Most people are generally aware of the positive benefits that come with the use of probiotics. Benefits such as improving the immune system, reducing UI infections and streamlining digestive functions are just a few of the most noteworthy. Both good and bad bugs are always in our gut, and regardless of how clean you may be, our bodies provide a warm home for high amounts of bacteria.
On average, there are more than 400 types of bacteria in our digestive system. So it makes sense that millions of people look to probiotic supplements to help maintain a healthy gut. If you are new to probiotics, you're probably interested in discovering what they do inside your body and how they work to keep you healthy. To better understand the science of how probiotics work let’s take a look at the basics of gut health.
Understanding Your Gut Health
Your GI tract is a complex ecosystem that has both good and bad germs that deserves a lot more attention than it usually receives. Did you know that almost 70% of your immune system is housed in your gut? That’s right, your GI tract spends almost all of its time combating mold and viruses in your body.
The giant colonies of microflora in your gut are made up of 15% bad germs and 85% good germs. When these are balanced, your immune system works well and you tend to be healthy and energized.
This balance can be precarious and can be upset by any number of natural and unnatural factors such as poor diet, stress, antibiotics, illness and so on. When the balance is disrupted, it can cause you to become unwell. In most cases, an imbalance can be observed when you face symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea. If the imbalance is extreme, scientists suggest that your mental health can even become influenced causing anxiety, depression, brain fog, and general malaise.
Anytime there is an imbalance in the GI tract, it must be restored to bring the ratio of good versus bad bacteria back to healthy levels. The best way is via natural methods, which is where probiotics come into play. These amazing bacteria are basically the superheroes your body needs to return your gut to its proper health. Probiotics can be consumed as a supplement, or you can obtain them from various foods such as kefir or buttermilk.
Once they get inside your gut, they go to work eliminating and reducing the proliferation of excessive bad bacteria. Probiotic supplements provide millions of CFU cultures that will make a home in your GI tract when taken on a regular basis. By allowing these good bacteria to nest in your gut, you are giving your body the tools it needs to fight the bad guys.
How Probiotics Work
In short, there are many strains of probiotics which can be used to target different areas of the body, anywhere from yeast to regular bacteria. Probiotics work by creating a level of homeostasis in your gut and in your body.
They initially have to make a dangerous journey to get to your gut before they can start working to balance your GI tract. They must travel through your stomach, which is a naturally acidic environment that is designed to destroy bacteria, then they will enter your GI tract where their cells will be released to join the microbiome. Now, that certainly explains how they get to work, but not HOW they work right? Let’s delve a bit further.
Probiotics are innately able to create lactic acid once they arrive in your gut. Lactic acid is one of the best weapons against the overspread of bad bacteria. When taken on a strict regimen, over time, your probiotics will increase the amount of lactic acid in your gut, therefore decreasing the number of toxic bacteria that is having a negative effect on your health. The health benefits of probiotics can be seen over time, most people have noticeable results after a week of following a strict probiotics regimen.
There is a lot of attention paid to the effects probiotics have on people who suffer from imbalances that are caused by the consumption of antibiotics. Many studies show that probiotics can reduce the severity and duration of gut maladies such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and even ulcerative colitis and so much more. Bad bacteria can cause so many issues in other parts of the body, not just your gut, probiotics work by reducing the number of bad bacteria which gives your immune system a chance to work more efficiently.
Should I Take Probiotics?
There is any number of reasons a person may choose to start on a probiotics regimen. Some may be due to wanting to change over to a healthier lifestyle while others may choose to start taking them to help manage symptoms of their illness. If you are planning to take a course of antibiotics, it’s also a good idea to preempt that with a probiotics regimen since antibiotics in most cases kill ALL bacteria, not only bad bacteria.
Probiotics, when taken on a regular basis, help keep your gut healthy by maintaining the balance of good and bad bacteria in your GI tract. It’s always a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional when planning a new supplement regime since not all probiotics supplements are the same, or have the same effects.