A bowel movements eight hours after every significant meal ensures utmost cleaning of gastrointestinal (GI) tracts. Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies have established 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.
Our body is home to a wide variety of creatures too small to see. Comprising predominantly of bacteria that populate our gut, some fungi, and even viruses. Probiotics are beneficial gut bacteria that help stimulate the natural digestive juices and enzymes that keep our digestive organs functioning properly. There are two main groups of probiotics: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Each group has different species, and each species has different strains.
The cells that make up your body (heart, liver, bone, and brain cells) add up to around 1013 cells (10,000,000,000,000). The bacteria in your gut outnumber the cells that make up you ten to one. By far, most of these bacteria are found in the colon.
More Benefit of Probiotics:
Avoid frequent use of antibiotics as it can upset the balance of good and bad bacteria.
Researches have shown that a number of diseases—including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease—are associated with changes in our gut bacteria or microbiota. Some have been linked to obesity.
They help to train the immune system: The bacteria in the gut help to stimulate and train the immune system. There is also some intriguing new research that supports the theory that gut bacteria can have a calming effect on an overactive immune system. This creates hope for the possibility of new ways to reduce asthma and eczema.
Research in mice published last year suggested that while one strain of bacteria, H elicobacterhepaticus, can promote IBD when introduced into the digestive tract, a molecule produced by another strain of bacteria, B acter oi des fragilis, may signal immune cells to suppress the disease’s characteristic inflammation. Clinical trial results are mixed, but several small studies suggest that certain probiotics may help maintain remission of ulcerative colitis and prevent relapse of Crohn’s disease and the recurrence of pouchitis (a complication of surgery to treat ulcerative colitis).
- Aid in Digestion: The bacteria in the first part of the colon help to ferment and digestcarbohydrates, and the ones in the latter part of the colon help to digest fats and proteins.
The most beneficial of the digestive processes appears to be had from the digesting of carbohydrates; much of the nutrient value we derive comes from the ability of bacteria to digest hard-to-digest carbohydrates. Any carbohydrate such as a fiber, which is too difficult for us to digest – or any carbohydrate that simply wasn’t digested earlier in the digestive tract – becomes food for the bacteria in the colon. Ideally your digestive tract should have 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria.
- Better Nourishment: As these probiotics are munching on undigested food in the colon, they help us absorb keyvitamins such as biotin and vitamin K. They also help to balance water in the gut. Studies show that probiotics improve the bio-availability of many important nutrients in the body such as zinc, iron, phosphorus, all of the B vitamins, calcium, copper, and magnesium.
- Prevent Toxic build up: Good bacteria compete for food and attachment sites (areas in the gut where bacteria are capable of implanting), and produce toxins that are harmful to the invading bacteria; this helps in keeping the population of bad bacteria low. Acidophilus, for example, produces hydrogen peroxide which is directly toxic to many bacteria.
- Ward off Obesity: One recent study by researchers in Arizona suggests that certain microbes that improve nutrient digestion, and are present in about 10 percent of the population, occur almost exclusively in the obese and not in people who are normal weight or who have had gastric bypass surgery. Despite the accumulating evidence, though, the field is still in its infancy, says John DiBaise, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona and an author of the study. That means it’s far too early to try to manipulate your own gut bacteria through probiotics or prebiotics with an eye to losing pounds.
- Minimum scope for Kidney Stone: One microbe, Oxalobacter formigenes, can break down the substance that makes up most kidney stones, calcium oxalate. Researchers from Boston University reported that people with the O. formigenes bug in their guts had a 70 percent lower risk of kidney stones.
- Urogenital Health: Probiotics may also be of use in maintaining urogenital health. Like the intestinal tract, the vagina has a finely balanced ecosystem. The dominant Lactobacilli strains normally make it too acidic for harmful microorganisms to survive. But the system can be thrown out of balance by a number of factors, including antibiotics, spermicides, and birth control pills. Probiotic treatment that restores the balance of microflora may be helpful for such common female urogenital problems as bacterial vaginosis (disease of the vagina caused by bacteria), yeast infection, and urinary tract infection.
- Reduction in Cholesterol Level: People affected with hypercholesterolemia may avert the use of cholesterol-lowering drugs by practicing dietary control or supplementation of probiotics and/or prebiotics. In a study published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a diet that combined soy and a probiotic supplement significantly reduced harmful lipids in the system. “Based on the currently available literature, we can state that oral probiotics have beneficial effects on total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol for subjects with high, borderline-high and normal cholesterol levels,” the study’s authors concluded. They noted that the average reduction in lipid levels was less than 3% and therefore relatively small compared with available lipid-lowering medications. They went on to suggest that probiotics might be useful in conjunction with medications in people with high cardiovascular risk.
- Increased Ability to Absorb Calcium: Bananas are an exceptionally rich source of fructooligosaccharide, a compound that nourishes probiotic (friendly) bacteria in the colon. These beneficial bacteria produce enzymes that increase our digestive ability and protect us from unhealthy bacteria infections. Thanks to fructooligosaccharides, probiotic bacteria can increase both in number and functionality, increasing our body’s ability to absorb calcium. In addition, green bananas contain indigestible short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that are very nutrient to the cells that make up the mucosa of the stomach. These cells, when healthy, absorb calcium much more efficiently.
- Remedy for Bad Breath (Halitosis): Occasionally, bad breath is due to something in the lungs or gastrointestinal tract, or to a systemic infection. Scientists suspect that some bacteria, particularly bacteria located on the top of your tongue closest to your throat, actually protect against foul-smelling breath. Other types of bacteria, however, produce a pungent odor as they multiply.
Melons, berries and citrus fruits such as oranges are packed with vitamin C, something that doesn’t sit well with the bacteria in your mouth. Instead of continuing to reproduce, the bacteria will begin to die. And the more C-laden fruits you eat, the more oral germs you’ll kill. Kefir is a good start.
Probiotic Foods Sources
- Dark Chocolate
- Kefir- creamy dairy drink similar to yogurt.
- Sauerkraut- made from fermented cabbage
- Miso Soup
- Microalgae- such as spirulina, chorella, and blue-green algae.
- Tempeh: a fermented, probiotic-rich grain made from soy beans.
- Kimchi: an extremely spicy and sour fermented cabbage.
- Kombucha Tea
You can also get plenty of beneficial bacteria by taking a probiotic supplement.
Note: When buying fermented food products, make sure the labels include words such as “live” or “active cultures.”
1. Can probiotics help with constipation?
Yes, probiotics can help with constipation. Probiotics help relieve constipation related to certain medications, digestive issues (inflammatory Bowel Syndrome or IBS), and pregnancy. Generally, probiotics are safe and effective.
The specific probiotic strains for constipation include Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium infantis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Saccharomyces boulardii, and Lactobacillus plantarum. Probiotics are also an excellent addition to your healthy diet, helping improve bowel regularity.
2. Can I take probiotics every day?
Yes, generally, it’s safe to take probiotics daily because they are a natural supplement. But of course, there are a few exceptions, most especially those with severe digestive conditions. Only medicines have a specific recommended dosage or limit.
3. Are there any side effects taking probiotics?
For the general population, probiotics are safe. However, there are also side effects, including bloating, thirst, and constipation. There are some people who react poorly to probiotic ingredients or amines that are naturally occurring in probiotic foods.
4. How do you know if probiotics are effective?
You’ll know if taking probiotics is working in your body if you experience less bloating, less constipation, less diarrhea, less stomach pain, and regular bowel movements, as well as normal cholesterol and improve glycemic. These signs improve your gut microbiome.
5. When is the best time to take probiotics?
Probiotics have cumulative benefits. If you usually take probiotics before breakfast, but your daily routine gets thrown off, you can still take them in the afternoon or before dinner. The best time to consume probiotic foods is shortly before food intake.
Probiotics are gut-friendly bacteria that can help resolve common digestive problems, including less constipation and diarrhea. They promote improved bowel movements and make you feel healthier inside out. You can take probiotic drinks or food, whatever is best for your lifestyle. They are safe and effective to consume in moderation, improving your bowel movement and overall health.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.