helping relieve menopausal symptoms. By taking probiotic supplements, you can help protect your immune system. So get ready for flu season and keep your body healthy with the help of probiotic supplements.;;
Can I Use Probiotics To Help With Medical Conditions
There is currently a large amount of research happening around the idea of what probiotics can do for your body. Even though there are a lot of possibly positive outcomes, researchers are still working to find definitive answers about how probiotics can help with various conditions.
However, there are some medical conditions where probiotics may help. This can vary between people meaning that what works for one person may not work for another. These can also vary based on the certain probiotic that is taken.
Some of the conditions that might be helped by increasing the amount of probiotics in your body include:
- Upper respiratory infections .
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Are There Any Risks Related To Probiotics
Probiotics are generally considered safe. However, there are some risks linked to the supplements. These risks are increased if you have a medical condition that weakens your immune system, have recently had surgery or have other serious medical conditions.
Unlikely, but possible, risks can include:
- Developing an infection.
- Developing a resistance to antibiotics.
- Developing harmful byproducts from the probiotic supplement.
Can Probiotics Be Bad For You
Some people may experience unpleasant digestive symptoms for a short duration. Sometimes when your cleaning house, it is going to really suck at first. If you have ever used a colon cleanser, it is a bad idea to stray too far from the commode.
Amines that are found in some fermented foods may induce a headache.; I have never experienced a headache personally from the foods on the list above.; I have tried every one of them at one point in time.
As always, some people will be allergic. There is always someone allergic to some food source.; I broke out in hives once while trying a bunch of different dishes at the hotel I was waiting tables at during the Kentucky Derby.; I ended up getting the Epi shot to revive me that was scary and weird. I still do not have a clue to whatever food, spice, preservative, or whatever caused that.
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How Do Food Allergies Affect Digestion
Fermented dairy products are high in probiotics, but also one of the major food allergens, meaning some of the very foods that may help prevent this food allergy are off limits for those who already have the condition. The good news is if you have a food allergy, you can choose probiotic sources that are dairy-free or even nondairy fermented foods. Examples of nondairy probiotics include kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir , and tempeh.
Break Down And Absorb Medications
This benefit of probiotics varies according to the probiotic in question. They must survive the acidic environment of your digestive tract and stomach before reaching your intestines. High-quality probiotics reach your intestines intact. This allows your body to absorb the nutrients they contain. If probiotics aren’t intact when they reach your intestines, your body won’t extract the nutrients.
Megan Oster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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How Long Do Probiotics Stay Around
For some probiotics, specifically, all 0f the E.Coli probiotics, we have studies of them persisting for weeks and months:
- In a randomized double-blind clinical trial, healthy newborns were given the bacteria during their first 5 days of life . The stools were EcN-positive in >90% of infants for as long as 6 months.
- for the control group , within 2 weeks after secession of EcN administration, the strain could be detected in the stools of only 40% of individuals, dropping to 20% after 9 weeks ;
- Colinfant reported that the strain could still be detected in stools 25 weeks after dosage .;
- a human volunteer study was performed to investigate the colonization potential of Symbioflor 2, which resulted in long-term colonization in all five volunteers, for a period of at least 20 weeks;
On the other hand, the commonly taken ones stay just hours,
After oral consumption of probiotics, E. coli and enterococci could be detected in stool samples . In contrast, with only one exception, ingested lactobacilli and bifidobacteria could not be detected in human feces.
Bottom Line: E.Coli probiotics taken for a few days every month or two months, will keep the E.Coli in your system constantly. Enterococcus probiotics appear to have similar staying power. ;For almost everything else, the benefit will last only for 1-2 days after you stop taking them. ;E.Coli may be more expensive, but is;likely a wiser buy.
Do I Need To Take Probiotics After I Take Antibiotics
Antibiotic medications are often needed to fight an infection. However, while antibiotics are killing the bad bacteria, they are also knocking out the good bacteria in your body. Some people develop conditions like diarrhea after taking an antibiotic. In other people, this may allow for really bad bacteria to take over and populate the gut, such as with C. diff. Some research has shown a positive connection between taking probiotics after an antibiotic and relief from diarrhea. This hasnt been proven yet and doesnt work for everyone.
The thought behind adding probiotics back into your body after taking an antibiotic is that it can repopulate the good bacteria that was destroyed by the antibiotics and re-boot your system. The extra good bacteria helps repopulate your gut and fight off any remaining bad bacteria. Many people feel that adding in probiotics wont hurt, might help you feel better a little faster and prevent diarrhea.
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