Probiotics for Gut Health
Good health and a robust digestive system go hand in hand to give you a life that is free of diseases. And probiotics play a vital role in enhancing our digestion and keeping it robust. Probiotics are good bacteria that live in our bodies and have many benefits.
We have both good and bad bacteria in our bodies, and the number of bad ones increases when we fall sick. But probiotics are good bacteria, and their low number can make us sick instead. Taking probiotic supplements can help to keep their numbers high.
What are Probiotics?
We live with the notion that all bacteria are harmful, but it’s not true—our body houses both good and bad bacteria.
Probiotics for gut health are a mix of living good bacteria that naturally live in our body and play a role in keeping it healthy. It also helps fight off harmful bacteria when their number increases in the body in case of an infection.
Probiotics are a small part of the bigger picture, involving our body and the micro-organisms living in it, or a ‘Microbiome.’
A microbiome is like a forest ecosystem where every plant and animal has a part in keeping the forest thriving. In the same way, our body is also a microbiome where there are trillions of microbes that keep our body healthy. These microbes include viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi.
Every human being has a unique microbiome. The types of microbial cells are different for every person.
To consider a microbe as a probiotic, it needs to fulfill the following conditions:
- It is safe to consume.
- It can be isolated from the body.
- It should survive in the intestine after ingestion.
- It has a proven benefit for our bodies.
You can get probiotics from food sources as well as from supplements. The most common probiotic microbes are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria and their different strains.
Different probiotic microbes and their different strains have various benefits for the body.
Where are probiotics found in the body?
The most common place we know where probiotics live is in the gut, but several other areas host these beneficial microbes. These are:
- Urinary Tract
What are the benefits of probiotics for our gut health?
The probiotic microbes in our digestive tract are part of a complex gut flora called a gut microbiome. It includes different micro-organisms like viruses, bacteria, fungi, helminths, and archaea, where the vast majority comprises bacteria.
Our gut is a complex ecosystem home to around 300-500 species of microbes. Most of these microbes are in our large intestine or the colon, at the end of our digestive tract.
The intrinsic metabolic functions of our gut flora resemble the working of an organ.
It performs some vital health functions, such as producing K and B vitamins which are crucial for our body. These microbes in our gut also change fiber to short-chain fats that nourish our gut wall and perform metabolic functions. These fats strengthen our immune system and gut wall.
Now, there are times when this delicate balance of our gut flora goes off balance due to many reasons such as overuse of antibiotics, unhealthy diet, underlying diseases, etc. In such cases, probiotic-rich food and supplements balance the level of microbes in our gut.
With prolonged use of antibiotics, the good bacteria in our gut reduces, whereas the harmful bacteria start thriving. Probiotics help restore the gut flora’s balance by introducing good bacteria into the system.
Probiotics can also help reduce irritable bowel symptom, a digestive problem that’s becoming increasingly common nowadays thanks to our unhealthy eating habits. It can also prevent diarrhea, gas, bloating, and constipation. In some cases, probiotics can be beneficial for chronic diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcers.
These microbes also help to fight against Helicobacter Pylori infections which play a significant role in causing stomach cancer and ulcers.
What are the sources of probiotics?
You can get probiotics in two ways: from the food you eat and supplements containing probiotic microbes. You can quickly increase the number of good microbes in your body through certain food items, some of which you eat every other day.
Some of these food items include:
- Cottage cheese
- Sourdough bread
- Fermented pickles
- Miso soup
Apart from these food items, you can also take probiotic supplements that may contain just one or many microbe strains. It may be in the form of powders, liquid, or pills.
Your diet plays a vital role in maintaining the balance of micro-organisms in your gut. While having probiotic-rich foods, ensure your overall diet is balanced and healthy.
Are probiotics completely safe?
Since the microbes in probiotics are the same ones present in our body naturally, they are entirely safe to consume. Some mild side effects like bloating, diarrhea, and allergic reactions may last a few days.
But some people need to be cautious before taking probiotic supplements. Anyone who suffers from a chronic illness or had recent surgery should be careful about including probiotics in their diet.
Even those with a compromised and weak immune system should discuss with their healthcare provider about taking probiotics.
Have an explicit talk with your doctor before indulging in probiotic-rich foods or supplements.
If you are already on a journey toward having a healthy balanced diet, then adding probiotics to your diet will be a game-changer. Or, if you regularly have digestive issues, probiotics may be a healthy option to reduce those.
Probiotics have numerous benefits for our gut and our overall body. They are generally safe to consume, and each probiotic microbe will have different positive effects on our bodies.
Talk with your physician before you start taking any probiotic supplements. They can guide you on how to start and which supplement brands will be best.
You can even incorporate probiotics into your kids’ diet and other family members. It is high time to give enough attention to our gut flora with the help of probiotics.
Best Probiotic Supplements For Gut Health
Probiotics are live microbes that are good for our bodies. They are responsible for a healthy digestive system and strong immunity.
They exist in our body naturally and help our body to fight off harmful micro-organisms in case of an imbalance. We can get probiotics from fermented foods like kimchi, pickled vegetables, saurkraet, kombucha, yogurt, etc.
But there are times when the number of good microbes in our body goes down, affecting our digestion and several metabolic functions.
Probiotic supplements can provide the body with the required micro-organisms to create balance in such situations. Different strains of a microbe can have additional benefits for the body.
Here is a list of the best probiotic supplements that benefit the body.
Probiotics 60 Billion CFU by Physician’s Choice
The probiotics 60 billion CFU tops our list of best probiotics for gut health supplements as it boasts 60 billion CFUs per serving.
Along with this, it also has an organic prebiotic blend and ten probiotic strains, which makes it a professional quality product.
This probiotic helps in better digestion and supports the digestive tract. It also strengthens the immune system and prevents Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), constipation, and occasional bloating.
The organic prebiotic blend consisting of Chicory root, organic Jerusalem artichoke root, and acacia Senegal acts as food for the probiotic microbes.
The pills in this product are acid-resistant, and their release is delayed so that more organisms can survive as it passes through the harsh stomach acids.
And 60 billion CFUs means many microbes can colonize the gut, leading to a higher survival rate. The bottle’s design gives it longer shelf life, and you don’t need to refrigerate it to keep the organisms alive.
The ten probiotic strains in this supplement have a vital role in the overall gut health. It is a complete probiotic supplement for overall digestive health for adults, both men and women.
NOW Supplements, Probiotic-10
Another tremendous probiotics for gut health on our list is the NOW supplement Probiotic-10, which offers ten probiotic strains that are beneficial to the body.
It has a balanced spectrum of acid-resistant microbes so they can pass through the acids in the stomach to reach the intestines to colonize. The strains of probiotics in the product went through lots of clinical research to prove their role in the body.
Probiotic organisms are crucial to maintaining the gut flora, enhancing digestion, and certain metabolic functions. These microbes are necessary for good digestion, better immunity, and regular detoxification. They also protect the intestinal lining and mobility, and overall colon health.
Probiotic-10 is one such supplement that is dairy, soy, and gluten-free. It allows the gut to remove the toxins the gut, which keep piling in the digestive tract over time without any symptoms.
New Rhythm Probiotics, 50 Billion CFUs
The probiotics supplement from New Rhythm with 50 billion CFUs is another innovative supplement that is a clinically proven formula. It contains 20 strains of microbes, and every strain provides different benefits for the body.
The 50 million microbes in the supplement can survive the harsh acidic digestive tract to reach the gut and flourish there.
With the help of the targeted release feature, they have more chance of surviving before reaching the stomach. It also has prebiotic fiber that feeds the microbes in the gut and helps them multiply quickly.
As the microbes increase in number, they promote good intestinal health and proper digestion.
The gut microbial flora gets to thrive and flourish with the help of this supplement. And with an excellent digestive system, your body can strengthen the immune system, on the other hand.
It is a Non-GMO product and 100% vegetarian.
Acidophilus Probiotic by Nature’s Bounty
With 50 years of experience in this field, Nature’s Bounty is a pioneer in making organic and thoroughly researched products that promote better health.
Their stance on quality and consistency shows their dedication to their work.
Acidophilus Probiotics for gut health supports a healthy digestive system with the help of 100 million active microbes called Acidophilus Lactobacillus. It contains just one probiotic strain that relieves bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
It may also help in Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and Ulcers. These microbes help the gut flora to get back on track after completing a course of antibiotics.
The pills are free of soy, gluten, lactose, and wheat, making them allergy-friendly. It is also free of added colors or preservatives but needs refrigeration once you open the bottle. It is suitable for adults but not for kids.
Garden of Life, Dr. Formulated Probiotics for Women
Dr. Formulated Probiotics for gut health is the only brand on the list that is made specifically for women. It has around 50 Billion CFUs with 16 different strains.
It is a unique product because it targets the female vaginal, immune, and digestive health through its probiotics blend.
It is a perfect supplement for women who don’t like taking pills. You can open the capsules and add them to a glass of water or juice, making it easy to consume. The shelf life of this product is long, and it does not need refrigeration after opening.
The vast number of microbes and various strains make it a potent supplement. It has 40 billion microbes from Lactobacillus strains and 10 billion CFU from Bifidobacterium.
These microbes prevent the growth of harmful microbes in the gut and reduce the growth of inflammatory proteins, thus strengthening the immune system (1).
Some trains of this supplement prevent the growth of yeast and any harmful bacteria in the vagina. It also promotes a healthy gut and better digestion.
It also has a prebiotic fiber blend that will feed the microbes. It is soy, gluten, and dairy-free, which makes it allergy-resistant up to a certain point.
Probiotic supplements help the body replenish the number of probiotics that our body may lose due to many untoward activities such as illness, medications, and an unhealthy diet. These supplements mentioned above are all organically prepared and readily available everywhere.
Probiotics as supplements go well with our busy lifestyle since they are easy to use. Apart from helping our gut flora to thrive and survive, these supplements contribute to solid immunity and overall good health.