First of all, what is a probiotic? Probiotics, which is the antithetical term of antibiotics, gets its name from the words “pro” and “biota” and means “for life”. Probiotics can be defined as beneficial microorganisms that contribute to the protection of body health. From the regulation of the digestive system to increasing immunity, it appears to have many beneficial effects on the body.
The number of bacteria in the gut of a healthy person is thought to be about 10 times higher than the total number of cells in our body. Useful bacteria that live in the intestines; it can help prevent disease progression. Probiotics help increase these beneficial bacteria in the intestines and decrease harmful bacteria. Also we have probiotic foods that helps us for many health issues. Many bacterial species are classified as probiotics. They all have different benefits, but most come from two groups. For this reason, it will be more useful for you to consult your doctor to find out which type of probiotic can help you best.
Lactobacillus: This may be the most common probiotic. It is a type you will find in yogurt and other fermented foods. Different strains can help people with diarrhea to improve their diarrhea and those who cannot digest lactose, the sugar in milk.
Bifidobacterium: You can find it in some dairy products. It can alleviate the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and some other ailments.
Saccharomyces boulardii: It is a probiotic yeast component that is among the strains of probiotics. It helps fight diarrhea and other digestive problems.
It also has effects on maintaining and regenerating the bacterial balance in the intestinal system. In researches, most of the probiotics are non-pathogenic microorganisms; It has been observed that people like lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria and Enterococci are found naturally in the digestive system.
In order for probiotic microorganisms to be beneficial for the body; The conditions of absence of toxins, resistance to gastric acid and bile water, adherence to the intestinal cell epithelium, temporary colonization in the gastrointestinal tract and adaptation to the natural intestinal flora are required.
Also we have prebiotics so we can know what is prebiotics. Prebiotics are defined as nutrients that can reach the intestines without being digested, stimulating the reproduction and activity of beneficial bacteria here. Their most prominent feature is that they are not digested in the small intestine and stimulate the growth of microorganisms. Thanks to these features, they also affect health positively. Examples of fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), inulin, galacto-saccharides, lactulose, lactilol prebiotics. Prebiotic food is; It means a product containing prebiotic substance.
It Helps Strengthen the Immune System
Probiotics can help strengthen your immune system and prevent the development of harmful gut bacteria. Also, some probiotics have been shown to increase the production of natural antibodies in the body. In addition, cells producing IgA can increase immune cells such as T lymphocytes and natural killer cells.
A great compilation; He found that taking probiotics reduced the likelihood and duration of respiratory infections. However, the quality of the evidence in this review is rather poor.
Another study involving more than 570 children; They found that using Lactobacillus GG reduced the frequency and severity of respiratory infections by 17%. “Probiotic Lactobacillus crispatus” has also been shown to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections in women by 50%.
It Helps Reduce Digestive Disorders
Certain probiotic strains from Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains help improve symptoms in people with mild ulcerative colitis.
Surprisingly in one study; Escherichia coli Nissle has been found to be as effective as drugs in maintaining remission in people with ulcerative colitis supplemented with the probiotic strain.
However, it has been noticed that probiotics have little effect on the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
However, probiotics may benefit other gut disorders. The first researches made; It suggests that probiotics may help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
It Helps Reduce Severity of Certain Allergies and Eczema
Some probiotic strains can reduce the severity of eczema in children and infants. In one study; Improvement in eczema symptoms of babies fed with probiotic supplemented milk was found to be improved compared to babies fed with milk without probiotics.
In another study, children of women who took probiotics during pregnancy were followed. These children had a 83% lower risk of eczema in the first two years of life.
However, the link between probiotics and decreased eczema severity is still weak and more research is needed.
Some probiotics can also reduce inflammatory responses in people with milk or milk allergies. However, evidence about this condition is weak and more studies are needed.
It Helps Keep Your Heart Healthy
Probiotics can help keep your heart healthy by lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and blood pressure. Some lactic acid-producing bacteria can reduce cholesterol by breaking down bile in the gut.
“Bile”, a liquid naturally and mostly composed of cholesterol, helps digestion.
Probiotics can break down bile and prevent it from being absorbed again in the gut, where it can enter the blood as cholesterol.
In the review of 5 studies; Eating probiotic yogurt for 2-8 weeks has been found to reduce total cholesterol by 4% and LDL cholesterol by 5%.
Consuming probiotics can also lower blood pressure. In the review of 9 studies; Probiotic supplements have been found to moderately lower blood pressure. To get any blood pressure-related benefits, supplementation had to exceed 8 weeks and 10 million colony-forming units (CFUs) daily.
It Helps Troubleshoot Mental Health Problems
An increasing number of studies link gut health to mental and mental health. Studies on both animals and humans; He discovers that probiotic supplements can improve some mental health disorders.
Review of 15 human studies supplemented with Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus microorganisms for 1-2 months; These strains were found to be effective in improving anxiety, depression, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and memory.
In a study; 70 chemistry workers were followed for 6 weeks. People who consume 100 grams of probiotic yogurt daily or take a probiotic capsule daily experienced positive improvements in general health, depression, anxiety, and stress.
Similar benefits were seen in the study of 40 patients with depression. People who took probiotics supplements for 8 weeks were found to have low levels of depression and decreased levels of hormones such as C-reactive protein (inflammatory markers) and insulin compared to people who did not take probiotics.
It can Help Prevent Diarrhea
Probiotics are known for their ability to prevent or reduce diarrhea. Diarrhea is a common side effect of taking antibiotics in general. It occurs because antibiotics negatively affect the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.
Some studies suggest that the use of probiotics is associated with reducing the occurrence of antibiotic-induced diarrhea. In a study, researchers; They found that taking probiotics reduced diarrhea caused by antibiotics by 42%.
Probiotics can also help with other types of diarrhea that are not related to antibiotics. An extensive review of 35 studies; found that certain probiotic species can reduce the infectious diarrhea duration by an average of 25 hours.
In addition, probiotics have been discovered to reduce the risk of diarrhea by 8% for those who travel a lot. In addition, it reduced the risk of diarrhea from other causes by 57% in children and 26% in adults.
Its effectiveness varies depending on the type and dose of probiotics taken. Strains such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus casei, and yeast Saccharomyces boulardii are the most commonly associated with reduced risk of diarrhea.
It Helps Balancing Good Bacteria
Probiotics include “good” bacteria. These are living microorganisms that can benefit health when consumed.
These benefits are; It is thought to be due to the ability of probiotics to restore the natural balance of gut bacteria.
An imbalance means that there are too many bad bacteria and not enough bacteria, and this can happen for illnesses, drugs such as antibiotics, poor nutrition, and many more. As a result, digestive problems, allergies, mental health problems, obesity and more can occur.
Probiotics are often found in fermented foods or can be taken as a supplement. Moreover, the use of probiotics seems safe for most people.