By definition, probiotics are live microorganisms that one can ingest, either through fermented foods or supplements. It is the combination of beneficial bacteria that live within the body. Generally, people see bacteria as detrimental to the body. Contrary to this general opinion, there are two major types of bacteria —good and bad. Good bacteria help the body resist harmful bacteria when the bad bacteria are significantly larger in amount than the good bacteria.
Within the context of probiotics, they are part of a “diverse community” known as the microbiome. The microbiome consists of microbes, which include the following:
It should also be noted that everyone’s microbiome is unique to each person. Furthermore, for a microbe to be called a “probiotic,” it must have specific characteristics. These include the following:
- The microbe must have been isolated from a human;
- The microbe has survived living in the intestine after ingestion;
- The microbe has proven to be of great benefit to you; and
- It can be safely consumed.
Where do the Beneficial Probiotics Live in the Body?
Even though one common place for finding probiotics is the large intestine, there are other places to find beneficial microbes. These locations are often in contact with the “outside world.” They include the following:
- Vagina; and
- Urinary tract.
What Are the Benefits of Taking Probiotics?
The benefits of taking probiotics are numerous. These include the following:
Probiotics Help to Balance the Friendly Bacteria in the Body’s Digestive System
As mentioned earlier, probiotics comprise “good bacteria” that imply several health benefits for the body when consumed. Where there is an imbalance of bacteria in the body, there is a tilt in the natural balance of the gut. This can lead to many consequences, such as digestive issues, allergies, mental health problems, and obesity.
Probiotics Help to Prevent and Treat Diarrhoea
Additionally, probiotics help to prevent and treat diarrhea —a common side effect of antibiotics. This medical condition occurs when antibiotics in the body negatively affect the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. Therefore, studies have shown that probiotics may reduce the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. A research has indicated that probiotics reduce the risk of C. difficle-associated disease(CDAD) by as much as 60%.
Probiotics Supplements Improve Mental State
Finally, an improved mental state has been linked to probiotic supplements, per research conducted by experts. Another study further showed that these supplements help the mental states of both humans and animals.
Specifically, this study reviewed 13 participants who got the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains as supplements for about two months. The results showed that these supplements helped to improve anxiety, depression, and a host of other medical conditions.
In conclusion, understanding that probiotics already exist in the gut, your body does not need a mandatory intake of probiotics. However, it does not hurt to take these supplements to aid your body’s functions.