Probiotics: About, Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Recommendations
Probiotics are bacteria that are good for our health.
Surprised that there are ‘good for health’ bacteria too? We invariably think of bacteria as harmful germs but not all bacteria are bad. In fact, our body has heaps of live bacteria inside that are actually good for it. So much so that if these weren’t there, our bodies would find it tough to survive. We call these ‘good’ bacteria Probiotics. Probiotic bacteria are resistant to digestive enzymes and help enhance balance of intestinal flora for multiple health benefits. Some of these much wanted Probiotic bacteria are various strains of lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium that are highly beneficial inside the body.
Probiotics support healthy functioning of body systems. As a large number of these ‘friendly’ bacteria are found in the intestine or the gut, these are especially helpful for better digestion.
Actually, there are plentiful bacteria – both good and bad – living inside the body. These are called microflora. If their balance is upset i.e. if ‘good’ bacteria count goes low, the health gets affected adversely.
How does this balance go upset? Well, it could be as simple as taking antibiotics that kill both good and bad bacteria indiscriminately.Replenish lost good bacteria with live Probiotics and your health is likely to improve.
Foods rich in Probiotics
Probiotic-rich foods have been a part of diet for ages. Yoghurt, fermented foods (dosa, utthapam and idli), pickles, Indian cottage cheese (paneer), and buttermilk are all probiotic-rich foods. So are popular foods from other cuisines like kimchi, soy sauce, kefir, miso, sauerkraut and tempeh.
If your food is low on probiotics or if you need extra dosage because of upset digestion or post-antibiotic care or if you are simply looking for improved gut health, you can take Probiotic capsules or Probiotic tablets.
Probiotics vs Prebiotics
Before we move on to more about Probiotics, we need to discuss another similar sounding word: Prebiotics.
Probiotics and Prebiotics are two different things.
As we have already talked about, Probiotics are gut-friendly bacteria. Prebiotics, in contrast, are substances that the Probiotic bacteria survive and thrive on. Most common example of Prebiotics are fiber in our food. Our body cannot digest fiber but the friendly bacteria in our gut can. So when we eat fiber-rich food i.e. food with Prebiotics, we are helping the Probiotics, that in turn help our overall health.
Health benefits of Probiotics
Moving on to Probiotics once again, these have multiple benefits for our overall health.
First and foremost; Probiotics support balance of intestinal or gut flora where good and bad bacteria live together. By increasing count of good bacteria, these help improve digestive system’s efficiency. These also help reduce gas, bloating and constipation.
When antibiotics are consumed, people often experience diarrhoea as the gut flora gets upset. Taking Probiotics helps in recovery by increasing good bacteria count. Similarly, probiotics also help in bringing relief in symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
There is also some research evidence that Probiotics help in protection from ulcerative colitis and stomach cancers, often caused by infections due to a ‘bad’ bacteria called Helicobacter pylori.
Our bodies are able to fight infections due to immunity and Probiotics help boost the immune function. Not only do Probiotics help check harmful gut bacteria, these also secrete protective substances that help promote production of antibodies (proteins made by body to counter infectious microorganisms) in body.
The food you eat has nutrients your body needs. But what if your intestine is not able to absorb these nutrients as much as it should? By supporting gut health, Probiotics help it better absorbing nutrients from the food we eat. Better nutrient absorption means that the body gets more power for smoother running of all its systems and undertaking vital biochemical processes.
Probiotics are also suggested to improve mood disorders, support weight loss, and help with skin conditions, allergies and urino-genital health.
How to use Probiotics
As always, it is best to get your nutrition directly from food. However, if your diet cannot supply sufficient amount or type of Probiotics you need (for example if your diet is low on healthy Lactobacillus strains); you should start on Probiotic capsules or Probiotic tablets, after consulting your healthcare professional.In medical science, the count of bacteria is done in CFU (colony forming units). A count of around 20 billion CFUs per capsule/tablet is generally considered a safe one. In SI units, this would be around 500 mg per dosage.
Usually, the recommended dosage for an adult is 2 capsules/tablets a day – one in morning, the other in evening.
Potential side effects
We recommend starting on any supplement after consulting with your healthcare professional. Under-18, pregnant and lactating women should avoid supplements until prescribed by their doctor.
While Probiotic supplements are generally safe, some people may see gas and bloating for a while before your system acclimates to them.
Those with compromised immunity or serious ailments or on antifungal medications should take probiotics only under medical supervision.
Bottom line on Probiotics
Probiotics are ‘good’ or ‘friendly’ live bacteria that support the body and its various systems, especially the digestive system. Found naturally in fermented foods, Probiotics can also be consumed as a supplement. Do ensure that your chosen supplement comes from a reliable manufacturer/seller, has required ingredients, and is trusted for purity.
For those looking for a quality Probiotic supplement, we recommend WOW Life Science Probiotic Capsules.
WOW Life Science Probiotics Capsules
WOW Probiotic Capsules contain an optimized blend of 14 ‘good bacteria’ strains with 20 billion CFUs – including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains – for improved digestion, immunity and overall wellness. These 20 billion CFUs of 14 health-friendly probiotics provide health benefits that your regular day-to-day food may lack. With WOW Probiotic Capsules, you get the healing goodness of probiotics morning and evening.
Each bottle of WOW Life Science Probiotic Capsules has 60 capsules and at a dosage of 2 capsules a day, it is sufficient for one month’s consumption.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are ‘good for health’ bacteria that help the body in healthy functioning.
Are Probiotic and Prebiotic the same?
No. Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria. Prebiotics are foods Probiotic bacteria thrive on.
How do Probiotics support good health?
Probiotics help maintain gut microflora in a state of healthy balance. These help neutralize ‘bad’ bacteria. These secrete substances that help raise immunity.
Why should I take a Probiotic tablet or capsule? Why can’t I get my Probiotics from food?
Of course, you can get your Probiotics from food rich in it. However; it requires a balanced and healthy diet with plenty of fermented foods. Also, even this healthy diet may not have multiple types of ‘good’ bacteria like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. A quality Probiotic supplement will have not just sufficient quantity of ‘good’ bacteria; it will also have multiple types of bacteria to ensure maximized health benefits.