What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live cultures and yeast with many benefits for your body and your digestive system. Typically, we consider all germs to cause diseases, but bacteria can be good or bad. Probiotics are helpful bacteria that ensure that your digestive tract is always in a healthy condition.
Probiotics are usually found in supplements as well as food items such as yogurt, or buttermilk. They also come highly recommended by doctors who feel that they can assist with digestive problems. If you have been experiencing issues with your digestive system, probiotics might offer natural relief.
If your gut has been having issues digesting food, the healthy bacteria will help the enzymes to break the food down properly. As such, you will be able to digest more kinds of food properly, and there will be no complications or significant issues in your digestive tract.
Probiotics are also known to replace good bacteria inside your body when you lose them. For instance, when you take antibiotics, most of the good bacteria in your system might disappear, and the probiotics will act as a suitable replacement.
There are three main types of probiotics:
- Lactobacillus: Lactobacillus is a common type of probiotic found in fermented foods and yogurt. It helps your body systems combat diarrhea and while digesting lactose.
- Bifidobacterium: Usually found in dairy products, they can help your gut while taking antibiotics.
- Saccharomyces bouldardii: A yeast found in the probiotics can help your body deal with various digestive problems.
How can probiotics help acid reflux?
Heartburn and acid reflux symptoms are irritations of your digestive system that usually results in discomfort and pain. Probiotics are friendly bacteria and may help your body to maintain a healthy balance between the good and the harmful bacteria in your digestive system. They will help with the balance of acids in your digestive system hence easing your heartburn and acid reflux.
When you have eaten a lot of food, it will fill your stomach to the brim. Any excess food will be pushed up close to the esophagus. As it ferments, the acid begins to bubble up, thus causing heartburn. Spicy foods and coffee are known to cause heartburn when combined with foods with high acidic contents.
Probiotics are known to possess characteristics that will help in alleviating acid reflux. They ensure that your body has a balance of gut bacteria.
The probiotics will also interact with the epithelial cells on the stomach lining to manage the secretion of proteins that might cause heartburn.
The best probiotics that can help with acid reflux are those that contain Lactobacillus strains.
Saccharomyces boulardii is also known to reduce any side effects that you might be feeling, thus reducing the risk of diarrhea. You can also take an antiacid together with the probiotic to ensure that your acid reflux is better addressed.
Other benefits of probiotics
- Mental health: Probiotic supplements have been known to improve mental health conditions as well as your mood. You can treat any issues with depression, anxiety, autism, memory, and obsessive-compulsive disorder with supplements of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus for several months. Your depression levels will be significantly reduced, and the levels of insulin will be reduced.
- Allergies: Specific probiotic strains can also reduce the severity of allergies and eczema. Mothers who took probiotics during pregnancy had children at a lower risk of developing eczema in early life. People who have milk allergy can also use probiotics to reduce the inflammatory responses to dairy products and ensures that they can safely consume these products. However, make sure you consult with an allergologist before consuming probiotics with milk allergy, as they might cause symptoms, too.
- Digestive disorders: You can also treat digestive disorders with probiotics, and this has been known to work well for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Necrotizing enterocolitis and ulcerative colitis can also be managed using the right probiotics.
- Immune system: Your immune system can also be boosted by probiotics when they inhibit the development and growth of harmful bacteria in your gut.
When not to take probiotics?
Even though probiotics are generally safe to use, they are not recommended in certain cases as they can have unwanted side effects:
Probiotics are not recommended to people with severe illnesses or immune systems that have been compromised.
There has been evidence of these people experiencing fungal and bacterial infections due to using probiotics. If you are severely immunosuppressed, you should not be taking probiotics.
When suffering from such conditions, you should not take any probiotics without first discussing them with your doctor. Probiotics are live cultures and can be harmful to the patient with a fragile immune system and are more sensitive to bacteria. These people’s reactions to the probiotics are severe and can lead to further complications.