They’re everywhere, and they’re usually harmful. But did you know that some bacteria are really great for you? Good bacteria, called Probiotics, are favorable to the human body, and really are extremely important to have inside of us. While a lot people have heard of probiotics some people are still unsure or even confused as to exactly what they are and what they do. I have been asked variety of times to supply some clarity on this topic.
The following is a Q & A of the most frequent questions about probiotics. These are a few of the questions I have been asked through the years. At the end I have provided a brief list of the key points to understand about probiotics in addition to shopping points.
- What are Probitics exactly? Probiotics are bacteria that live in our own bodies. Trillions of living cultures of real bacteria. There are more of those bacteria living inside of us than there are cells that compose our body. An estimated 500-600 trillion live cultures of probiotic bacteria live in the human body (the body consists of an estimated 100 trillion human cells).
- Am I supposed to have bacteria living in my own body? Yes. The term Pro-biotic is a contraction of the Latin – for (pro), and the Greek – life (bio),”for life.” Probiotic means “for life.” Probiotics are also known as friendly bacteria or intestinal flora.
- Are these bacteria part of the body? No, probiotics are living organisms different from our bodies but residing within us. They’ve been there since birth and are assumed to be there. We really need them.
- Why do we have them? Probiotic bacteria form a symbiotic relationship residing within us. What they do for us is largely two-fold. Probiotics are an essential part of digestion where they perform the final breakdown and absorption of nutrients in the food we consume. Our body can’t effectively get nourishment without these bacteria. At the same time, probiotics are among our body’s main lines of defense against colds and illness. They fight and prevent infectious pathogens such as viruses and dangerous bacteria.
- How do carbohydrates fight a cold? Probiotics fight germs and virus in a couple of ways. One of those ways probiotic bacteria fight pathogens (infectious agents) is by crowding out the invader. Living organisms inside the body must attach to living tissue to survive. They can’t simply float around in our bodies and live. An adequate source of probiotic bacteria in the intestinal tract removes area for the pathogen to attach and grow. Another way they fight germs and virus is that it’s the character of some pro-biotic breeds to seek, attack, and destroy invading viruses and bacteria. A third is, studies have shown that lots of strains of probiotic bacteria stimulate the production of IgA (immunoglobulan antibodies) a crucial part of our body’s immune system. Essentially; the intestine, stomach, small and large intestine compose the main portion of our body’s immunological organs. They feature seventy percent of all of the IgA producing immune cells, which are critical for immune function. To put it simply, the health of the intestinal tract determines our general health. Do I need to/when if I take a probiotic nutritional supplement? Though our bodies are bombarded with germs and viruses everyday, our immune system are at work constantly and successfully prevent them from getting a foothold and making us ill. There are times though when the probiotics in our body, and our immune system can be overwhelmed, either by too many or too strong an attack. Taking a probiotic nutritional supplement at the first indication of a cold considerably improves our body’s natural abilities to defend against invading pathogens. When the first signs of a cold come on, many in the nutrition field reach first for a probiotic and second to vitamin c, echinacea, and other anti-viral and cold fighting solutions. Another time when it’s extremely important to take probiotic supplements is following a round of antibiotics (looking back at question 2, to what the term”probiotic” implies, will offer an idea of what antibiotic means). Antibiotics not only kill harmful bacteria but also kill the healthy friendly bacteria that we want. This destruction can wreak havoc on digestion and the absorption of nourishment from food. It’s the reason we often get diarrhea when taking antibiotics. Since probiotic bacteria are a significant part of our immune system, taking antibiotics also disrupts our body’s natural ability to defend itself from illness or infection. Even against things that we’d normally have conquered with no noticeable symptoms. These conditions will stay until our gut ecology is re-populated. Taking a probiotic supplement can accelerate this process geometrically. Additionally, it helps avoid the sluggishness frequently associated with taking antibiotics. This all sound great but haven’t I heard of probiotics before? You have. But you might not have understood what it was. The most well known probiotic is lactobacillus acidophilus. Most individuals are familiar with acidophilus as being among the “valuable” ingredients.
- This is in fact a strain of probiotic bacteria. I see on the nutritional supplement bottles “billions” of civilizations, is this too much? Billions seems like a lot. But bear in mind that we have trillions in us right now. Depending on the need people may take anywhere from 1 billion to 100 billion civilizations each day. No. The body will eliminate what is not employed. In extreme cases, or if mega-dosing, when hundreds of billions of probiotic cultures can be taken daily, gas and bloating may occur.
- How do you choose them? It’s typically better to take probiotics on an empty stomach. These strains of bacteria can be fragile and easily changed, diminished in amount, or even destroyed during digestion before they even reach the intestines that’s where they do their job. Take probiotics fifteen minutes before a meal (or even better a half an hour) or, at least a 30 to 45 minutes following a meal (or even better 1 hour). Some probiotic products are provided a unique outer coating known as an enteric coating. This prevents the capsule from opening in the stomach where the pH is acidic, or damaging, but opens easily in the gut where the pH is alkaline, or secure. In this scenario taking it with meals won’t be a problem. Not generally. It appears that all important, or well respected, brands in the nutritional-supplement sector all get their raw material from the identical few main suppliers of germs. Any reputable recognized brand carried in a health products retailer ought to be fine.
- There’s a lot of hype and advertising, how do I decide which one? Some manufacturer’s have joined with probiotic researchers to learn what the various germs requirements of the human body are in varying stages of human evolution. They’ve often tailored their products in line with the demands of a particular age or condition. Other manufacturer’s highlight the amount of civilizations in the billions in each capsule of the merchandise, and some the range of different strains. This is good. But, a product whose breeds, and amounts, has been associated with a need or into an age range is much better.
Good to know
Probiotics are freeze dried prior to being fabricated and put in capsules, and the bottles are vacuum sealed. This means they are shelf stable until the seal on the jar is broken. However, probiotics have to be refrigerated once the seal is opened. Without refrigeration the germs will “come alive” because of the heat and humidity in our homes. In the absence a food source and proper environment they’ll die off, and naturally be of no advantage. Pre-biotics is a phrase used to signify a fermentable fiber known as Fructo-oligosaccharides or FOS.
This vitamin is often used as organic a sweetener and is a principal source of food for probiotic bacteria. FOS’s are occasionally added to a probiotic supplement. Inulin is a typical pre-biotic, or FOS, found in several processed and natural foods. Are there some food sources of probiotics? Yes. Probiotics are made during the fermentation process. Generally any fermented food is going to be a source of probiotics. Fermented foods comprise Yogurt and Kefir, Miso, Natto and Tempeh, Pickles and Sour kraut, Kimchi, Soy sauce, and a few Cheeses, usually aged cheese (not processed or roasted ).
Do particular strains help certain problems? Yes. Some strains of probiotic bacteria are especially beneficial to certain problems. Lactobacillus Acidophilus for Candidiasis (yeast infections) and Lactobacillus Casei for Salmonella are just two examples. In many instances simply obtaining a product using a combined blend of bacteria strains will suffice.