Gut Flora And Probiotics
Each person’s gut is full of trillions of micro bacteria. These bacteria are known as gut flora. The gut flora helps protect the body against illness, improves the function of internal systems, and impacts mental health. Probiotics are live bacteria that work to create a balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria. Most often found in yogurt and fermented foods, not all probiotics are the same.
What is gut flora?
Gut flora refers to the trillions of microscopic bacteria living in the stomach and digestive tract. There are more than 300 different types. Each person’s bacterial mix is unique and determined by three main factors: the mother’s microbiota, diet, and lifestyle. Gut flora has the most substantial impact on physical and mental well-being, affecting everything from metabolism to the immune system. Gut flora can help fight against sickness or raise the risk. Gut flora can even impact athletic performance and the appearance of an individual’s skin. The best way to improve bacteria in the gut is to eat a healthy well-balanced diet, limit the use of antibiotics, exercise well, and take probiotics.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria that provide numerous health benefits when consumed. Probiotics are incredibly beneficial for the digestive system and work to keep a balance between good and bad bacteria in the body. Probiotics have been proven to promote weight loss by leaving people feeling fuller for more extended periods, burning more calories, and storing less fat. Probiotics also have a wide range of additional benefits such as:
- Treatment for diarrhea
- Lowers LDL cholesterol
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improvement of digestive disorders, such as IBS and Crohn’s disease
- Combat mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and OCD
- Reduction in skin allergies and eczema
Are all probiotics the same?
Not all probiotics are the same, and each will offer a different combination of beneficial bacteria. Probiotics come in two main groups, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Lactobacillus is the most common probiotic and is found in most fermented foods and yogurt. Lactobacillus is suitable for people unable to digest the lactose found in milk. Bifidobacterium is found in most other dairy products and is useful in the treatment of many digestive disorders.
Yogurt is the most common source of probiotics. Some yogurt is pasteurized, which kills the beneficial bacteria, and the remaining live cultures will not survive the stomach acid. Acid-resistant capsules are a popular method that allows the probiotics to be consumed and pass through the stomach acid and into the digestive tract. As the tablets dissolve in the intestine, the beneficial bacteria colonize, and the consumer receives the full benefits.
Selecting the right probiotic
Each person’s microflora is unique. Picking a probiotic will be different for each person. Probiotics alone will not fix gut flora. Combining probiotics with a healthy balance of diet, exercise, and limiting the use of antibiotics will help restore and maintain the balance of microflora in the gut. Probiotics work to balance out the good from the harmful bacteria living in the stomach. Consult a healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more.