Probiotics have gained increasing popularity in recent years, and the market for probiotic supplements and foods is rapidly growing. Some people think that probiotics have been overhyped, while others firmly believe in their potential health benefits. In this article, let’s take a closer look at probiotics and explore the potential health benefits they offer.
What are probiotics?
In simple terms, probiotics are what is commonly known as "friendly bacteria" or "good bacteria". These bacteria live naturally in our body and help ensure the proper functioning of our gut. Some common strains of probiotics include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Often, probiotics help protect our body from infections caused by “bad” bacteria or other germs. Probiotics have also been shown to have potential health benefits, such as improving digestive function and boosting the immune system.
How do probiotics work?
In order to know how probiotics work, we first need to understand how they interact with our gut.
Our gut is made up of trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi, which is collectively known as the microbiome. Some of these microorganisms are harmful, while others are beneficial. Our body is constantly trying to strike a healthy balance between the “good” and “bad” organisms living inside of us.
When an imbalance caused by an overgrowth in the “bad” bacteria occurs, our body may experience issues with our digestive and immune systems, such as diarrhoea and infection. Probiotics can therefore help restore the balance in the gut microbiome by increasing the number of “good” microorganisms and decreasing the number of harmful microorganisms. This balance can have a positive effect on the immune system, digestion, and overall health.
How do you choose the right probiotics?
When choosing probiotics, here are some factors to consider:
Types of strains: Different strains of probiotics have different health benefits. For example, some strains are more effective for improving digestive function, while others are better for boosting the immune system. For general health benefits, you may consider choosing a combination that has a wide variety of “good” bacteria strains.
CFUs: CFUs, or colony-forming units, measure the number of live probiotics in a product. Look for a product with a high number of CFUs to ensure that you're getting enough beneficial microorganisms.
Delivery system: A high number of CFUs alone may not be enough if the probiotics are unable to survive the harsh environment as they travel through the gut. Hence, it is also important to ensure that the probiotics are well coated to protect them from being killed before they reach the intended site of action.
Storage conditions: Some probiotics need to be stored in the refrigerator, while others can be stored at room temperature. Make sure to choose a product that can be stored under conditions that are convenient for you.
Consult a healthcare professional: If you are still unsure, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional such as a doctor or pharmacist before taking probiotics to determine if they are appropriate for you.
What are the potential side effects and cautions to take note of?
Probiotics are generally regarded as safe, but there are some potential side effects and cautions to be aware of. In some instances, people may experience allergic reactions to certain strains of probiotics, and probiotics can also interact with certain medications.
Here are a few reasons why someone might choose not to take probiotics:
A weakened immune system: If you have a weakened immune system due to a chronic illness or medical treatment such as chemotherapy, you may be at higher risk of infections.
Allergy to probiotics: Some people may be allergic to certain strains of probiotics, and may experience allergic reactions such as skin rashes or difficulty breathing. If you experience an allergic reaction after taking probiotics, it's important to stop taking them and consult with a healthcare professional.
You are taking certain medications: Some medications, such as antibiotics, can interact with probiotics. It's important to consult with your healthcare professional before taking probiotics if you're taking any medications.
If you are still unsure, do consult a healthcare professional such as a doctor or pharmacist to see if probiotics are suitable for you.
Product Recommendations for a healthy gut.
VIVOMIXX Probiotics - a high potency probiotic food supplement that is made up of 8 strains of live lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria that help restore the balance of the intestinal ﬂora. It contains the De Simone Formulation, one of the most widely studied probiotics worldwide.
The TS6 Probiotic formula is composed of 6 probiotic strains of bacteria created with a special fermentation technology, synergised to overcome a number of gut-health issues and promote better digestion. The healthy bacteria strains in these capsules promote smooth defecation, boost metabolism, help digestion, and improve lactose intolerance in both adults and children.
Lacteol Fort offers effective and instant relief from acute and chronic diarrhea. It has the Lactobacillus acidophilus LB Strain 10 billion, a probiotic strain that activates good bacteria in the stomach to promote healthy gut and address issues related to digestion such as indigestion, diarrhea, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and upset stomach. Lacteol Fort promotes healthy gut and protects people from unexpected, unwelcome cases of Traveler’s Diarrhea.
Lactokids is a probiotic designed from natural ingredients such as vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, and D3, added Colostrum, Calcium and Prebiotics after extensive scientific research that promotes stronger digestive health and enhances the growth of a child. It contains a unique patented combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, Streptococcus faecalis, Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus rhamnosus.
LACTOGG’s Probiotics is the world’s most researched and scientifically proven probiotic that has achieved the gold standard status among the doctors. LactoGG's probiotic strain is Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG. It has over 44 health benefits that include strengthening the immune system, relief from symptoms of acute diarrhoea and side effects of antibiotics. It is available in both sachet and capsule forms.
Probiotics can have a positive effect on the gut microbiome and overall health. While they are generally considered safe, it's important to choose the right probiotics that are able to provide the maximum effectiveness for your body with minimal side effects. If you would like to know more, feel free to reach out to your healthcare professional or our friendly Glovida pharmacist to see if probiotics are suitable for you.