Our digestive system is filled with bacteria, but how is that supposed to be good? Well, many of those bacteria are harmless. They’re part of a healthy gut. In fact, we need to consume more to promote healthy digestion. Probiotics are good bacteria. The digestive tract isn’t just inhabited by good bacteria, but also bad bacteria that can cause illnesses. That’s why the consumption of probiotics is necessary because an imbalance between these two can cause a problem.
Despite all the benefits, probiotics are prone to damage caused by antiobiotics. After finishing a course of antiobiotics, a good portion of the them will be killed. Additional probiotics are required to replenish them so that the balanced gut flora can be maintained.
Strains of probiotics
Just like bacteria in general, good bacteria strains are also varied. They all serve different functions, so you need to be careful just in case you want to get them through supplements. There is one called B.animalis. This strain is added to a handful of products like yogurt’s Activia. It’s believed to improve digestion and the immune system. And then there’s also B.lactis which is normally present in uncooked milk. Some products also contain this particular type. There are a few others, like L. acidophilus and L. reuteri.
Is it necessary to take a supplement? There are certain conditions in which the consumption of probiotic supplements is recommended. The use of antibiotics is one of them. Antibiotics are often prescribed to cure illnesses caused by bacteria, like toothache, urinary tract infection, etc. Each disease requires a different course of antibiotics. Severe cases usually need higher doses and a longer duration of treatment.
While effective, antibiotics don’t work selectively. They kill anything that interacts with them, including good bacteria in your gut. To bring back the balanced flora in the digestive tract, taking probiotics after having this treatment is a good idea. Another thing that may mess up the balance of the gut flora is tap water. It could contain chlorine, which is a harsh chemical for bacteria in general. Taking a probiotic supplement will restore the balance.
Advantages of probiotics
Probiotics offer numerous benefits, but they also depend on the strains. There are several strains that affect the body in different ways. For example, some strains can help with lactose intolerant. There have been stories from people that these probiotics helped increase their tolerance to lactose. They no longer had diarrhea after consuming them for quite some time. Some strains can improve the immune system and shorten the duration of infections. There are also strains that can control cholesterol levels in the body. All in all, probiotics are good and should provide benefits as long as they’re taken properly.
Are probiotics safe? Yes, they should be for normal healthy adults. However, it’s also possible to experience side effects if the body can’t accept the new colony of bacteria. The good news is those issues are usually mild like flatulence and stomach discomfort. You can avoid them by taking a low dose of probiotics first. Let the body get used to the new inhabitants. You can increase it later when the effects have faded.