Don't Buy Probiotics Before Reading This

Your body contains trillions of germs, mainly in your big intestine. The gut microbiota, or colonic community of bacteria, has a role in immunological health, digestion, and other processes.

In order to support healthy health, you need a proper balance of good and bad bacteria. Some of these microbes cause disease, while others combat it. When this equilibrium is off, issues arise. When that occurs, probiotics can be beneficial.

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that are identical to those that are naturally present in your body. An even greater variety of probiotic bacterial strains are included in the numerous probiotic products available on the market. You must pick the best option to solve your specific issue in order to gain from it.


According to Gail Cresci, PhD, RD, an expert in intestinal microbes at Cleveland Clinic's Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition. “If someone has disrupted his gut microbial balance, this is where a probiotic can be of benefit,”. “But whether it’s really going to help and whether you’re taking the right one are the big questions out there.”

The Basic of Probiotic

It is thought that an imbalance in the gut microbiota causes various health disorders, especially digestive problems, immunological dysfunction, and infections. Medical disorders, physical and emotional stress, and, most significantly, antibiotics—which kill both good and bad bacteria—can all upset the bacterial balance.

Probiotics assist in reversing the balance in favor of the beneficial bacteria. This may help those who suffer from IBS, ulcerative colitis, acute infectious diarrhea, diarrhea brought on by using antibiotics, or diarrhea brought on by a Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection. They may also strengthen your immune system, reduce inflammation, and maybe lower your cholesterol.

On Selecting a Probiotic

A product needs to say on its package that it contains live, active bacterial cultures in order to be considered a true probiotic.

A typical guideline is to select probiotic products comprising the genera Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, or Saccharomyces boulardii, some of the most extensively studied probiotics and having at least 1 billion CFU. However, you might need to look further because each species of bacteria contains a variety of strains with varying effects.

Dr. Cresci cites the two "starter" bacterial cultures Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus used in the production of yogurt as an example. But, these bacteria are frequently destroyed by stomach acid and have no therapeutic effects. However, some businesses add extra bacteria into the product, so she advises checking the labels and selecting goods with bacteria added to the starter cultures.

Dr. Cresci suggests avoiding retail brands and spend a bit more on the name brand that's been examined. For example, search for a product that has been evaluated for the issue you're trying to solve. Even if the product may claim to aid with IBS, you wouldn't use it if you were also on antibiotics. An immunity-boosting substance would be what you would want. Many individuals become puzzled by that.

Probiotic foods are a preferable option, according to Dr. Cresci, but other people prefer probiotic supplementation. In particular, fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir (a drink that tastes like yogurt), kombucha (fermented black tea), sauerkraut (refrigerated, not shelf-stable), kimchi (made from fermented cabbage), tempeh, and miso (made from fermented soybeans), offer healthy bacteria a nurturing environment so they may grow and create a valuable byproduct called short-chain fatty acids.

Probiotic foods are good for your immune system, inflammation, and cholesterol. Dr. Cresci advised to start with foods first, but there is always a place for supplements, such as if you require a certain strain of bacteria that isn't present in a food source.

Give Your Bacteria Food

Although the probiotic market is increasing, probiotic products' advantages and the number of live bacteria they contain can differ. Therefore, Dr. Cresci suggests that consuming prebiotics, such as fermentable fiber, which boosts your own beneficial bacteria, may be preferable to adding bacteria from an external source. Dried beans and other legumes, garlic, asparagus, onions, leeks, certain artichokes, green bananas, and wheat are excellent dietary sources of prebiotics. There are also prebiotic dietary supplements available.

Dr. Cresci says that fermentable fiber is what bacteria prefer. If you consume a healthy diet, you may not need a probiotic. It truly comes down to your diet that includes prebiotics if you want to try a one-size-fits-all approach to enhancing your gut health. Probably the major factor affecting our gut microbiome is what we consume.

How to Begin Using Probiotics

Do you intend to try out probiotics? Here are some key ideas from Dr. Cresci to help you manage them:

  • Probiotics are normally not advised if you have a damaged immune system, even though they are widely acknowledged as safe. If probiotics are right for you, ask your doctor.
  • The probiotic that works for you could require some trial and error. Try a different product with a different strain of bacteria if after a few weeks you see no benefits from the first one.
  • According to Dr. Cresci, probiotics may result in bloating, gas, and changes in your bowel habits, all of which are signs that the supplement is functioning.
  • Prebiotic meals promote the growth of your healthy bacteria. Include fermentable fiber sources such as beans, asparagus, onions, green bananas, and others in your diet.

In conclusion

Probiotics are crucial for the overall health of your digestive system. Including probiotic foods in your diet is preferred, but if you need a specific strain of bacteria, a probiotic supplement is necessary. It is possible to efficiently improve your gut microbiome if you know how to get the best probiotic for you from a trusted source.

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