Surely there is no one who has not heard of probiotics and how important they are to our health. Still, the information relating to those beneficial microorganisms can sometimes be confusing. Can our body synthesize probiotics or have to take them? If yes, is it enough to eat probiotic foods or need to take supplements? If you drink supplements, should we do it consistently or a single course is enough? And what of all the supplements on the market to choose when the offering is so great and generally there any difference between the probiotic supplements?
What are probiotics?
As their name explain, the probiotics (pro – meaning “for” and biotic – referring to life) are beneficial microorganisms that we take as food or food supplements and support our healthy life. Probiotics are basically two types – on the basis of bacteria (such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium) and on the basis of yeasts (such as S.boulardii).
Traditionally known probiotics, which are part of most probiotic supplements, contain lactic acid bacteria, such as Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, and others. However, there is another type of probiotics taken from soil or from plants known as SBOs (soil-based-organisms). More on the difference between these two groups is explained in the text below.
Why do we need probiotics?
The importance of probiotics for our health is really huge! All essential functions in the body require their participation. Here are just some of the things that probiotics do for us!
- – Help us to break down and absorb food;
- – Ensure our sustainable immune system;
- – Balance pH in the small and large intestine;
- – Regulate motility;
- – Reduce inflammation in the intestine;
- – Protect teeth and gums;
- – Synthesize vitamins – B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 and K;
- – Improve absorption of minerals;
- – Neutralize toxins;
- – Do not allow the growth of candida and other pathogens;
- – Normalize cholesterol and triglycerides, and much more.
Is it enough to eat probiotic foods to be healthy?
The simple answer is “yes.” If you do it every day! That’s right – one of the popular myths associated with probiotics is the idea that once they fall in our intestines, they bend a tent and stay there forever! In fact, the only time in life when beneficial microorganisms can permanently settle in the gut is the time of birth, when the intestines are almost sterile in the first two years of life. That is why natural birth and correctly feeding the baby are critical, and many diseases of later life can be traced back to the time of birth.
After this brief period early in life intestinal flora remains more or less stable. Beneficial bacteria that we take with food or supplements usually stay a while and leave the body. It is therefore important to regularly, possibly every day to accept probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir, fermented fruit and vegetables or if you are unable to do for a long time, compensate with supplements.
When you buy probiotics, choose those which contain the highest amount of live microorganisms, meaning a capsule or powder scoop of 5-30 billion live bacteria. While this may sound too much, your stomach needs trillions to be in balance, so do not give up at the sight of the listed zeros.
Probiotics as food supplements
And here it becomes really confusing because the market offers dozens of probiotics and most of them sound like the solution to all your intestinal and general health problems. But, they will not!
For probiotics is important to know several very important facts, if you want their intake to lead you to the desired result. We can divide probiotic supplements into 2 groups: therapeutic and supportive.
Therapeutic probiotics are directed to treat a specific condition or pathology. For example, there are probiotics suitable for the treatment of eczema, colic, reflux, acute diarrhea, constipation, Candida, bacterial vaginosis and other. In these probiotics the bacterial strain is extremely important because not every probiotic will achieve the desired effect. For example, it is often recommended for baby colic a probiotic, which contains mainly the strain Lactobacillus reuteri Protectis, which helps mostly in baby reflux. Vaginal problems would be affected, for example, only by probiotic containing strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14.
Complex conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, allergies and intolerances, autoimmune diseases, conditions on the autism spectrum and others require complex probiotics combining different strains and to be taken in high doses.
Supporting probiotics are taken after therapy in order to compensate the irregular consumption of probiotic products. For this usage are appropriate the combined probiotics, but in much lower doses than the therapeutic probiotics.
Admission and dosage
Another popular mistake is the recommendation probiotics to be taken on an empty stomach. Then the full force of stomach acid is directed against the beneficial microorganisms. Much more friendly for them to be taken with food or after meals, when stomach acid targeting the lunch or dinner.
Note that even bacteria that reach the intestine dead have a useful role in our health! Their cell walls contain substances that enhance the immune response, but also absorb toxins and displayed them outside the body.
Regarding the dosage is better at supporting admission to stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations. When it comes to therapeutic probiotic when needed higher doses, however, it is better to follow the pattern appointed by the expert. The reason is that with this intake probiotics begin to destroy pathogenic flora, viruses and fungi in the intestines. When these pathogens die, they release toxins and you may temporarily feel die-off symptoms that may include discomfort, fatigue, skin irritation, etc.. To minimize these symptoms is important the intake to be gradually growing up to reaching the therapeutic dose.
Probiotics and antibiotics
Many believe that there is no reason to take probiotics during antibiotic treatment because antibiotics destroy beneficial microorganisms. This belief is true but only partly. Undoubtedly the strongest drug will destroy part of probiotics, but another part will remain and will significantly reduce the negative effects that antibiotics cause on intestinal tract. The only essential condition in this case is the antibiotic and probiotic to be taken at different times or at least in several hours interval between them.
The probiotic should not be taken simultaneously with the antibiotic, because the antibiotic kills with harmful and beneficial bacteria. There must be a time difference. And after stopping the antibiotic treatment, the probiotics should be taken at least another week. There are no contraindications for taking probiotics. It is important to know and that probiotics should not be taken on an empty stomach because they are under the influence of the gastric juice. Most appropriate is to be taken during meals or after meals.
The topic of probiotics is long and extensive, but here are the most important things that you should remember from today’s post:
- Probiotics play a key role in our health and to live without them is impossible.
- In order to maintain a balanced intestinal mikrofolora you need each day to consume probiotic foods or take probiotics as supplements.
- When choosing a probiotic supplement is important to choose between therapeutic and supportive.
- Qualitative supporting probiotics combine traditional strains with SBOs.
- Choosing the right strain and dosage is crucial for achieving a therapeutic effect.
- Take probiotics with meals or after meals to save them from the destructive effects of gastric acid.