Scientific interest in probiotic supplements and probiotics foods is getting higher each day. The recent reason is that probiotics have been found very impactful in improving immunity against diseases and helping the body with bowel diseases such as bloating, constipation and diarrhea. As human beings, we live with good and bad bacteria every day. While some of these bacteria exist outside the body, others are found within the human system. However, a large number of human bacteria is found in our digestive system. These bacteria help to break down food into nutrients needed by the body. Unfortunately, we can usually run short of good bacteria. When this happens, bad bacteria overtake events in our systems and cause serious injury to our health. As a solution, taking probiotics helps introduce more good bacteria into the body to fight harmful bacteria and balance our system. This article explains how probiotics have proved to be an effective therapy against bloating and other irritable bowel diseases.
Good Bacteria vs Bad Bacteria
The fight between good bacteria and bad bacteria occurs every minute in our bodies. Good bacteria, for instance, helps to improve food digestion and consumption. This process helps to breakdown rough food and release enzymes to digest complicated fibres in our food. Without this chain of processes, we may not produce enough vitamins and nutrients from our food. On the other hand, bad bacteria exist in a healthy person but cannot do a lot of harm because of the existence of good bacteria. Bad bacteria digest food incorrectly. They even add some toxins to the digestive process that could cause a gassy stomach. Bad bacteria enter into the body from each breath, talk and with the food we eat. They thrive more in an alkaline environment. This is why our stomach is acidic to kill most of them before they pass into the long intestine.
Thus, when bad bacteria outnumber good bacteria, we will start to suffer, and our health will start to degrade. Taking probiotics introduces good bacteria to compete with bad ones and keeps good bacteria in full control of the body.
Factors Affecting the Increase of Bad Bacteria in the Body.
Many factors are responsible for the decline of good bacteria in the body. They include medications and our lifestyle habits. They are:
- Use of antibiotics – taking antibiotic drugs could destroy useful bacteria in the body.
- Excessive alcohol intake
- High-fat diets
- Eating foods like meat and sugar.
- Genetic disorders
- Drinking water containing chlorine and fluoride.
Understanding the Types of Probiotics
The live organisms used as probiotics are of different types, such as bacteria, yeast or mould. However, "probiotic bacteria" are the commonest probiotic utilized in supplements. Probiotic bacteria consist of many strains. Each strain performs a specific function. Suppose you glance through the label of a probiotic supplement. In that case, you are likely to come across terms like "Lactobacillus," "Bifidobacterium," "Streptococcus," "Bacillus", etc. These terms refer to the strains of Probiotic bacteria used in that product that will perform a specific function in the body.
Probiotics: How Do They Help?
The primary function of probiotics is to fight against bad microbes and ensure a balance of bacteria in the body. This sole function provides us with a lot of health benefits. They include:
- Probiotics fight off harmful microbes and colonize our digestive system with useful bacteria.
- Probiotics ferment our food to simpler byproducts, vitamins, and nutrients need by the body.
- Probiotics regenerate the number of good bacteria killed by antibiotic treatments.
- Probiotics reduce the jobs of our digestive system by making it easy.
- Probiotics reduce gas, bloating, occasional constipation and intestinal discomfort.
- Probiotics promote immunity because they reduce the effect of the first attack of harmful compounds on the body. Thus they trigger an immune response.
- Probiotics enhance the bioavailability of nutrients.
Related: Health Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics use in Disease Treatment
Over the years, Scientists have noticed many advantages of taking probiotics in the body. Due to probiotics' effectiveness, they have been utilized to treat many severe bowel and gastrointestinal disorders. The confirmed results of these experiments include:
- Prevention of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Probiotics have proved to be an effective treatment against the inflammatory disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. These conditions include Crohn's disease, ulcer, blocked gastrointestinal tract, abdominal pain, bloated stomach and bleeding. After intake, probiotics functions to clear the blockage in our intestine and regulate the number of bacteria in our system. This process can also bring relief to bowel disease symptoms.
- Diarrheal Diseases: Probiotics can help treat diarrheal diseases, especially travellers' diarrhoea and diarrhoea in young children.
- Food allergies: Probiotics also help to treat food allergies. It reduces symptoms of lactose intolerance and decreases the prevalence of allergy in venerable persons.
- Cancer Prevention: Probiotics intake reduces the risk of certain cancers.
How Can I Supply My Body With Probiotics?
Probiotics are found in traditional foods such as beverages, salty fishes, yoghurt, and different types of cheeses. However, the best food sources of probiotics are fermented foods that naturally contain probiotics. They specifically include yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sourdough bread and some cheeses. Another source of Probiotics is supplements. There are lots of probiotic products in different doses and combinations on the market. Probiotic supplements are reliable and have, over time, been described as safe. When buying probiotic supplements, note that not all probiotics are created equal, and the benefits are strain and dose-specific. This means that the probiotic that can treat bloating may not necessarily prevent Crohn's disease. So, always read the product label to find the bacteria strains included and their specific health benefits. It is also advisable to consult a health care provider before you take probiotic supplements. Lastly, note that taking bacteria-derived probiotics should be separated from antibiotics by at least 2 hours.