Probiotics are defined as microbial ingredients and are found in certain foods. When ingested, probiotics benefit the health of their host. They can help repopulate or rebalance intestinal flora in order to achieve health and wellbeing. Probiotics are found in certain fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yoghurt, kefir, kombucha. They are also found in dietary supplements in the form of tablets, powders or capsules.
Digestive Pros and Cons
Probiotics are generally considered safe. However, are not without risk. The short term side effects may include symptoms such as bloating and gas. According to Berkeley Wellness, some probiotics have side effects such as an overstimulation of the immune system, some may also adversely affect metabolic pathways such as carbohydrate metabolism. It is very important that you seek medical advice before taking probiotics. Your health care professional will need to recommend a brand as well as a specific strain for your general wellbeing and especially if you have a certain health condition.
As medical professionals delve deeper into the connection between probiotics and health, there is now sufficient evidence in the role probiotics play in the prevention of treatment of conditions and diseases. According to Mayo Clinic, the benefits include treating diarrhoea, preventing and treating yeast infections such as candida, treating irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics have also been shown to support your immune system.
Immune System Effects
The bacteria found in your digestive tract support the digestion of your food and as new evidence arises, good bacteria, supports the immune system. By consuming a probiotic rich diet and maintaining healthy intestinal flora, your immune system may be enhanced. In one small study of students, those who were given the probiotic fermented dairy drink, displayed increased production of lymphocytes which is a natural marker of the immune response.
Choosing a probiotic and Storage
Probiotic supplements can be purchased at your supermarket, health food store and pharmacy. They are very sensitive to environment and can easily be killed for example by being in storage too long or not being in the refrigerator over a long period of time. It is therefore very important to choose a reputable brand and from a company that is well established. When purchasing a probiotic supplement, you should always check the label, the more information on the label, the better. The label should tell you the probiotic’s stains and how many microorganisms should still be alive by the use by date.
Probiotics are active, living organisms and should be stored correctly or they will die, losing their health benefits. Generally, probiotics need to be stored in the fridge and need to be used before the expiration date.