Probiotics: Definition, Types, Examples, Forms, Modes, Health Benefits and Side Effects
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Probiotics: What are Probiotics? Definition, Types, Examples, Forms, Modes &Best Times of Taking & How to Take, What Do Probiotics Do? Health Benefits and Side Effects
In this health education post for healthy lifestyle and wellness living, we discussed the following sections:
What are Probiotics?
Types of Probiotics
Examples of Probiotics
Forms of Probiotics
Modes of Takng Probiotics into the Body
Best Times of Taking Probiotics into the Body
How to Take Probiotics into the Body
What Do Probiotics Do?
Probiotics Benefits and
Probiotics Side Effects
What are Probiotics? – Watch Video
What are Probiotics?
Many who seek the nutritional values of plant and animal-based products for consumption purposes and otherwise are not conversant with probiotics and their health benefits. While many health benefits abound in probiotics because of their nutritional values, we shall be concerned with the question: What are probiotics? first thing first.
Probiotics, by definition, are live microorganisms, mainly bacteria and yeast with health benefits to the host organism when consumed in adequate amounts. They are commonly found in fermented foods (probiotic foods) such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and in some dietary supplements (probiotic supplements).
Definitively, probiotics can help improve the balance of microorganisms in the gut microbiome, promote digestion and nutrient absorption, and boost the immune system. There may have other health benefits of probiotics.
However, the specific side effects of probiotics can vary depending on the strains and doses consumed, as well as the individual’s health status and gut microbiome composition.
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Types of Probiotics
Having stated what probiotics are, we can now shift our attention to the types of probiotics. There are two types of probiotics based on their method of production, composition and mode of action. They are natural probiotics and unnatural probiotics.
Under this section – Natural Probiotics as a type of probiotics, we shall discuss the following sub-headings: What are the Natural Probiotics? Examples of Natural Probiotics and Health Benefits of Natural Probiotics.
What are the Natural Probiotics?
Natural probiotics are foods that contain live bacteria or yeasts that can benefit the gut microbiome by improving digestion and overall gut health.
Examples of Natural Probiotics
Consuming natural probiotics can be a great way to improve gut health and boost overall wellness Here are some examples of natural probiotics include: Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso soup, kombucha
- Yogurt: Yogurt is one of the examples of probiotics. Yogurt is made from milk fermented by live bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis. These bacteria can help improve digestive health and boost the immune system.
- Kefir: Kefir is a fermented drink made from milk or water that contains a variety of beneficial bacteria and yeasts. It is particularly rich in Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum, which can help improve gut health.
- Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage dish that contains Lactobacillus bacteria. It is a good source of probiotics and also contains vitamins C and K.
- Kimchi: Kimchi is a Korean dish made from fermented vegetables, such as cabbage, radishes, and cucumbers. It contains Lactobacillus bacteria and can help improve gut health.
- Tempeh: Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that contains probiotics and is a good source of protein. It is a popular vegetarian and vegan food. Tempeh is one of the common examples of natural probiotics.
- Kombucha: Kombucha is a fermented tea that contains a variety of beneficial bacteria and yeasts. It is believed to have a number of health benefits, including improved gut health and immune function.
There are many other natural sources of probiotics, including pickles, sourdough bread, and some types of cheese. It’s important to consume a variety of probiotic-rich foods to ensure that you’re getting a wide range of beneficial bacteria.
Health Benefits of Natural Probiotics
Health benefits are well associated with probiotics both natural and organic
Natural probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in your gut and help to maintain a healthy balance of microorganisms in your digestive system.
Consuming natural probiotics through food or supplements can offer a range of health benefits, including: Improved digestion, enhanced immune function, reduced risk of certain diseases, improved mental health, improved heart health and enhanced skin health:
Just like the natural probiotics, you shall read about the definition, examples and health benefits of organic probiotics
Meaning of Unnatural Probiotics
Unnatural probiotics are probiotic supplements that are specifically designed and produced by humans. Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide various health benefits to the host when consumed in adequate amounts. These microorganisms include various strains of bacteria, yeast, and other types of fungi.
Unnatural probiotics can be produced by isolating specific strains of bacteria or other microorganisms and then culturing them under controlled conditions to increase their numbers. They can also be genetically engineered to enhance their beneficial properties or to create new strains that are more effective in treating specific health conditions.
Unnatural probiotics can be found in various forms, including capsules, tablets, powders, and liquids. They are often marketed as dietary supplements and are available over-the-counter or online. However, it is important to note that the efficacy and safety of manmade probiotics can vary widely depending on the specific strain of microorganism used and the manufacturing process used to produce them.
It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new dietary supplement, including manmade or unnatural probiotics, to ensure that they are safe and appropriate for your individual needs.
Examples of Unnatural Probiotics
There are many examples of manmade probiotics available on the market, including:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus: This is a strain of bacteria that is commonly used in probiotic supplements to promote digestive health.
- Bifidobacterium bifidum: This is another strain of bacteria that is commonly used in probiotic supplements to support digestive health.
- Saccharomyces boulardii: This is a type of yeast that is used in probiotic supplements to support gut health and treat diarrhea.
- Streptococcus thermophilus: This is a strain of bacteria that is commonly used in probiotic supplements to support immune health and improve lactose digestion.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG: This is a strain of bacteria that is commonly used in probiotic supplements to support immune health and reduce the risk of certain infections.
- Bacillus coagulans: This is a type of spore-forming bacteria that is used in probiotic supplements to support digestive health and boost the immune system.
It’s important to note that these examples are just a few of the many types of manmade probiotics available on the market. The specific strains and formulations of manmade probiotics can vary widely, so it’s important to choose a product that has been tested and proven effective through clinical research.
Health Benefits of Unnatural Probiotics
Consuming unnatural probiotics can have numerous health benefits. Health benefits of organic probiotics include improved digestion, strengthened immune system, and better nutrient absorption. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before adding any new supplements or foods to your diet, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking medications.
The health benefits of unnatural probiotics may vary depending on the specific strains of bacteria and the individual’s health status
Forms of Probiotics
Having stated the meaning and types of probiotics, it’s important to note that there are two forms of probiotics. They are solid probiotics and liquid probiotics
Solid Probiotics – Definition, Examples, and Health Benefits
Probiotics are living microorganisms that can provide health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts whether solid or liquid. They are commonly found in foods such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, as well as in supplement form.
Definition of Solid Probiotics
Solid Probiotics are probiotic supplements that come in solid forms, such as capsules, tablets, or powders.
Examples of Solid Probiotics
The best solid probiotics are those that are high-quality, potent and contain a variety of strains to support overall health and wellness. It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
The effectiveness of solid probiotics can vary depending on the specific strain of bacteria or yeast used, as well as the formulation and manufacturing process. Some examples of solid probiotics include:
- Probiotic capsules: Probiotic capsules is one of the examples of solid probiotics. Probiotic capsules are a popular way to take probiotics, and they contain a concentrated dose of live bacteria or yeast strains.
- Probiotic tablets: Probiotic tablets is one of the common examples of solid probiotics. Probiotic tablets are similar to capsules but are often larger and may contain additional ingredients, such as prebiotics or digestive enzymes.
- Probiotic gummies: Probiotic gummies are a fun and tasty way to take probiotics, and they may be easier for children to take than capsules or tablets.
- Probiotic powders: Probiotic powders can be added to food or beverages and may contain a variety of probiotic strains.
- Probiotic bars: Probiotic bars are a convenient and portable way to get a dose of probiotics, and they may also contain other healthy ingredients, such as fiber or protein. It is one of the examples of solid probiotics.
Health Benefits of Solid Probiotics
Solid probiotics, also known as probiotic supplements, are capsules or tablets containing live microorganisms that can provide numerous health benefits. Here are some of the potential health benefits of solid probiotics:
- Improved digestive health: Probiotics can improve digestion by helping to break down food and absorbing nutrients. They may also help alleviate digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Enhanced immune function: Probiotics can strengthen the immune system by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can help fight off harmful bacteria and viruses.
- Reduced inflammation: Some studies have shown that certain strains of probiotics may help reduce inflammation in the body, which can lead to a variety of health problems.
- Lowered risk of infection: Probiotics may help prevent infections by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut and other parts of the body.
- Improved mental health: Some studies have suggested that probiotics may have a positive effect on mood and anxiety, although more research is needed to confirm this.
- Lowered cholesterol: Certain strains of probiotics may help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, which can lower the risk of heart disease.
It’s important to note that the health benefits of solid probiotics may vary depending on the specific strains and amounts of microorganisms included in the supplement. It’s also essential to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
Liquid Probiotics – What are Liquid Probiotics? Examples and Health Benefits
The other form of probiotics outside solid probiotics is liquid probiotics
What are Liquid Probiotics?
Liquid probiotics are dietary supplements that contain beneficial live bacteria and yeasts in a liquid form. These live microorganisms, when consumed in sufficient quantities, can help improve the balance of good bacteria in the gut and enhance digestive health.
Unlike traditional probiotic supplements that come in capsule or tablet form, liquid probiotics are usually sold in a liquid form that can be consumed directly or added to food or drinks. Some liquid probiotics may also contain prebiotic fibers, which can further support the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Examples of Liquid Probiotics
Liquid probiotics are probiotic supplements that come in liquid form, typically as a fermented drink. Liquid probiotics can vary in their probiotic content and effectiveness, depending on factors such as the fermentation process and storage conditions. Some examples of liquid probiotics include kefir, kombucha, kimchi, miso soup, pickle juice, etc.
- Kefir: Kefir is one the examples of liquid probiotics. Kefir is a fermented milk drink that is rich in probiotics, including several strains of beneficial bacteria and yeasts.
- Kombucha: Kombucha is one of the common examples of liquid probiotics. Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that is also rich in probiotics, including acetic acid bacteria and yeasts.
- Kimchi juice: Kimchi juice is a fermented vegetable juice that is rich in probiotics, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains.
- Miso soup: Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup made from fermented soybeans, and it is rich in probiotics. Miso is one of the examples of liquid probiotics.
- Pickle juice: Pickle juice is the liquid brine used to pickle vegetables, and it is also a source of probiotics, including Lactobacillus strains.
Health Benefits of Liquid Probiotics
While it is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the effects of liquid probiotics on human health, and to determine the optimal dose and strain of probiotics to take for specific health conditions and also the recommendation to consult a healthcare professional before taking any new dietary supplement, liquid probiotics may provide several potential health benefits, such as improving digestion, boosting the immune system, and reducing inflammation. Other minor health benefits of liquid probiotics exist.
Modes of Taking Probiotics into the Body
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can provide various health benefits, when consumed in adequate amounts, including improved digestion, boosted immune function, reduced inflammation, mental health benefits, improved vaginal health, allergy prevention and even reduced risk of certain diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
These commonly found food and supplements in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha can be taken into the body in six different modes. Here are some common methods of taking probiotics into the body: Oral supplements (Oral probiotics), fermented foods, probiotic drinks, topical application, suppositories and injectable probiotics.
- Oral supplements (Oral probiotics): Oral probiotics is one of the modes of taking probiotics into the body. Oral probiotics are live bacteria that can be taken by mouth to promote health benefits in the digestive system and the body as a whole. Oral probiotics as a form of traditional probiotics are available in the form of capsules, tablets, or powders that can be swallowed with water. This is the most common way to take probiotics. Some examples of oral probiotics are Lactobacillus acidophilus, bifidobacterium bifidum, streptococcus thermophiles, among others.
- Fermented foods: Many foods are naturally rich in probiotics, including yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, and kombucha. Adding these foods to your diet can provide your body with a variety of beneficial bacteria.
- Probiotic drinks: Probiotic drinks are becoming increasingly popular and are available in many health food stores. They are usually made by fermenting fruit or vegetable juices with probiotic bacteria.
- Topical application: Some probiotics can be applied directly to the skin, such as in the form of creams or lotions. These can be helpful for treating skin conditions like acne or eczema.
- Suppositories: In some cases, probiotics may be administered as suppositories to treat specific digestive or vaginal issues.
- Injectable probiotics: Injectable probiotics are a type of probiotic therapy that involves injecting live bacteria or bacterial products directly into the body. This approach is different from traditional probiotics, which are usually taken orally in the form of pills or capsules. Injectable probiotics are not yet a widely accepted or proven therapy. There is still limited research on their safety and effectiveness, and the FDA does not currently approve them for use in humans because more research is needed before they can be considered a viable treatment option for most people.
It’s important to note that not all probiotics are created equal, and some may be more effective than others when taken into the body. It’s also important to follow the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new probiotic regimen.
What are the best times to take probiotics?
While many probiotics users are asking: ‘’When is the best time to take probiotics?’’, others are asking: ‘’what is the best time of the day to take probiotics?’’ and the rest wants to know when to take probiotics. The answers to the questions these categories of users of probiotics are the same. Simply put: When or what is the best time to take probiotics?
The three best times of day to take probiotics are:
- 30 minutes before a meal
- Mealtimes and
- 2 hours after a meal.
- 30 minutes before a meal is one of the best times to take probiotics into the body for some food that can interfere with the survival and effectiveness of the live bacteria.
- Mealtimes is one of the best times to take probiotics for some probiotics that may be more effective when taken with food, especially those designed to improve digestion.
- 2 hours after a meal is the third best time to take probiotics.
How to Take Probiotics into the Body: Important Measures to Consider
While there are several examples of probiotics in solid and liquid form – natural and organic, consumable in different modes – orally, probiotic drinks, fermented foods, injectable probiotics, among others, but the question here is: ‘’How do we take probiotics into the body?’’
How to Take Probiotics into the Body
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be found naturally in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut and in the form of supplements that are beneficial for human health. Here are 12 important measures to take on how to take probiotics into your body
- Consume probiotic foods in moderation, as too much can cause digestive discomfort.
- Not all fermented foods are probiotic, as some may not contain live microorganisms or may have been pasteurized, which can kill the beneficial bacteria.
- Choose a reputable brand of probiotic supplements, as quality control and accurate labeling can vary widely across different products. Look for supplements that have been independently tested and certified by third-party organizations such as NSF International or ConsumerLab.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the dosage and frequency of use. Some probiotics may need to be refrigerated or stored in a cool, dry place to maintain their potency.
- It is also recommended to consult a healthcare professional before taking any new dietary supplement because not all probiotic supplements are created equal,
- Always read the label: Be sure to read the label and choose a brand that contains live and active cultures, as this is what provides the probiotic benefits. Checking the label to make sure the brand you are purchasing contains live and active cultures is very important.
- Consult with a healthcare professional before adding a new supplement to your routine. Consulting a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or a registered dietitian, can also help determine the best time to take probiotics and the dosage of probiotics based on an individual’s specific health needs and goals
- Liquid probiotics can vary in their probiotic content and effectiveness, depending on factors such as the fermentation process and storage conditions and solid probiotics can vary depending on the specific strain of bacteria or yeast used, as well as the formulation and manufacturing process
- There are many other fermented foods and probiotic supplements available that contain live bacterial cultures and are produced using organic methods.
- It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before adding any new supplements or foods to your diet, especially if you have a medical condition or are taking medications.
- All probiotics are not created equal, and some may be more effective than others. The quality and safety of probiotic supplements can vary too. The effectiveness of probiotic supplements can vary depending on the strain, dosage, and individual factors such as age, diet, and health status. The effectiveness of probiotics can vary depending on the individual and the specific strain of bacteria or yeast used
- Injectable probiotics are not yet a widely accepted or proven therapy. There is still limited research on their safety and effectiveness, and the FDA does not currently approve them for use in humans. More research is needed before they can be considered a viable treatment option for most people
- Not all fermented foods contain probiotics, as some are pasteurized, which kills off the beneficial bacteria as different strains of bacteria have different health benefits.
Having discussed ‘How to Take Probiotics into the Human Body’, let us write on ‘What Do Probiotics Do?’’ and relatedly, ‘Probiotics Health Benefits’
What do Probiotics do?
Probiotics do several things in the human body. ‘What do probiotics do’ has a lot to do with the promising probiotics health benefits. They have been shown to have a variety of potential health benefits, including: Improving gut health, Boosting the immune system, Preventing and treating diarrhea, Managing certain digestive disorders, Supporting heart health, Enhancing mental health, among others.
- Improving gut health: Probiotics can help restore the natural balance of bacteria in the gut microbiome, which may improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and enhance the absorption of nutrients.
- Boosting the immune system: Probiotics can stimulate the production of antibodies and other immune cells, which may help protect against infections and diseases.
- Preventing and treating diarrhea: Certain strains of probiotics have been shown to reduce the risk and severity of diarrhea, especially in children and people taking antibiotics.
- Managing certain digestive disorders: Probiotics may be beneficial for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and other gastrointestinal disorders.
- Supporting heart health: Some probiotics may help reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure, which can lower the risk of heart disease.
- Enhancing mental health: Emerging evidence suggests that the gut microbiome may play a role in regulating mood and behavior, and certain probiotics may have a beneficial effect on mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
More research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of probiotics, but it is important to note that the specific side effects of probiotics can vary depending on the strains and doses consumed, as well as the individual’s health status and gut microbiome composition.
What are the Health Benefits of Probiotics?
There are many potential probiotics benefits when consumed, including Improved digestion, Boosted immune function, Reduced inflammation, Mental health benefits, Reduced risk of certain diseases, Improved vaginal health and Allergy prevention.
- Improved digestion: Improved digestion is one of the probiotics benefits derived from consuming the health product. Probiotics can help break down food and improve nutrient absorption, which may alleviate digestive issues like bloating, gas, and constipation.
- Boosted immune function: Probiotics may help stimulate the immune system and reduce the risk of infections, particularly in the gut. Boosting immune function serves as both what probiotics do and probiotics benefits.
- Reduced inflammation: Some strains of probiotics have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce inflammation throughout the body, which is linked to numerous chronic diseases.
- Mental health benefits: The gut-brain axis is a complex communication network between the gut and the brain, and some research suggests that probiotics may improve mood and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Reduced risk of certain diseases: Probiotics may help reduce the risk of certain diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
- Improved vaginal health: Some strains of probiotics may help reduce the risk of vaginal infections and maintain a healthy vaginal microbiome.
- Allergy prevention: Some research suggests that probiotics may help prevent allergies and reduce symptoms in people who are already allergic to certain substances.
It’s important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of probiotics and to determine which strains are most effective for specific health conditions.
Having discussed ‘What Do Probiotics Do’ and ‘Probiotics Benefits’, we look at ‘’The Side Effects of Probiotics’’
Probiotics Side Effects
What are the Probiotics’ Side Effects?
Probiotics are generally considered safe for most people, and side effects are rare.
5 Sides Effects of Probiotics Related to Digestive Symptoms
Some people may experience mild digestive symptoms when first starting to consume probiotics and can have any of these probiotics side effects:
- Abdominal discomfort
Other Side Effects of Probiotics (Symptoms)
The other side effects of probiotics outside the digestive symptoms are:
- In rare cases, people with compromised immune systems or certain medical conditions, such as short bowel syndrome, may be at risk for more severe side effects from probiotics.
- Additionally, some people may experience allergic reactions to certain strains of probiotics, especially if they have a history of allergies to other substances. If you experience severe side effects or symptoms, such as fever, rash, or difficulty breathing, after consuming probiotics, you should seek medical attention immediately.
These side effects or symptoms of probiotics usually go away on their own within a few days, as the body adjusts to the new bacteria in the gut.
What are Probiotics? Watch the Video Probiotics Explained
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
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