What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are the fastest growing segment in the supplement industry and are connected to a plethora of health benefits, but what are they and what do they actually do? In this article, we’ll answer that question along with why they’re so important.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are the good bacteria living in your body that have been shown to provide a health benefit.
Yes! Some bacteria are good!
If you maintain an adequate amount of them in your body, they will support your immune defense system, aid digestive health and boost your metabolism. They do things like block toxins, break down food, and aid in nutrient and vitamin uptake.
But not all probiotics are the same.
Probiotics range in their potency, stability and benefits offered to the body. Two of the most widely recognized probiotics for supporting digestive and immune health are Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. Bifidobacteria reside mostly in the large intestine while Lactobacilli reside mostly in the small intestine.
Where do probiotics live?
Probiotics are a part of your microbiome – the unique community of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea) that colonize all over your body including your skin, mouth, lungs and gut.
The microbiome is home to trillions of bacteria, which are so pervasive they outnumber your human cells 3 to 1! The majority of these bacteria live in your intestinal tract; also known as the “gut flora”.
A disruption in the balance of the microbiome can cause issues ranging from constipation, bloating and diarrhea to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Science is slowly uncovering how important the balance of your microbiome really is.
How does my microbiome get disrupted?
Malnutrition, an unbalanced diet and excess of processed food can all contribute to disrupting your microbiome. Moreover, while antibiotics are designed to kill harmful bacteria in your system, they kill good bacteria along with. Thus, antibiotics and medication can negatively alter your microbiome.
Even if you are mindful of what you put in your body, your microbiome can be disrupted by lifestyle factors such as stress, lack of sleep and surgical operations.
While most of these disruptions can be prevented, some people are afflicted with GI disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s Disease that naturally lend their bodies to this imbalance.
That is why probiotics are so important.
When your microbiome is disrupted, and good bacteria are lost, probiotics can replenish these good bacteria and bring back balance to your gut. Without the introduction of probiotics, harmful bacteria will thrive and negatively affect your health.
Where can I get probiotics?
Probiotics naturally exist in foods that provide a suitable environment for hosting a live bacteria culture. Examples of such foods include:
- Aged cheese
- Vegetables (in some cases)
Though probiotics can be found naturally, the concentration and reliability of the bacteria found in these foods is unknown. Taking a probiotic supplement is the best way to ensure you are consuming effective and beneficial bacteria.
Much clinical research has been done to understand which probiotic strains offer the greatest health benefit. Probiotic manufacturers like UAS Labs isolate these proven strains and conduct studies to optimize their potency and stability.