What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are called “the good” microorganisms because they benefit the body, specifically the digestive system. Probiotics, available in some foods and dietary supplements, are similar to probiotics that exist naturally in your gut.
What do probiotics do? how are they helpful?
The body does not need the addition of food and supplements that contain probiotics to be healthy. However, food and supplements that contain probiotics assist the job of the “good” bacteria already present in your gut. Probiotics may help keep you healthy by:
- decreasing the number of “bad” bacteria in your gut that can cause infections or inflammation
- replacing the body’s “good” bacteria (replacing the “good” bacteria that have been lost when taking antibiotics, for example)
- restoring the body’s “good” versus “bad” bacterial balance, which then helps to keep your body functioning properly
What are some examples of probiotics?
- Probiotics that are naturally found in your intestines include: Saccharomyces boulardii (a yeast) and bacteria in the Lactobacillus and Bifobacterium families of microorganisms. (Outside of the body, Lactobacillus acidophilus is the probiotic that is found in some yogurts.)
- Foods that contain probiotics include: some juices and soy drinks, fermented and unfermented milk, buttermilk, some soft cheeses, miso, tempeh, kefir, kim chi, sauerkraut, and many pickles. As said, probably the most well known food product that contains probiotics is yogurt
- Supplements: dietary probiotic supplements — which are available in capsules, tablets, powders and liquid extracts — each contain a specific type of probiotic. These products are available at health food and natural food stores, vitamin shops, and other stores. As an example, one commonly used supplement is acidophilus, which is available from several supplement manufacturers.