What are Probiotics supplements?
Probiotics are bacteria needed to keep a good balance of the helpful kinds of microflora organisms in the human intestines. These bacteria were first called prebiotics in 1953 because it was found they helped the functioning of the human digestive tract.
The human body normally should have about 400 kinds of probiotics that help to keep our intestinal tract healthy and working properly. The one most people are familiar with is called Lactobacillus acidophilus, and you can find in some types of yogurt (read about other the top vitamins for women here).
Some of the other known kinds of helpful prebiotics include: Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacteria bifidum, Bifidobacteria longum, Bacillus coagulans, Bifidobacteria infantis, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus salviarius, Lactococcus lactis, Enterococcus faecium, and Streptococcus thermophilus.
Probiotic have actually been used for hundreds of years in several cultures in the form of fermented foods and cultured milk products. Probiotics are taken by people of all ages, and some people even give them to their pets.
Why do people take probiotics?
You can also get probiotics in the form of dietary supplements that are taken to treat stomach and intestinal problems, as well as help to produce vitamins B and K.
Probiotics supplements can help to treat or stop diarrhea, cramping, bloating and gas, as well as aid in digesting food. Some take them when they are prescribed antibiotics because these can sometimes kill off the “good” bacteria in the human body.
Probiotics supplements are also used in treatment of lactose intolerance, lowering high cholesterol, improving the immune system, lowering high blood pressure and helping the body absorb nutrients.
If someone does not have enough “good” bacteria in the form of probiotics in their system, they may not only suffer the above problems, they could also get problems like yeast, urinary, or vaginal infections.
Some studies are also being done to see if taking probiotics supplements can help treat skin infection, irritable bowel syndrome, or colon cancer.
Studies conducted on Probiotics Supplements
Probiotics were studied at the Pasteur Institute in Paris by top microbiologists such as Henry Tissier and Eli Metchnikoff (winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1908). Metchnikoff believed that probiotics could reduce age related health problems by eating types of fermented dairy products.
How are poebiotic dietary supplements made?
To make capsules of the probiotic lactobacillus, its substrains are freeze-dried and then made into capsules, powders or pills for consumption. When buying probiotics supplements, be sure to choose a company that is well known. Sometimes the product could have been made too cheaply and the probiotic bacteria could already be dead, which means the product is worthless.
You should be sure to buy it in either a glass bottle or one that is made of high density plastic, which both help to keep oxygen from hurting the probiotics. It should also say on the bottle that the contents were not centrifuged, and it is better that it has been refrigerated.
Try to find a product that says that the dosage contains between one and 10 billion live probiotic cells to be sure of its viability and always check the expiration date on the bottle.
Side Effects of probiotics supplements
Even though they are usually helpful, sometimes probiotics can cause possible side effects like stomach bloating, loose bowels, gas and stomach cramps. However, if you drink enough water with it and don’t eat high fiber meals or take laxatives, the side effects are usually lessened.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration consider probiotics as dietary supplements, not as medication. They don’t rate it as to its safety for kids, elderly or those with a weak immune system, so you should speak to your doctor before taking them if you fall under these categories.
A 2003 study documented in “Gastroenterology” was done by giving pouchitis sufferers probiotics or a placebo. The ones who got the real thing had improvements in their condition.
However, if a person has acute pancreatic, they should not take probiotics as a 2008 study showed that it caused increased death rates in those individuals.
More studies are ongoing by the Harvard Medical School to see if probiotics can be used in treating things such as tooth decay, gum disease, respiratory infections, inflammatory bowel disease and other stomach issues.
How are probiotics supplements are used worldwide?
While people in the U.S. seem to mostly take probiotics in supplement form, people in places like Europe and Japan seem to mostly eat them in fermented drinks and food. These products include drinks like soy and fermented milks and foods like yogurt, tempeh (fermented soybeans), kefir (fermented milk), sauerkraut and kim chee (fermented cabbage) and miso (fermented soybeans).
All in all, probiotics supplements are considered to be relatively safe and beneficial to help in many intestinal and other issues. However, as with any product, you should always consult with a doctor before taking it.