Probiotics have grown very popular in the health industry, and this is for good reason. The right kind of Probiotics not only facilitate mental and physical wellbeing but also helps nourish your gut bacteria. So what are probiotics? Probiotics are gut microbes or good bacteria found in the intestines that help keep the bad bacteria in check. The wellbeing of the gut promotes optimal health in numerous ways, including extracting energy from food, preventing obesity, building the immune system among other things.
What is Bifidobacterium?
When you talk about probiotics, it is rare to fail to mention the Bifidobacterium group of beneficial bacteria. Bifidobacterium is a Latin name for good bacteria found in the large intestines. They produce lactic acid that helps strengthen the intestinal walls. The benefits of Bifidobacterium are deep and wide, thus it is imperative to ensure that they are included in any probiotic supplement you might want to purchase. Various types of Bifidobacterium include:
Bifidobacterium B (bifidum): It helps the digestive system to function properly by preventing entry of harmful microbes into the intestine and boosts the immune system; It also facilities production of important vitamins such as B12.
Bifidobacterium breve: It also belongs to Bifidobacterium family B, which also shields the body from toxic microbes by preventing development of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Bifidobacterium infantis – B: is found not only in the gut but also in human breast milk. It helps babies digest the milk by breaking down the lactic acid. It also improves the digestive capacity for the adults as well.
Bifidobacterium lactis – It breaks down lactose to digest dairy products. Moreover, research has established that it helps alleviate celiac disease symptoms.
Bifidobacterium longum – Though antibiotics are beneficial, they often come with side effects such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD). Longum helps reduce AAD.
Choose the Right Probiotic Supplements
The gut of a healthy human being is comprised of about 90% of the good bacteria. However, factors such as diet, illness, stress and medications can upset the ratio of good to bad bacteria composition resulting to disorders such as inflammation, gastrointestinal distress, constipation or diarrhea, eczema, and a weakened immune system. In such situations, taking probiotic supplements to add an extra dose of good bacteria will bring harmony back to the gut.
However, first you need to find the right probiotic supplements. Finding the right supplement can be a daunting task, especially with the market currently flooded with thousands of options that come with varying ingredients and potency. Some come with tongue-twister names like Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Streptococcus thermophiles.
So how do you get to choose the right probiotic supplement?
The best solution is to do your own personal research, by reading reviews and ratings of various products and also consult experts in the health and nutrition industry. Buying a probiotic is not as simple as picking a multivitamin, because there is more at stake. Ensure you check the label before you make a purchase. The label should read viable until expiration date’. This means that the bacteria in the product will stay alive until the expiration date.
On the other hand, if the label reads, “viable at the time of manufacture” or something similar to that, do not purchase the product. It means that the bacteria were alive up to the date of manufacture. Thus, there is no guarantee the good bacteria is still alive when you purchase the product. Another factor to consider is whether you are required to refrigerate the product or not. Some probiotics can be stored in a cool, dry place while others need to be freeze-dried.
How to make Best Use Probiotics
When it comes to use of probiotics, there’s no “one size fits all” probiotic that gives you all good bacteria you need into your system. Thus, make sure you purchase a trusted brand. Also check potency count, also referred to as colony forming units, which should be 50 billion and higher. Also ensure you follow the manufacturer’s dosage recommendation.
Moreover, consult your doctor before you start using probiotics especially when you have a health condition. People who are generally healthy can take the suppliments without consulting a doctor. However, for those with a severe intestinal condition, or have immune system problems among other conditions should consult a doctor before taking these supplements.
The Bottom Line
These supplements come in large numbers and varieties, with claims of numerous health benefits; however they aren’t magical products nor are they a substitute for medicine. If you choose the right product, you can count on them to improve your health and also help you maintain good health.