Friday, May 24, 2024

Why Do We Need Probiotics

Must read

Is It Ok To Take Probiotics Every Day

Why do we need probiotics?

A common question about probiotics is whether it is ok to take probiotic supplements every day. Whilst there may be a few exceptions to this rule, the general answer is yes, it’s safe, and usually recommended, to take them daily.

It’s important to understand that probiotics are a natural supplement and not a medicine. They are best used as part of a daily health regime, rather than as a ‘quick fix’ option, though there are some situations where certain strains can be taken for a short time, such as alongside antibiotics. Fermented foods containing live cultures have been part of traditional diets in many different ethnic groups for centuries. Learn more by reading about our 5 favourite fermented foods. People have been consuming probiotics for generations in foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and kombucha , but it has only been more recently that we have been able to consume specific strains for specific purposes, in easy-to-take capsules, powders, or kids’ gummies.

Can Probiotics Hurt Me

For most healthy people, probiotics dont cause any harm. They are generally considered safe and are often given a try to see if they could help with various medical conditions. Theres a lot of research around the topic of probiotics. Scientists are trying to determine when and how they should be used, as well as how effective they are. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting a probiotic supplement because there are some cases where you shouldnt be taking them. Its always best to have the conversation first before starting a new supplement.

Can Reduce Risk Of Developing Clostridium Difficile Infection

Clostridium difficile is a bacterium that can cause a serious gastrointestinal infection, particularly in people who have been hospitalized or taken antibiotics for long periods. Research in The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews concluded with moderate certainty that probiotics can reduce the risk of C. difficile-associated diarrhea in adults and children who are taking antibioticsGoldenberg JZ, Yap C, Lytvyn L, et al. Probiotics for the prevention of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea in adults and children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 12:CD006095. . Interestingly, probiotics can prevent C. difficile infection but not treat it, says Cresci. Other research has found favorable results with the Lactobacillus strains, specificallyPierre-Jean Maziade, Noam Ship, Jason C Sniffen, Ellie J C Goldstein. Enhanced Clostridioides difficile Infection Prevention With a Pharmacy-Controlled Policy That Adds a 3-Strain Lactobacillus Probiotic Concomitantly to Antibiotic Therapy. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2021. .

Note that if you are taking antibiotics, experts recommend taking probiotics at least two to three hours after your antibiotic dose.

Read Also: Can Prenatal Vitamins Cause Diarrhea

Probiotics Can Aid Digestion And Help Maintain Gut Health

What are the benefits of taking probiotics? Bacteria have a reputation for causing disease, so the idea of tossing down a few billion a day for your health might seem literally and figuratively hard to swallow. But a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria. Northern Europeans consume a lot of these beneficial microorganisms, called probiotics , because of their tradition of eating foods fermented with bacteria, such as yogurt. Probiotic-laced beverages are also big business in Japan.

Some digestive disease specialists are recommending probiotic supplements for disorders that frustrate conventional medicine, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies suggest that probiotic therapy can help treat several gastrointestinal ills, delay the development of allergies in children, and treat and prevent vaginal and urinary infections in women.

Self-dosing with bacteria isn’t as outlandish as it might seem. An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms representing more than 500 different species inhabit every normal, healthy bowel. These microorganisms generally don’t make us sick most are helpful. Gut-dwelling bacteria keep pathogens in check, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function.

Are There Benefits To Probiotics

Probiotics â What are they &  why do we need them ...

Some clinical studies suggest that certain probiotics can help in certain contexts. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, the probiotic Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 can help treat irritable bowel syndrome , while Saccharomyces boulardii, a yeast, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG can each reduce the risk of diarrhea in adults taking antibiotics.

Specific probiotics have also been shown to help treat pouchitis, ulcerative colitis, colic and infectious diarrhea, and to reduce the risk of developing Clostridium difficile infections after taking antibiotics.

To understand the various contexts in which probiotics could be useful, check out this guide recommended by Gregor Reid, a microbiologist and immunologist at Western University in Ontario, Canada, and the former president of the industry-fundedInternational Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics , although some products on the list are backed by more research than others.

And no matter what the science says, probiotics sold as dietary supplements are not disease-treating drugs. If companies want to market their probiotics as medical treatments, they have to pursue a form of Food and Drug Administration approval to market them as live biotherapeutic products. Thus far, no probiotics have been given this designation.

Recommended Reading: What Can You Take For Diarrhea While Pregnant

The Probiotic That Worked For Your Friend Might Not Work For You

Even with antibiotic-associated diarrhea, which has the best evidence, “you could have seven people take the same probiotic and only have one report a definite difference,” says gastroenterologist Matthew Ciorba, M.D., a medical professor who studies human gut microbiota at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. That’s because each person’s microbial makeup is as unique as a fingerprint, influenced by age, genetics, and gender. For example, animal research from the University of Texas at Austin found the microbes living in the guts of males and females react differently to the same diet. Scientists are now studying ways to harness a person’s own microbes to treat illnesses, rather than going for a mass approach.

Could You Benefit From A Probiotic Supplement

While there are several potential benefits of probiotics, its important to get educated before you increase your probiotic intake.

Lactobacillus Bifidobacterium.

When you go to the grocery store, youre likely to see a number of items containing probiotics, these friendly microorganisms that are most commonly bacteria and sometimes a type of yeast.

And thanks to their popularity, you can find everything from probiotic smoothies, chocolate, and granola bars to probiotic supplements and powders.

Though theyve become more prominent over the last two decades, Probiotics have actually been consumed by humans in one form or another for more than 100 years, says Susan Lucak, MD, a gastroenterologist in New York City and a special lecturer at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University.

The two most common types of probiotics found on the market are species of good bacteria called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. While their manufacturers claim that probiotics have a number of overall and digestive health benefits, supplement dosing and the included strains vary widely, and not everyone needs one.

Don’t Miss: Can Align Probiotic Cause Nausea

What Are The Health Benefits Of Probiotics

Probiotics may seem new to the food and supplement industry, but they have been with us from our first breath. During a delivery through the birth canal, a newborn picks up the bacteria Bacteroides, Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Escherichia coli from his/her mother. These good bacteria are not transmitted when a Cesarean section is performed and have been shown to be the reason why some infants born by C-section have allergies, less than optimal immune systems, and lower levels of gut microflora.

What exactly do probiotics do? They are believed to protect us in two ways. The first is the role that they play in our digestion. We know that our digestive tract needs a healthy balance between the good and bad gut bacteria, so what gets in the way of this? It looks like our lifestyle is both the problem and the solution. Poor food choices, emotional stress, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, other drugs, and environmental influences can all shift the balance in favor of the bad bacteria.

Probiotics Are Good Bacteria

Why we need probiotics

Your body is home to billions of organisms like bacteria, fungi and yeasts. Most of these organisms are harmless and many help your body work properly they form whats called the human microbiome.

Probiotics are some of the helpful good bacteria that make up your microbiome, explains Dr. Drass. They come in supplement form, but they also occur naturally in certain foods.

These fermented and aged foods are packed with probiotics:


Your kids likely get most of their probiotic intake from yogurt.

You May Like: Does Tramadol Make You Constipated

How Do I Keep My Microbiome Healthy

Easy. Maintain a healthy ratio of good bugs to keep the bad ones in check. Thing is, unless you eat like an herbivorous angel, youre going to want to complement your diet with supplemental good bugs, like Jetsons seasonal probiotics. Taking probiotics every day is the best way to ensure that your body is stocked up with good bugs to keep your immune system running smoothly.

How Might Probiotics Work

Probiotics may have a variety of effects in the body, and different probiotics may act in different ways.

Probiotics might:

  • Help your body maintain a healthy community of microorganisms or help your bodyâs community of microorganisms return to a healthy condition after being disturbed
  • Produce substances that have desirable effects
  • Influence your bodyâs immune response.

You May Like: Can Prenatal Vitamins Cause Diarrhea

What Are The Most Common Types Of Probiotic Bacteria

Though there are many types of bacteria that can be considered probiotics, there are two specific types of bacteria that are common probiotics found in stores. These include:

  • Lactobacillus.
  • Bifidobacterium.

Probiotics are also made up of good yeast. The most common type of yeast found in probiotics is:

  • Saccharomyces boulardii.

How Popular Are Probiotics

Why Do We Need Probiotic Supplements?

The 2012 National Health Interview Survey showed that about 4 million U.S. adults had used probiotics or prebiotics in the past 30 days. Among adults, probiotics or prebiotics were the third most commonly used dietary supplement other than vitamins and minerals. The use of probiotics by adults quadrupled between 2007 and 2012. The 2012 NHIS also showed that 300,000 children age 4 to 17 had used probiotics or prebiotics in the 30 days before the survey.

Recommended Reading: Curcumin Drug Interactions Side Effects

How Probiotics Might Be Bad For You

Because these good bacteria already exist in the body, theyâre considered safe for most people. But there are some things to consider.

They can trigger an allergic reaction. They might cause mild stomach problems, especially the first few days you start taking them. You might have stomach upset, gas, diarrhea, or bloating. Those symptoms usually go away after your body gets used to them.

If you have an immune system problem or another serious health condition, you may have a greater chance of issues. Some reports have linked probiotics to serious infections and other side effects. The people most likely to have trouble are those with immune system problems, people who’ve had surgery, and others who are critically ill. Don’t take probiotics if you have any of those issues.

Always talk to your pediatrician before giving probiotic supplements to your child. If you’re pregnant or nursing, you should also talk to your doctor before you try one.

Most probiotics in the U.S. are sold as dietary supplements. That means the companies that make them don’t have to test their products and show that they work or that they are safe. More research is needed to confirm that probiotics are safe and effective.

Ask your doctor which probiotics are the right ones for you. Be sure to stop taking them if you have any problems.

What Do Probiotics Do

  • Modulate the immune system
  • This interaction is critical between the host and the microbes living with us. It is essential not only to the bacteria but also to the human host. Failure in this interaction will result in problems such as allergies, autoimmune diseases, and infections.

    Our immune system exists to protect us by killing anything that is not us. Microbes are not us. Probiotics need to peacefully communicate with the immune system so that it allows them to thrive. The peace agreement between our immune system and probiotics also benefits the host by preventing the unnecessary war against microbes and other things, such as pollen, that do not hurt us. This agreement is temporarily and spatially limited, so the immune system can protect us in a timely fashion when it should fight something like an infection.

    Please read my study if you want to know more about the theory behind this: .

  • Provide extra energy
  • In the gut, probiotics degrade organic fibers that humans cannot digest. Part of the energy released by probiotics can be taken and used by humans.

  • Provide nutrients
  • For example, some probiotics can synthesize vitamin B12 in the gut that is essential to our health.

  • Degrade toxic substances
  • For example, some probiotics break down bile acid and eat cholesterol.

  • Occupy space to inhibit pathogens from growing.
  • You May Like: How Much Is Align Probiotic

    Improved Digestion And Nutrient Absorption

    Remember, one of the benefits of probiotics is that they help you to absorb nutrients from the food you eat. By adding a blend of probiotic cultures and digestive enzymes into your greens powder, itll help you to extract the maximum amount of nutrition possible from your greens supplements .

    Probiotics help you to absorb nutrients from the food you eat. By adding a blend of probiotic cultures and digestive enzymes into your greens powder, itll help you to extract the maximum amount of nutrition possible from your greens powder!

    How To Pick The Right Probiotic Source

    What are Probiotics?

    There are so many different brands and types probiotics out there, but ultimately it’s important to find the one that works for you. “If you’re new to probiotics, just taking a general diverse one will be effective,” says Gandhi. “Ideally, though, the more colony-forming units, the better. We want to diversify our gut microbiome.”

    For the most part, Trubow says, “People generally do well with Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces boulardii, but Bifidobacterium strains are also beneficial.”*

    Robert Rountree, M.D., renowned integrative physician, also adds, “You want something that’s got a good stability, got a good shelf life, and then you want to have strains that have actually been well researched.”

    Don’t Miss: Watery Diarrhea While Pregnant

    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.

    What If Im Healthy Will Taking A Probiotic Help Me

    Always consult your doctor if you have an immune disorder or any serious underlying illness before taking a probiotic.

    If you are generally healthy then there arent too many downsides. If you take a supplement, give it a month, trust yourself, and see how your body responds. Its possible that youll feel better but know that studies indicate the positive outcomes you experience could be a placebo effect.

    Thats worthwhile if you feel better, but its also expensive, Doron says.

    If you are healthy, curious, and OK with spending the extra money, feel free to try a supplement. As we mentioned, it could have benefits for immunity and creating more short-chain fatty acids to help your gut. But only time will tell if this is the case for people with no health problems.

    You May Like: Does Salad Give You Gas

    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.

    Can I Get Probiotics From Food

    What are probiotics: what are they and why do we need them ...

    You can absolutely increase beneficial microbes in your body from the foods you eat. Certain foods have probiotics in them and can benefit the health of your microbiome.

    These foods can be introduced into your diet at any point of the day. You may even be regularly eating them now and not realize that they contain probiotics. You will want to check the food label for live and active cultures. A few suggestions for just some of the probiotic-rich foods you can add to your diet and some times to try them include:

    For breakfast, try:

    • Powders.
    • Liquids.

    Probiotic supplements may be combined with a prebiotic. Prebiotics are complex carbohydrates that feed the microorganisms in your gut. Basically, prebiotics are the food source for the good bacteria. They help feed the good bacteria and keep it healthy. Prebiotics include inulin, pectin and resistant starches.

    When you have a supplement that combines a probiotic and prebiotic, its called a synbiotic.

    Read Also: What Can You Take For Diarrhea While Pregnant

    Reason #3 To Stop Taking Probiotics: Your Digestive Issue Is In The Past

    This is why I stopped taking probiotics and this is when I tell my clients to stop taking probiotics. Nevertheless, many people continue to take pricey probiotic supplements for preventative reasons.

    While I think thats safer than taking drugs like statins for preventative reasons, remember, fermented foods give us a far greater variety and complexity of beneficial bacteria than probiotic supplements. While we cant deny the benefits of probiotic supplementation, over the long term I trust the thousands of years of fermented foods in the human diet more than laboratory formulations.

    Give me fermented foods over supplements any day.

    Much tastier too.

    More articles

    Popular Articles