Probiotics are "live microorganisms that, when consumed in sufficient quantities, have health benefits for humans". Probiotics are not only found in dietary supplements, but can also be ingested naturally. In this article we would like to tell you more about probiotics. We'll talk about the different types of probiotics, the health benefits you can expect from them, the science behind them, and we'll share tips on how to choose the best probiotics. Have you ever thought about whether probiotics are right for you? Let's get started!
I. Types of Probiotics
Probiotics are living microorganisms that can have a positive effect on health. Probiotics are a dietary supplement and can help support the immune system and overall digestive health. They can be presented as strains or cultures, and in capsule , tablet , powder , or liquid form.
Depending on the type of microorganism and the health benefits it provides, probiotics are classified into different types. The most common types of probiotics are
- Lactobacilli: These probiotics are the most common as they support the digestive system.
- Bifidobacteria: These probiotics can help balance the gut flora to support healthy digestion and boost the immune system .
- Yeast Extracts: These probiotics may help regulate the immune system, support gastrointestinal health, and facilitate the absorption of nutrients.
- Bacteriophages: These probiotics can support the digestive system by keeping the bacterial population responsible for poor digestion and gut health in check.
lactic acid bacteria
Lactic acid bacteria, also known as lactobacilli, are among the most commonly used bacteria in probiotic products. The name derives from the bacteria's ability to produce lactic acid from sugars such as lactose through fermentation. Lactobacilli are considered potential probiotic bacteria as they have some well-known health-promoting properties.
There are many different types of lactic acid bacteria, but the most commonly used as probiotic supplements are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus reuteri.
Health benefits of lactic acid bacteria
There are a number of health benefits associated with ingesting lactic acid bacteria. This includes
- Improvement of the digestive tract: Lactic acid bacteria help to maintain a healthy intestinal flora by promoting healthy bacterial collectives (microbiota) in the digestive tract. They can also support healthy digestion and reduce unwanted bacteria in the gut. According to the European Food Safety Authority, it has been scientifically proven that regular intake of strains of bacteria such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium can reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and diarrhea.
- Immune System Support: Lactic acid bacteria can also support the immune system by releasing anti-inflammatory messengers and protecting the body from harmful bacteria.
Bifidobacteria are one of the most common types of probiotics in the human diet. Bifidobacteria are a group of bacteria that are normally found in the human gut and perform useful functions there. They are an important part of the gut microbial ecosystem and are commonly used as probiotics in dietary supplements and in many different types of food.
Bifidobacteria are beneficial bacteria that can have a number of beneficial health effects. They help protect the body from harmful bacteria, improve digestion and absorption of nutrients, and remove harmful chemicals from the body.
Some studies have shown that consuming bifidobacteria as probiotics can benefit health. The effect on immunity, digestion and ability to absorb nutrients is believed to depend on the type of bacteria ingested with food.
The European Health Agency recognizes some possible health-promoting properties of bifidobacteria when taken as a dietary supplement. These include reducing inflammation, boosting immunity, aiding digestion, and improving overall well-being.
Yeasts are a group of protozoa that are widespread in nature and play an important role in the production of processed foods, beer, wine and bread. They can also be used as single cultures, especially as probiotics.
Yeasts are unique organisms that help maintain a healthy bacterial flora in the gut. They can help maintain and support the natural balance of bacteria in the gut by filtering out unwanted bacteria while producing essential nutrients and vitamins. They can also relieve digestive problems like bloating and diarrhea.
Yeasts are used as probiotics because they can nourish and strengthen the human intestinal flora. Some yeasts can stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut and boost the immune system. Also, yeast can help lower cholesterol , stabilize blood sugar levels, and increase digestion speed.
There are several types of yeast used as probiotics including Saccharomyces boulardii, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Rhodotorula glutinis and Lactobacillus acidophilus. Each type has its own specific benefits, so it's important to choose the right type for your needs. Yeast is generally safe to use, but can cause side effects such as digestive problems, headaches, or allergic reactions in some people.
Other types of probiotics
In addition to the probiotics mentioned above, there are other types that may also be beneficial to health. These range from probiotics, which can help with certain diseases, to probiotics, which can help maintain a healthy immune system and gut flora.
For certain diseases:
Some types of probiotics may help with certain conditions, such as: B. at
- Antibiotic-related intestinal inflammation
- irritable bowel syndrome
- upper respiratory infections
- Lower respiratory tract infections
- Infectious gastroenteritis
- sore throat
- treatment of acne
- treatment of cancer
For immune function:
Probiotics can also help support and strengthen the immune system. Probiotics that may be beneficial for immune function include
- Bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Bacteria such as Bifidobacterium Longum
- Bacteria such as Lactobacillus Plantarum
- Bacteria such as Saccharomyces Boulardii
- Bacteria such as Bacillus Coagulans
For the intestinal flora:
Probiotics can support the body to maintain a healthy intestinal flora. The following probiotics can support the intestinal flora:
- Lactobacillus Rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus Plantarum
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus
II. Health Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics can provide a number of health benefits. Below are some benefits recognized by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
- Reducing the risk of allergic diseases: Certain probiotic microorganisms such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12 and Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-5 have been recognized to reduce the risk of allergic diseases.
- Improvement of digestive problems: Probiotic microorganisms can help with digestive disorders, especially irritable bowel syndrome, travelers' diarrhea, antibiotic indigestion and lactose intolerance.
- Improving the immune system: Probiotics can help improve immune function by improving the function of the gut cells, which protect the body from harmful bacteria and viruses.
- Improving Mood: Studies have shown that probiotics can improve brain function and mental health, especially in people with anxiety and depression.
- Reducing the risk of heart disease: Probiotics may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and improving blood vessel function.
Supporting healthy digestion
Probiotics are a variety of beneficial microorganisms and other substances that can support digestive health. They are commonly used as natural remedies or dietary supplements to improve digestion and promote well-being.
There are many different types of probiotics that can support healthy digestion. Here are some of the most well-known probiotics that are important for healthy digestion:
- Lactobacillus: This probiotic is a group of bacteria found in dairy products. It helps regulate digestion by balancing gut flora and improving nutrient absorption.
- Bifidobacteria: These bacteria help maintain the balance of microorganisms in the gut and improve digestion. They can also help improve well-being.
- Saccharomyces boulardii: This probiotic is a yeast that may promote gut health . It can help keep harmful bacteria at bay, and it can also help improve the absorption of nutrients from food.
- Streptococcus thermophilus: This bacterium is found in fermented milk products and helps regulate digestion and boost the body's immune functions. It can also help regulate blood sugar levels.
Strengthening of the immune system
Probiotics are living microorganisms that help the body stay healthy. They are also referred to as beneficial bacteria that occur naturally in our bodies to some extent. However, they can also be taken as dietary supplements in the form of capsules, powders or drinks.
Many studies indicate that probiotics can boost the immune system by playing important roles in fighting disease and infection, especially when the immune system is compromised.
There are a number of mechanisms by which probiotics can boost the immune system:
- Regulating the Immune Response: Probiotics are able to regulate the body's immune response to healthy levels. This means that they can increase the production of immune cells and reduce inflammatory processes in the body.
- Uptake of Antibodies: Probiotic bacteria can also take up antibodies, which then bind to various components of the immune system, thereby supporting immune function.
- Production of antibodies: Some probiotics can also promote the production or activation of important immune substances needed to fight infection.
- Elimination of toxins: Probiotic bacteria can also eliminate toxins that disrupt immune function and thus weaken the immune system.
lowering cholesterol levels
Probiotics are microbial foods, meaning they are made up of living microorganisms that are normally found in our digestive tract. Among other things, they help to lower cholesterol levels. It should be noted that the effect of probiotics on cholesterol levels depends on the type of microorganism and the amount of food consumed.
Research suggests that consuming probiotics can help lower cholesterol levels because they decrease the breakdown and absorption of fats. Some studies have also shown that regular intake of probiotics not only lowers LDL cholesterol levels but also increases HDL cholesterol levels.
There is also evidence that probiotics regulate the acidity in the gut and thereby affect cholesterol metabolism. Probiotic bacteria produce various bioactive substances such as B. Educational mediators that lower LDL cholesterol levels by preventing the backflow of cholesterol from the gut wall into the gut and into the bloodstream.
Importantly, taking probiotics only leads to a reduction in cholesterol levels when used regularly. In order to achieve the desired effect, the probiotic must be taken over a longer period of time.
Treatment of diarrhea and constipation
Probiotics can help treat diarrhea and constipation in a number of ways. This is probably one of the main reasons they are available in a variety of preparations these days. The most well-known examples include yoghurt, sauerkraut and fermented milk products.
Probiotics are used in some cases to treat diarrhea and constipation. First, they can help the body fight bacterial infections that can cause diarrhea or constipation. Probiotics can also help improve immune system function, thereby reducing the risk of infection.
In addition, probiotics can help to support the intestinal lining and improve the absorption of nutrients. Some studies indicate that certain probiotics can relieve gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
Research on probiotics is still limited and more studies are needed to fully assess the effects of probiotics on diarrhea and constipation.
However, there are many probiotic supplements that are available as over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. However, the use of such preparations should be discussed with the doctor or pharmacist before taking them.
Alleviating the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
Probiotics can help patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to relieve their symptoms. Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic disease that is associated with typical symptoms and health restrictions. People with IBS often experience symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, indigestion and uncomfortable abdominal pain.
Probiotics provide live microorganisms that enter the gut and balance the gut flora. This can restore the balance of the microbiota and regulate digestion.
There are many different types of probiotics, and their effectiveness varies from person to person. Some of the most commonly used probiotics to treat IBS are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium infantis, and Saccharomyces boulardii.
In some cases, probiotics can help IBS sufferers by restoring the balance of the gut microbiome and relieving symptoms like diarrhea. People with IBS may also benefit from a combination of probiotics and prebiotics, as probiotics nourish gut bacteria and promote gut health .
Studies have shown that a combination of probiotics and prebiotics, coupled with a healthy diet, can significantly reduce symptoms in IBS sufferers. In some cases, probiotics can also help reduce the need for medication to relieve symptoms.
Alleviation of allergic diseases
Probiotics play an important role in relieving certain allergic conditions. They can be a natural and safe adjunct to the drug treatment of many allergic conditions.
Probiotics are living microorganisms that we consume for our health. They help regulate the balance in our gut and boost our immune system. According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the anti-inflammatory effects of probiotics can help reduce the risk of certain allergic diseases.
Some studies have shown that certain probiotics may help relieve or reduce the symptoms of certain allergic conditions. The most important results are listed here:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG: According to EFSA, regular intake of this probiotic can help reduce the risk of atopic dermatitis in infants and young children.
- Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS): A study has shown that regular intake of this probiotic can help reduce the severity of symptoms in children with atopic dermatitis.
- Lactobacillus paracasei ssp. paracasei (Lpp): A study has shown that regular intake of this probiotic in adults with eczema can help reduce the severity of symptoms.
However, more research is needed to examine the precise benefits of probiotics in treating certain allergic conditions. If you have an allergic condition, you should always consult your doctor before taking probiotics.
prevent urinary tract infections
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common lower urinary tract disease caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses. It can lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as frequent urination, stabbing pain or burning, and blood in the urine. UTIs occur primarily in women and can be made worse by poor hygiene, certain medications, or a weakened immune system.
Some studies suggest that regular intake of certain probiotics can prevent UTIs. Probiotics are live bacteria that can help the body stay healthy. They can be taken as dietary supplements in tablet, capsule, powder or liquid form.
It is believed that taking certain probiotics can prevent UTIs by maintaining the balance of bacteria in the urogenital lining. Some groups of probiotic bacteria can also form a thick layer of mucus that reduces urine flow, thereby preventing infection.
It is believed that certain probiotics, particularly those from the Lactobacillus genus, may reduce the risk of UTIs. Lactobacillus strains are able to crowd out harmful bacteria and support immune function, which can contribute to a lower rate of infection. However, it is important to always consult a doctor before taking any probiotic to make sure it is safe.
III How to take probiotics
Probiotic preparations can be taken in various dosage forms. These include liquid, semi-solid and solid formulations, but also capsules, tablets and powders. Each form offers different benefits to consider.
- Easy to take and suitable for children
- Does not need to be chewed or swallowed
- Can be mixed with smoothies or juices
- Can be dissolved in a glass of water
- Can also be used to make medicines
- Can be taken in capsule, tablet or powder form.
- Tablets and capsules can be crushed if you have difficulty swallowing
- Powders can be mixed with liquids or food
- Capsules and tablets are better protected from harmful germs in the environment.
When choosing a probiotic, it is important that you choose the form that is most convenient for you to take. Follow the manufacturer's instructions when taking it.
Natural sources of probiotics
Probiotics are a group of living microorganisms that are generally considered beneficial to health. They are commonly found in food and can have a beneficial effect on the body when added to a healthy diet. In this article, we focus on natural sources of probiotics.
Yogurt is probably the most commonly consumed source of probiotics. These are usually dairy products that have been fermented with a specific probiotic culture. These cultures include Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum. Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics and is quick and easy to prepare.
Sourdough bread is another popular way to get probiotic bacteria into the body. Probiotic bacteria are usually added to the dough to allow them to multiply during fermentation. Sourdough breads are high in probiotics, B vitamins, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients.
Another important probiotic food is kefir. Kefir is a fermented milk that contains a large number of probiotic bacteria and tastes slightly sweet. It can be used as a drink or as an ingredient in smoothies and other recipes.
Fermented vegetables are also a good source of probiotics. These include sauerkraut, kimchi, radishes, and other fermented vegetables. These vegetables are high in probiotics, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help the body stay healthy.
In summary, there are a number of natural sources of probiotics that can contribute to a healthy diet. Yogurt, sourdough bread, kefir, and fermented vegetables are excellent sources of probiotics, which can have health benefits.
Probiotic Dietary Supplements
Probiotic food supplements are a popular way to get valuable microorganisms from the group of bacteria that have a positive effect on health. These dietary supplements are available in different forms: tablets, capsules, powders or liquids.
Probiotic supplements contain microorganisms normally found in the human digestive tract such as: B. bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. These microorganisms can support the body in various ways, e.g. B. by promoting intestinal health .
Probiotic supplements are often used to improve gut health . They can support gut health by restoring the body's microbiota, regulating gut flora, and promoting digestion. Eating a balanced diet is still the best way to support a healthy digestive system, but probiotic supplements can be a good addition.
In Europe, some probiotic food supplements with the following health claims are authorized under the EU Health Claims Directive:
- They can promote intestinal health
- They can help improve carbohydrate metabolism.
- They can help lower cholesterol levels.
- They can support the immune system.
- They can help improve well-being.
- They can help regulate digestion.
Probiotic yoghurts and drinks
Probiotic yogurts and drinks are a tasty and healthy way to boost well-being. Probiotic supplements can be taken in a variety of forms such as: B. as yoghurt or drinks, which are available in many grocery stores.
The main benefit of probiotic yogurts and drinks is their ability to support digestion and improve digestive health. Regular consumption of probiotic yogurts and beverages can help relieve intestinal discomfort and other digestive problems. The reason for this is that the necessary probiotics are included in the products. There are different types of probiotic yogurts and drinks that contain different probiotics, but the most commonly used probiotics are lactobacilli, bifidobacteria and enterococci.
In addition, regular consumption of probiotic yogurts and drinks can also help boost the immune system by increasing the number of healthy bacteria in the gut. In addition, the following effects can be achieved by consuming probiotic yoghurts and drinks:
- reducing allergies
- Reducing the number of pathogens
- Reducing the risk of infection
- improve digestion
- enhancing immunity
Dosage of probiotics
The dosage of probiotics depends on various factors. The amount of probiotics a person needs depends on, for example, their age, medical condition, diet and level of physical activity. Some probiotics are available in individual packs or capsules, others in a complex variety of products.
To find out how much probiotics you need, you should consult your doctor. He can help you put together a program that meets your specific needs. Some things to consider are
- your age and your state of health. Elderly people and those with certain health conditions may need a higher dosage than younger people.
- your eating habits. If you eat a healthy diet, you may need a lower dosage. On the other hand, if you eat an unbalanced diet, your body may need a higher dosage.
- your activity. If you exercise regularly you may need a higher dosage than if you exercise less.
- type of probiotic. Different probiotics require different dosages. Therefore, it is important that you educate yourself on the dosage requirements of the probiotic you are using.
Side effects of probiotics
There are some side effects associated with taking probiotics. However, most are mild, short-lived, and easily treated. The most common side effects of probiotics are gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, diarrhea, constipation and vomiting.
These gastrointestinal complaints tend to be more pronounced in beginners or in those with sensitive gastrointestinal tracts. In some cases, taking probiotics can cause allergic reactions. For some people, taking probiotics can cause headaches, fatigue, fever, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.
Although most side effects of probiotics are mild and temporary, people who are allergic to certain strains of probiotics should avoid taking them. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction to probiotics, you should stop taking them immediately and see a doctor.
Clinical studies have also looked at possible side effects of probiotics in people with certain medical conditions. In some cases, side effects have been associated with taking probiotics.
People with the following medical conditions should take extra care when taking probiotics: immunosuppression, severe infections, severe gastrointestinal disease, kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, and severe allergies. If you suffer from any of these diseases, consult your doctor before taking probiotics.
IV. Scientific research on probiotics
Probiotics are an increasingly popular topic in nutritional science. Below are some of the most well-known scientific studies on probiotics.
Health effects of probiotics on the gastrointestinal tract
One of the most well-known studies on probiotics was conducted in 2007 by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She studied the effects of probiotic supplementation on the gastrointestinal tract. The results showed that taking probiotics led to improvements in gastrointestinal health.
Another study published in 2019 looked at the effects of probiotics on gastrointestinal immunity. The results showed that taking probiotics resulted in improved immunity, particularly in those with compromised immune systems.
Effects of probiotics on the immune system
A study published in 2018 examined the effects of various probiotics on the immune system. The results showed that taking probiotics led to an improved immune response and an increase in natural killer cells, which improved immunity.
Another 2020 study looked at the effect of probiotics on the inflammatory response of the immune system. The results showed that taking probiotics led to a reduction in the inflammatory response, allowing for improved immune defenses.
V. How to choose the best probiotics?
Choosing the right probiotics can be challenging, but there are a few factors to consider when making a purchase.
- First, it's important to choose a probiotic that contains an adequate amount of live bacterial cultures. The amount depends on the product, so it is important to read the information on the packaging carefully.
- Another factor is the quality of the product. It pays to look out for products that have been backed by independent laboratory testing. So you can be sure that the specified number of bacterial cultures is actually contained in the product.
- The type of culture is also important. It is wise to look for a probiotic that contains multiple cultures that work together to produce a synergistic effect.
- The timing of the addition is also important. Some probiotics need to be taken before a meal to be effective, while others are better absorbed when taken after a meal.
- Another important factor is the price. While it is generally not advisable to go by price alone when it comes to probiotics, it is important to find a product that fits your budget.
When shopping for a probiotic, it's important to consider all of these factors to ensure you're getting a product that will help improve your health.
VI. Probiotics for special needs
Probiotics are particularly useful for certain target groups. Some studies point to the potential benefits of a probiotic diet for people with special needs.
Probiotics can help prevent allergies, and some studies suggest they may be useful in treating allergies. A study of infants found that those who received a probiotic were less likely to develop allergies than those who did not receive a probiotic. Another study showed that a diet rich in probiotic bacteria can reduce symptoms of atopic dermatitis (also called atopy) in infants.
Probiotics can also help improve gut health . One study showed that people who received a probiotic had a healthy intestinal flora more often than people who did not receive a probiotic. Another study found that a probiotic diet may reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Probiotics can also help boost the immune system. One study found that a probiotic diet can support the immune system and reduce the incidence of colds and flu in infants. Another study showed that people who took probiotics regularly showed a stronger immune response to vaccinations than those who did not take probiotics.
Overall, probiotics have promising health effects. Although research into the actual effects of probiotics is ongoing, certain health benefits can be promoted by consuming probiotic foods and supplements. It is important that you consult your doctor or nutritionist before taking probiotics to determine which probiotics are best for you and your needs. As research continues, it will be possible to further optimize the use of probiotics and thus achieve even more health benefits.
Frequently asked questions about probiotics
What are probiotics?
Microorganisms that colonize the intestine and support its functions.
How do probiotics work?
They regulate the balance of the intestinal flora, promote digestion, strengthen the immune system and can relieve inflammation.
Which foods contain probiotics?
Yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, tempeh, miso, kombucha, and other fermented foods.
Are Probiotics Safe?
They are usually safe for healthy people, but those with compromised immune systems should be careful.
How do I choose the right probiotic?
It should contain the right type of bacterial strains relevant to your specific goal.
How Long Should I Take Probiotics?
The duration of use depends on the goal, but generally they should be taken for several weeks or months to achieve a long-term effect.
Can you take too many probiotics?
Yes, excessive doses can lead to unwanted side effects such as bloating and gastrointestinal problems.
How Do I Properly Store Probiotics?
Store in the refrigerator and check the expiry date.
Are probiotics suitable for everyone?
Generally yes, but people with a compromised immune system or other medical conditions should discuss this with a doctor.
What side effects can probiotics have?
Usually no side effects are to be expected, but excessive consumption can cause flatulence, gastrointestinal problems or allergic reactions.