If you have some gut issues, like bloating, intestinal gas or even pain and digestion it doesn’t work properly, maybe it is time to help your body with some probiotics.
It is not that difficult to find what really might help you and you can insure a proper gut functioning just paying a little bit more attention to what you can find on the market.
What the probiotics are ?
Generally, when you say “bacteria, however, ” you think about disease, and when you are told that it would be better for you simply to eat them, it certainly will seem a strange idea, however, nothing abnormal in this advice.
It is true that there are bacteria that are “hostile” for our body but there are also friendly bacteria which are helpful and, without them our digestive system could not function properly. A lot of studies recently done have shown that some diseases can be prevented and even cured using food or supplements that contain a certain type of beneficial live bacteria.
Probiotics are food additives or supplements containing wild populations or cultures of live and active bacteria, transiting after ingestion in the entire digestive tract, exerting a balancing act on microflora through direct colonization of the intestine with Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus bacteria species.
Probiotics are not necessarily drugs, supplements or laboratory cultures as wrongly we are left to believe, there exist as such in nature or are produced easily by initiating natural fermentation.
What are the best probiotics on the market ?
Yogurt. Perhaps the most popular food associated with supplementation of probiotics in the body, yogurt brings a range of benefits: improves digestion and immunity, prevents osteoporosis and colon cancer and helps lower blood pressure. The best results are obtained from the consumption of natural yogurt, homemade pasteurized milk and not from that found in commerce. To be avoided especially the fruit yogurt from stores because they contain corn syrup rich in fructose, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and synthetic fragrances, which will bring more disadvantages to health than serving the importance of beneficial bacteria. Kefir is also an important source of probiotics. Often considered just another kind of yogurt, kefir is actually a fungus that develops in the milk, producing yeasts, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and other bioactive substances. This food has beneficial effects on the digestive tract, while being a good antioxidant. Furthermore, it hastens the recovery of the intestinal flora and prevents digestive problems that can occur following treatment with antibiotics.
Pickled cabbage. This preparation, customary and traditional in some cuisines, is a source of probiotics and is being prepared by fermentation with natural ingredients. Besides the benefit to health, cultures living in sauerkraut may be useful in relieving allergies and also is an excellent source of vitamins B, A, E, and C.
Black chocolate. One of the few beneficial desserts, the dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and has an energizing effect. In addition, dark chocolate is also remarkable in that that will provide probiotics for the body. As long as it has a larger concentration of cocoa and containing as little sugar or synthetic sweeteners as possible, dark chocolate is an ally of health.
Kombucha tea. Considered a true elixir of health, this tea is obtained using live Kombucha culture in green tea or black tea and has been used for centuries to increase energy levels, improve mood and weight loss. Also, bacteria in kombucha cultures are probiotics and works in the same way as active bacteria cultures in yogurt.
Soy milk. A substitute for animal products and not only, soy milk bring numerous benefits to the human body. By its contents of probiotics and live cultures of bacteria, help maintains a healthy digestive system. One cup of soy milk provides plenty of nutrients essential to strengthen the body before the cold season: contains 25-31% calcium, vitamin D 11-31%, 89-125 calories, 5 grams of fat (0.4 grams fat saturated) 6-10 grams of protein and is rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamin E, which help fight infection.
More about fermented foods and probiotics
There are countries that consume more foods rich in this type of microorganisms called probiotics, and I mean the fermented foods whose consumption is a tradition in those places. For example, in Europe, the main product is lacto-fermented pickled cabbage that is particularly recognized for its taste and for its therapeutic properties. Kefir is a native of nearby Caucasian zones, or the traditional fermented Korean kimchi, traditional pickled vegetables (pickled ginger and pickled white radish) which are always present on tables in Japan, and traditional fermented food known as chutney (a mixture of fruit and fermented seasoning) coming from faraway India, all share the existence of probiotic microorganisms.
There is clear evidence that people have fermented foods since ancient times. Wine, beer, leavened bread (generally made from yeast) and cheese (made from bacteria and molds) are among the oldest and most popular fermented foods.
What fermented foods have in common and what makes them so beneficial to health is the intake of probiotic microorganisms that play an important role in the health of our digestive system. This was revealed for the first time in 1908 by a biologist of Russian origin, Elie Metchnikoff, Nobel laureate, who advanced the idea that Lactobacillus neutralize the rotting effect of gastrointestinal metabolism and suggested the possibility that they may alter the gut flora and replace harmful microbes with those who are beneficial for our body. He also launched the idea that the aging process would actually be the result of the decay of microbes, which results in the production of toxic substances in the gut. In our gut microflora, there are two kinds of bacteria: the ones acting of fermentation and the ones with putrefaction action, both having equal role in digestion. Important is that the two groups should have a good balance. If bacteria with rotting action exceed the normal limit, then are produced toxic substances which will harm our body.
Balancing the intestinal flora is, therefore, necessary that fermentation action bacteria to have a good comparison with those with rotting action and this can be done by eating fermented foods or use of dietary supplements containing probiotics.
Some history of probiotics
The term “probiotics” in reference to microorganisms introduced into the body to improve the intestinal flora, was first proposed in 1989, while the term “prebiotics” (referring to substances that create a favorable environment for these microorganisms) appears later (1995).
Most bacteria in our digestive system, about 500 species, have defined roles in maintaining our health. They not only help us metabolize food but protects us from diseases and are reliable allies of the immune system, therefore, called probiotics.
The most common types of probiotics are bifidobacterium and lactobacillus. Of lactobacillus, the most studied and with most benefits for health are:
Acidophilus, Lactobacillus acidophilus probiotic is the most studied and the most common bacteria from the human intestine, and its skills are still studied by scholars since 1925. A strain of this bacterium is one of the most important supporters of the immune system, researchers have found. In fact, studies have shown that this strain, called DDS-1 suppresses the growth of cancerous tumors.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus combats foodborne diseases and atopic dermatitis. Women who suffer from atopic dermatitis should take supplements of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG), recommends a survey conducted in 2001 and published in “Clinical Infectious Diseases”. Also, new mothers with atopic dermatitis, if they take this probiotic for six months, their children will have a lower risk of developing the disorder (which is allergic). In addition, L. rhamnosus proved effective in combating food poisoning with Clostridiun difficile, a microbe responsible for the installation of diarrhea.
Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, good for digestion. The probiotic keeps away pathogens that could infect the digestive system. Additionally, a study published in the “World Journal of Gastroenterology” showed that L. bulgaricus has a key role in suppressing pro-inflammatory reactions in the body, thereby preventing tissue damage. Also, these good bacteria do not reside in the intestines but they are passing and helps to smooth the processes of digestion and a better absorption in the body of nutrients from food.
Many types of probiotics that are introduced by means of food, such as the yogurt, do not survive in the acid environment of the digestive tract or the enzymes in the digestive tract. Lactobacillus salivarius protects us from ulcers. Several studies conducted by researchers at the Catholic University of Rome have shown that L. salivarius is essential in fighting the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which causes the ulcer.
Lactobacillus plantarum – natural antibiotic. This is the bacteria that is found in the highest proportion in fermented foods (cheese, pickles, etc.). Because of the effect it has on the body of gram negative bacteria, the probiotic L. plantarum can be considered a good natural antibiotic.
Lactobacillus casei lives in yogurts. The publication “Microbiology and Immunology” said probiotic L. casei as the most powerful “weapon” against infection with Listeria bacteria, which gives listeriosis, a disease lethal to 30% of those infected.
Lactobacillus sporogenes probiotic – Lactobacillus sporogenes has major anti-cholesterol benefits, significantly reducing the bad cholesterol from the blood, say scientists from Pant Hospital in New Delhi, India. Italian researchers certify the benefits of this bacteria especially for the health of children taking antibiotics (combat diarrhea that occurs as a consequence of treatment with antibiotics).
Of Bifidobacterium, the most important are:
Bifidobacterium bifidum – the most common species, is one of the components of colonic flora, and its main role is to reduce the harmful impact of toxic substances on the intestine. B. bifidum is also effective against infection with Escherichia coli, bacteria that can cause serious health problems.
Bifidobacterium longum removes nitrates from the body. Several studies show that B. longum has the capacity to remove nitrates from the body, toxic substances that accumulate in the body especially when consuming processed foods. In addition, B. longum is a bacterium that successfully combat Salmonella infection.
Bifidobacterium infantis attenuates the manifestations of irritable bowel syndrome, prevents the proliferation of harmful bacteria E. coli and
Streptococcus thermophilus – the good streptococcus, S. thermophilus has antioxidant properties and it could be effective and to fight cancerous tumors in the colon, according to some studies.
How probiotics benefits the human body ?
Probiotics basically act as prebiotics in our bodies, but more quickly and directly. They combat both diarrhea and constipation, decreases in some measure cholesterol and slice my (inhibition of absorption of carbohydrates to energy and cholesterol is, with some exceptions, reduced compared with the action of prebiotics), reduce blood pressure (via inhibition of noradrenaline) strengthen immunity, decreases cancer risk in general and specifically for the colon (by neutralizing or adsorption of toxins), reduce lactose intolerance and have an antiseptic effect on the digestive tract. If most of the probiotics have a reduced cholesterol-lowering activity, the same cannot be said about the sources that bring in the organism Lactobacillus acidophilus (buttermilk, yogurt, cabbage, cucumbers). Lactobacillus acidophilus, according to Dr. E. S. Gilliland (1985), presents a cholesterol-lowering effect more pronounced by the fact that anaerobically metabolizes the cholesterol in the gallbladder (source: Assimilation of cholesterol by Lactobacillus acidophilus).
Research in recent years shows that lacto bacteria probiotics, because they generate lactic acid, have a strong inhibitory action upon Helicobacter pylori, the organism which, by the toxin secreted, develops a gastric ulcer. Moreover, lactic acid is proving to be a particularly hostile environment factor for Salmonella typhimurium, a particularly virulent microbe.
Because bacteria of the genus Lactobacillus lactic synthesize through fermentation significant amounts of vitamin C, probiotics exert also antioxidant effects, especially because they deliver biological active ascorbic acid directly into the colon, where it would otherwise arrive with great difficulty, knowing that it is quickly oxidized.
Probiotics and blood pressure
Thanks to the enzymes secreted by probiotic bacteria, they exhibit hypotensive (antihypertensive) properties. This is due to the passage, under the action of enzymes produced by probiotics, of the peptides of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA).?GABA inhibits the secretion of norepinephrine, resulting in a decrease in blood pressure.
Probiotics and antibiotics
Antibiotics have negative consequences on the intestinal flora and microflora from other cavities (mouth, urogenital tract, etc.). The first that will perish by the antibiotics substances will be very useful saprophytic microorganisms with probiotic activity, which are much less adapted to environmental changes than direct or latent pathogenic bacteria.
During and after antibiotics, the use of probiotics has the effect of restoring the microflora, useful consequences with the most beneficial effects on the digestive tract and on the whole body.
What are the most common myths about probiotics?
Certain probiotic strains are better than others. People already know much, yet very little about probiotics. It can be said that people are well informed regarding probiotics – they are beneficial bacteria living in the digestive tract of humans. But here it is the biggest problem – hundreds of different strains of these bacteria live in each body and their ratio varies from person to person. Which means you cannot claim that a particular probiotic strain is the best of all.
One that is good for you, probably will not be so good for the person next to you. Therefore, increasingly more people prefer combined probiotic supplements that contain multiple strains, not just one or two.
The means that further confuses people is advertising. Some companies promote products with a single probiotic strain and claim that according to studies, it is the “biggest” and “best strain” to human health – this can confuse even doctors. Scientific research is very important and demonstrates the benefit of a particular product, but this does not mean that this benefit may not be offered by other probiotic strain. When information is not shared, it appears that the product is unique, but in reality, this is unlikely, given that there are hundreds of probiotic strains.
All probiotics should be refrigerated. It is not necessary to keep each probiotic in a refrigerator. This depends on the specific product, so should pay particular attention to the label. If nothing is mentioned nowhere, this means that refrigeration is not necessary. Previously, it was believed that probiotic bacteria useful will die if kept at room temperature. The technology was developed over time, so you do not need a special storage regime of this kind of dietary supplements. However – follow the instructions on the label and you will never fail.
If you do not feel any benefit, then probiotics not work. Many people think that if you do not feel the benefit of a probiotic, then it does not work, and this is not true. There is a simple way to find out if it does. Is prepared by dissolving a capsule of probiotic. If you get yogurt – then the supplement is real and it works.
How to prepare yogurt? There are many recipes online for this, but here’s a special vegan recipe:
Vegan Coconut Yogurt
¾ to 1 cup of coconut water
450 g of fruit coconut
Probiotic powder (about 2 capsules)
Mix coconut water and coconut fruit until you get a homogeneous mixture. Then the probiotic is added (only the internal content of the capsules) and stirred for a while in a mixer or blender.
Pour into a deep bowl – should not fill up, so that the mixture does not overflow. Cover and leave for 8-16 hours. When the vegan yogurt is ready, it can add vanilla or fruits of your choice and sweetened if desired.
NOTE: The time required for the preparation of yogurt may vary depending on the temperature. There are also special tools for making yogurt that you can use. When the product is ready, it can be stored in the refrigerator for 7 days.
The probiotic supplements need a special coating. There are lots of studies on the subject, but you will definitely be surprised by the conclusions: studies show that probiotics are better not to have a special coating. Almost always they are available in capsule form, which is tough enough to withstand the effect of gastric acid. This is necessary so that probiotics can reach the gastrointestinal tract. But is the special enteric coating the best solution?
The process by which created this special enteric coating requires a lot of heat that can destroy the probiotics.
So if you start taking probiotics and buy two types – one with and one without enteric coating, the one without coating will have a more efficient effect. This is the main reason that many probiotic supplements do not have an enteric coating.
I do not need probiotics because I eat yogurt. There are several things that are not correct in this statement. First, you should read carefully those yogurt labels, they should not contain added sugar. It is obvious that carefully prepared probiotic supplements will not contain hidden calories, as is likely store yogurts contain.
Then we come to the question – how much useful bacteria are obtained from eating yogurt? Indeed, there are some brands whose creators have invested a lot of resources in advertising and scientific studies in order to show that yogurt is very beneficial. However, those involved in these studies had eaten yogurt several times per day. If you are looking for a regular, daily and constant support for the digestive system, probiotic supplements are the best choice because they are made by special formulas and contain much higher doses of beneficial bacteria. However, this does not mean that you should stop eating yogurt. On the contrary. A proper nutrition is important for the health of every person.
There are many sources of probiotic on the market. If you are asking which is the best, the answer is: that probiotic that fits you the best. Because each body is different, there is no only one recipe that perfectly works for everybody. You have to see which is the best for you.