Probiotics: what it is and its benefits to human beings

yogurt probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms available in various products nowadays. It contains microorganisms such as Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Saccharomcyes boulardii. It gives many benefits to us that’s why today we can see it in food, supplements, and topical medication.

When we are sick, we take antibiotics to heal quickly. Antibiotics kill bad bacteria in our body. The bad bacteria can cause problems, but the good bacteria can yield more benefits in our body. One of the good, healthy, and friendly bacteria is the probiotics.

Probiotics mean ‘promoting life’ or ‘for life’ in the Greek word. The first research about these live microorganism was done by Dr. Elie Metchnikoff in 1907. When Dr. Metchnikoff came to Bulgaria in Europe, he found out that the natives can live up to old ages despite poverty and poor weather conditions. He figured out that their health condition could be because of the bacteria found in sour milk.

In addition, Dr. Metchnikoff discovered that the sour milk has been fermented and a bacteria which he later named as ‘Lactobacillus Bulgarius’ has grown. That said milk has anti-ageing benefits which made the natives live longer than rich European families.

The study about these microorganisms have spread throughout the world and further investigation was made by scientists. Today, the majority of us have used these in our everyday lives. We now have it at yogurt, miso soup, kimchi, kefir, pickles, kombucha, and other food.

These live microorganisms are found in our gut and line up in our digestive system. It is also known to support the body’s ability to fight diseases and healthy digestion. This good bacteria is also capable of producing IgA, T-cells, Vitamin B12, Vitamin K12, Butyrate, and enzymes that can prevent bad bacteria in the body.

To understand more about this microorganism, here are the top 10 benefits of Probiotics in our body:

Regulate blood pressure

High blood pressure is one of the health issues of the majority of the population nowadays. Hypertension, if not properly monitored can lead to stroke and other heart diseases which are the major cause of death today.

The introduction of probiotics in medical field gave hope to people suffering from high blood pressure, especially the adults.

A study in 2004 shows that regular taking of probiotics can help regulate the blood pressure levels. The study involves 543 people who are mostly adults with different blood pressure levels (normal and high levels). Those who use probiotics for more than two months has a decrease of systolic measure of about 3.6 mmHg and a decrease in the diastolic measure of about 2.4 mmHg.

In addition, people with extreme blood pressure levels can benefit the most with probiotics. If their blood pressure is high, they’ll have more chances of recovery with the use of probiotics. Multiple bacteria levels can also lower down blood pressure effectively than a single bacteria probiotic.

Regular consumption of probiotics such as fermented cheese and vegetables and yogurt can control bad cholesterol and the blood sugar in the body. So if you know someone who suffers from high blood pressure, suggest them to supplement probiotics in their medication.

Probiotics to boost immune system

The immune system is composed of complex parts and not just a single entity. Studies show that there is a linkage between our eating habits, lifestyle,  and the immune system (or the body’s ability to fight diseases).

The linings of our intestine or known as ‘mucosal barrier’ measures 300 square meters and the live bacteria develops and maintains such area in our body. These microorganisms compete with bad bacteria for both nourishment and for survival. But as long as you have a good amount of probiotics in your body, you’ll be immune to diseases.

Immune cells partners with live microorganisms and works to protect the body’s health. It prevents allergens, harmful antigens, and other disease-causing organisms. It also supplements an additional protection to the body when it comes to strenuous athletic activities.

Thus, if you want to be disease-free and have a strong immune system, take a daily dose of probiotic drink or you can start snacking a yogurt.

Prevent Respiratory Infections

Some physicians would treat respiratory infections with wrong antibiotics, according to a research of Department of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. They have found out that some doctors would treat respiratory illness with antibiotics, even if they do know that this won’t respond to the medicine.

The researchers have found out that the misuse of the antibiotics caused the growth of resistant bacterial strains and other adverse effects. According to the researchers, antibiotic users have longer hospital stay versus non-antibiotic users.

The study depicts the current situation of the hospitals and clinics around the world. Antibiotics could not only kill the harmful bacteria but as well as the good bacteria such as the probiotics, if not properly used. One recommendation is to keep the good bacteria active in our body. This can prevent respiratory diseases such as tubercolosis, asthma attacks, pneumonia, bronchitis, and others and lessen its duration and severity.

In another study conducted by Chinese physicians, it has been found out that children who have been given with probiotics have lower chances of developing a cough and runny nose. Thus, if probiotics are consumed on a daily basis, then there will be a decrease in respiratory infections in adults and even in children.

Weight Management

Probiotics have been very helpful even in managing weight, that is why it is very popular today.

A study has found out that people who are overweight have low levels of live microorganisms in their gut in comparison to lean people. Lean people have more live microorganisms in their body. Because of which, overweight people will be vulnerable to diseases and will have difficulty in losing weight.

Thus, if you are having problems in weight management, you might consider taking probiotics. You can change your lifestyle and incorporate it into your diet. You’ll be able to lose your body fat with regular consumption too.

Prevent Urinary Tract Infection

According to a study, to prevent the occurrence of the urinary tract infections (UTIs) especially to women, the body must be replenished with natural bacteria. During UTI, people experience pain in their organs, difficulty in urinating, fever, and other infections. Some of the UTIs are cystitis, urethritis, and kindey infection.

Bacteria like the E.coli (escherichia coli) fights the healthy bacteria such as the vaginal lactobacilli during UTI. There are actually medications available to combat UTI. However, such medication might cause to wipe out both the bad and good bacteria in the body, that may possibly cause recurrent or severe UTI. Probiotics then come in the picture because it restores the life of the good bacteria in the body.

You can prevent or cure UTIs by eating yogurt, taking probiotics supplement, or by using vaginal suppositories which have probiotic content on it. If you are not sure of what product to use, always ask the help of an expert.

Reduce diarrhea and stop bowel syndrome

Our body needs good bacteria such as probiotics in our gut that can help absorb starch, sugar, and other undigested matters in our stomach from the food that we eat. When we have a healthy tummy, it can easily convert carbohydrates into energy and nutrients that our body needs.

In addition, probiotics are helpful for the production of Vitamin B and K. These vitamins will allow to dissolve fat and convert our food into fuel. It can also facilitate in absorbing the mineral in our food.

Another important benefit of probiotics is it can break down and metabolize the body wastes, thereby preventing diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics come in different supplements may it be liquid or capsule form. However, you can also find it in your kitchen and in your food such as in cottage cheese, pickles, and green olives.

Solve Eczema/ skin health problem

Our body consists of billions of live microorganisms and it can be difficult to separate those that lives within and those that lives above the surface. Probiotics is a good bacteria that can create a strong barrier on our skin to help solve eczema, acne and other skin problems. Many companies nowadays have studied to add probiotics in topical products or medications, and it has benefited many users worldwide.

A research was done to pregnant moms with eczema. During pregnancy, they took probiotic supplements. As they gave birth to their child, the researcher also supplied the babies with probiotics until they were 6 months old. The study shows that we can heal eczema with constant usage of probiotics.

It can also help heal acne problems and prevent lesions. Some of the bacteria found in these microorganisms are  B. bifudum, L. acidophilus, and Lactobacillus. In addition, probiotics are now effective anti-ageing regimens since it helps build collagen. But there are still more studies to conduct to support such discovery.

Some of the food that contains probiotics to heal skin problems are raw bananas, chicory root, dandelions, garlic, and onion.

Stop baby colic

Giving newborn babies with a probiotic drink can help them ease their baby colic.Colic symptoms are due to gas and bloating, which causes them tummy pains and discomfort. This is the common reason why babies wouldn’t stop crying. If the baby cries three hours a day, then this is an indication that something is wrong in their gut.

Probiotics can help the babies in their indigestion problems too and you can incorporate this in their milk. Babies are very sensitive and antibiotics are not recommended at this age. You can buy for colic drops and it is safer for babies. It can reduce pain and inflammation in their gut, which can make them comfortable and be able to sleep well thereafter.

Prevent tooth decay

Probiotics can also prevent tooth decay for people of all ages. It can fight against overgrowing of streptococcus mutans through the production of enzymes and antimicrobials. In addition, it can act as an anti-inflammatory agent that can heal the mouth from any sores and can work together with the biofilm to stop bad bugs from growing in your gums, teeth, and mouth. 

These live microorganism can help signal the immune system to build a strong defense mechanism that can prevent the bad bacteria from attacking even the mouth. You can have probiotic lozenges and chewing gum to treat mouth sores. You can also have a daily dose of probiotic drink to treat toothaches.

Improve psychological health

Another surprising benefit of probiotics is that it can produce enzymes and serotonin which can manipulate your mood. Indeed, the food we eat affects our mental health.

The nervous system has two parts which are the brain and the spinal cord and the gastrointestinal tract. Information can overlap between the two through the vagus nerve. Take probiotics because this can also solve neurological and other psychiatric issues that you have.

Thus, if you are suffering from depression and anxiety, it will be helpful too to check your gut health. If you would like to lose some weight, but not achieving the results that you wish, then you can try to stop looking the numbers and start loving yourself. Taking probiotics will not only manage your weight but also make you feel good about yourself too. Try to shift to healthy eating instead of shedding some weight.

The Side Effects of Probiotics

For healthy people, probiotics are safe for consumption. If there are any side effects, it is usually mild. But for people who have serious medical problems, they might experience infections upon taking probiotics.

In addition, there are still uncertainties about probiotics’ safety. Thus, it is important not to replace scientifically proven medicines with unproven products. Don’t substitute the prescribed medicine given by your doctor with probiotics, just because you think it is more effective. It is still advisable to check your physician first. For example, if you’re experiencing stage four cancer, don’t substitute your prescribed medicines with probiotics. You can incorporate it with your medicines but not eliminate everything.

Probiotics can benefit our body in different ways. Researchers even suggested that probiotics are more important than multivitamins. You can get probiotics in sour foods such as fermented vegetables and apple cider vinegar. This can all be easily prepared at home. Such sour foods contain acid that can support the growth of the probiotics in your system.

You can also start taking foods rich in probiotics such as yogurt and kefir. Add it into your meals even once a day. Make sure as well to eat enough fiber such as organic foods and vegetables so the probiotics can live inside your body.

The best Probiotic for your body 

In sum, it is essential to remember that there are various kinds of probiotics. Each strain can give different benefits which are unique from one another. There are strains that can support the immune system, facilitate the body’s digestion, manage the weight, and balance the hormones.

If you are planning to use probiotics with a health issue, it is important to ask help from an expert to select the right product and food for you. Read the label carefully and other information to guide you better with its usage.

Your body’s function starts on the kind of food that you eat and probiotics are the best nutrient that can support digestion and absorption of nutrients. Many companies are switching to probiotics production, but not all products in the market are effective. Some of it gets flushed out right before being digested. Orient yourselves with the benefits of probiotics and start to live your life healthily.