Bacteria are everywhere. They all live and increase in diverse environments like the sea, soil, and even inside our body. These bacteria are sometimes used as weapons, like the anthrax bomb or the E61 anthrax bomblet, by bioterrorists to spread fear and create chaos. Soil Bacteria too are used in enriching agricultural lands where they provide large quantities of nitrogen to plants supporting the soil.
Other bacteria pose a great danger to human health, but there are good bacteria that can help our body. It is believed that we have more good bacteria than bad bacteria inside our body, as it is home to a hundred billion good bacteria composed of strains and species. We have this special type of interaction with good bacteria, as well as with bad bacteria, as both are benefiting and living together. Therefore, bacteria are essential to our survival.
We will check the good bacteria, called probiotics, on how these bacteria live inside our body, specifically living inside and affecting the stomach. We will look at what probiotic is and its other detail. In addition, how they work and survive as tiny living organisms inside the body, as well as to look at the pros and cons of probiotics.
What is Probiotic and how they work?
These are live microorganisms that are friendly bacteria, and yeasts, that gives positive health benefits to our bodies like weight loss, improve digestion, enhanced immune function, healthier skin, and reduces the risk of harmful diseases. Probiotics can be sourced from foods, prepared through the process of bacterial fermentation, and from supplements. Interestingly, they have three types and here are the following:
- Lactobacillus: The most common probiotic which can be found in yogurts and other fermented foods. These good bacteria can help to heal diarrhea and other concerns with digestion.
- Bifidobacterium: This type of good bacteria is found in dairy products and may help aid the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome that usually affects women.
- Saccharomyces boulardii: This good bacteria is typically found in yeast and helps fight diarrhea and other digestive problems.
The job of the gut, small and large intestine, is to extract energy from foods, absorb nutrients, and remove waste. When taking probiotics they usually end up in the colon, inside this gastrointestinal tract are microbiomes that contain bacteria, fungi, and others, which also consumes the food that we consume. There is a balance between good and bad bacteria to keep the body working the way it is expected to be, wherein such cases like losing good bacteria from drinking antibiotics, we can replace and regain them by taking in probiotics from food or supplement sources.
Source of Probiotics
Probiotics bacteria and the inclination of consumers about digestive health has led to the growth of the probiotics market. That is why there are consistent efforts being taken by corporations and health organizations to boost research and development of probiotics supplements, which help in increasing the Lactobacilli count in women, probiotics yogurt that reduces the risk of cancer, and probiotics used for dental treatments. Other sources of probiotic foods are the following:
- Kimchi: the main ingredient is the cabbage, or other vegetables, and is fermented that is rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Miso: soybeans are fermented with salt and koji, a type of fungus that can be mixed with other ingredients and is used in miso soup.
- Kefir: a fermented milk drink that is made by adding kefir gran’s to a cow or goat’s milk that helps improve bone strength, help with digestive problems, and protect against infections.
- Traditional Buttermilk: these are fermented dairy drinks that have to types, the traditional which is the leftover liquid from making butter that contains probiotics and the cultured which does not have probiotic benefits which are usually found in supermarkets.
- Pickles: the main ingredient is cucumbers that have been pickled and fermented with the use of salt and water that makes them taste sour.
- Yogurt: the main ingredient is made from fermented milk and producing lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria that provide a number of health benefits.
Effects of Probiotics
Probiotics are generally considered safe for most people as it helps facilitate food in the gut, influencing the nerves controlling its movement. It is important to focus on what you eat like eating vegetables, whole grains, legumes which are fiber-rich foods that are known as prebiotics that serves as foods to probiotics. Like these mentioned foods, consuming probiotic supplement or probiotic-rich foods like kimchi and yogurt we can ensure that these microbiomes are also healthy and can function very well. Here are the pros and cons of probiotics to our body:
- Inflammation: reduces systemic inflammation
- Blood Cholesterol and Blood Pressure: reduces blood pressure and lowers LDL cholesterol levels
- Depression and Anxiety: reduces symptoms of anxiety and clinical depression
- Immune function: enhance immune system functionalities, reduces the risk of infections
- Skin Health: affects acne, eczema, and other skin disorders.
- Weight loss: assists in weight loss and prevents obesity.
Aside from these positive implications of probiotics, there can be mild and digestive gas or bloating that may happen. In some cases, probiotics might cause infections that need to be treated with antibiotics, especially with people having health conditions which can highly cause unhealthy metabolic activities.
Probiotics have powerful effects on our health and we must understand that these microbiomes also need our help so that our digestive system can function very well, and that is through eating good amounts of fiber, probiotic supplements, and other prebiotic foods. But always keep in mind that when something isn’t right it is best to consult a medical professional. It is actually best to go first to a doctor and seek consultation about your plans so that they can assess your body condition and from there they can provide the next steps that are needed to be done. You can make your own prebiotic and probiotic food but research first on the proper way to do it. If not the best alternatives will be buying yogurt, kimchi, and pickles at the supermarket, or if not buy a probiotics supplement to keep your tummy healthy. Therefore, bacteria are essential to our survival.