Probiotics 101: A Simple Beginner's Guide
There are dozens of different probiotic bacteria that are good for us. The two common groups are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
The complex mix of gut bacteria inside us is called gut flora or microbiota, and it contains hundreds of different types of microorganisms, including yeast and viruses.
Our gut bacteria, or gut flora has so much metabolic activity that it is referred to as the forgotten organ. The functions it performs include manufacturing of Vitamin K and Vitamin B, turning fibers into short-chain fats, strengthening of our gut wall and improving the immune system.
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Most of our gut is filled with harmless bacteria.
Probiotics are a type of ‘good’ bacteria along with some living microorganisms which provide us with health benefits when eaten as supplements or as food prepared from bacterial fermentation like yogurt and kimchi. In fact, the right gut bacteria has numerous health benefits like weight control, stomach health, immunity, healthy skin and reduced risk of many diseases.
An unbalanced gut flora, which happens when our diet is sub-optimal leads to numerous diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and chronic depression.
When people take antibiotics, they experience a lot of problems like diarrhea, as the natural bacteria in our guts has been eradicated due to the use of antibiotics.
Our digestive health has been linked to our gut bacteria and probiotic supplement can help many antibiotic-associated ailments. This includes the infamous irritable bowel syndrome(IBS), gas, bloating, constipation, and inflammatory bowel diseases. Probiotics helps in many Helicobacter pylori infections, assisting the body fight stomach cancer and ulcers.
Probiotics are generally well tolerated in our bodies and are safe for most people.
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