The Ultimate Guide To Probiotics And Gut Health (2021)

The bacteria in your body said to outnumber the cells in your body by a ratio of 10 to 1. However, a recent study says the ratio is closer to 1 to 1. (12).

By these estimates, you have between 39 and 300 trillion bacteria living inside you. Whichever is the most accurate estimate, it is certainly a huge number.

Much of those bacteria reside in your gut, and therefore most are fairly harmless. Some are helpful and a small number can cause illness (3Trusted Source).

Numerous health benefits attributed to having the correct gut bacteria, including the following(45):

  • weightloss
  • improved digestion
  • improved immune function
  • healthier skin
  • reduced risk of some diseases

Probiotics, which are a particular type of beneficial bacteria, provide health benefits when ingested.

They often taken as supplements that are supposed to help colonize the gut with good microorganisms.

The health benefits of probiotics discussed in this article.


What are Probiotics?

The Ultimate Guide To Probiotics And Gut Health (2021) What are Probiotics?
Article: The Ultimate Guide To Probiotics And Gut Health (2021)

Live microorganisms probiotics that, when ingested, provide a health benefit (6).

However, the scientific community often disagrees on what the advantages are, also on which strains of bacteria are responsible (7).

Probiotics are mainly bacteria, but some yeasts can also used as probiotics. Viruses, fungi, archaea, and helminths are among the microorganisms being investigated in the stomach (8).

You can get probiotics from supplements, also from foods made by bacterial fermentation.

Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kimchi are all probiotic foods. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are carbohydrates, such as dietary fibers, that help feed the beneficial bacteria already present in your gut (9).

Products that contain both prebiotics and probiotics referred to as symbiotic. Supplements outperformed by symbiotic products, which combine friendly bacteria with specific prebiotics (food for bacteria to eat) (10 Trusted Source).

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria are the most frequent probiotic bacteria. Saccharomyces, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia coli, and Bacillus are some of the more prevalent kinds.

Each genus has its own species, and each species has its own strains. Probiotics recognized on the labels by their specific strain (which includes genus), species, subspecies (if applicable), and a strain code letter and number (11).

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Different probiotics are found to treat different health conditions. Therefore, it is important to choose the right type or types of probiotics.

Some supplements, called broad-spectrum or multi probiotic probiotics, combine different species within the same product.

Although the evidence promising, more research required on the health benefits of probiotics. Some researchers warn of the possible negative effects of the “dark side” of probiotics and involve caution and strict regulation (12, 13).

SUMMARY

Live microorganisms probiotics that improve health when consumed in adequate amounts. There are many different types and you will get them from food or supplements.

Importance of microorganisms for your gut

The gut flora, gut microbiota, or gut microbiome is the complex population of bacteria in your gut (14, 15).

The gut microbiota includes bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea, and helminths, with bacteria making up the vast majority. Your gut is home to a graceful ecosystem of 300 to 500 species of bacteria (16 Trusted Source).

Most of the intestinal flora found in the colon or intestine, which is the last part of the digestive tract.

Surprisingly, your gut flora’s metabolic activities are similar to those of an organ. As a result, some scientists refer to the flora of the intestine as the “lost organ” (17).

Your intestinal flora plays a vital role in your overall health. Vitamins, such as vitamin K and several B vitamins, made there (18).

It also converts fibers into short-chain fats like butyrate, propionate, and acetate, which feed the intestinal wall and perform many metabolic functions (19 Trusted Source, 20 Trusted Source).

These fats also help to strengthen your gut wall and invigorate your system. This will assist prevent harmful compounds from entering your body and triggering an immunological response (21 Trusted Source, 22 Trusted Source).

Your gut flora is particularly sensitive to what you consume, and studies have linked an unbalanced gut flora to a wide range of health problems (23 Trusted Source, 24).

These diseases believed to incorporate obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart conditions, colorectal cancer, Alzheimer’s, and depression (25, 26, 27, 28).

Probiotics and prebiotic fibers can help restore this equilibrium, allowing your “forgotten organ” to perform at its best (29).

SUMMARY

Your intestinal flora made up of many types of microorganisms. These microorganisms perform many important bodily functions.


Impact on Digestive Health

The Ultimate Guide To Probiotics And Gut Health (2021) Impact on Digestive Health
Article: The Ultimate Guide To Probiotics And Gut Health (2021)

The effects of probiotics on intestinal health have been extensively studied (30).

Probiotic supplements have been shown to aid in the treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (31 Trusted Source).

Even after an infection has been cleared, persons who take antibiotics, especially for lengthy periods of time, frequently develop diarrhea.

This is because antibiotics kill many of the natural bacteria in your gut, changing your intestinal balance and allowing harmful bacteria to thrive.

Probiotics can also help fight irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a standard digestive disorder, by reducing gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and other symptoms.

The evidence supporting probiotic supplementation’s usefulness in treating IBS is inconsistent. According to a recent study, seven of the trials found that probiotic supplementation improved IBS symptoms, but four did not (32).

Multi-strain probiotic pills appear to produce the most relief in IBS, especially when used for more than 8 weeks, according to research.

However, there is still a lot that we don’t know regarding probiotic treatment for IBS. The following questions have yet to be answered (33):

  • What symptoms of IBS improve with probiotics?
  • Probiotics, or probiotic blends, are most effective?
  • What does and duration of probiotic treatments are the best?
  • Is there a difference in probiotic therapies for different forms of IBS?

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Early outcomes of probiotic treatment for IBS are promising, according to researchers, but more major trials are needed before healthcare providers can confidently prescribe probiotic treatments for IBS (34).

Some studies also point to the benefits of probiotic supplementation against inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and colitis. Again, the researchers say more research required before the treatment confirmed to be effective (35 Trusted source).

Helicobacter pylori infections, which are one of the primary causes of stomach ulcers and cancer, can also helped by probiotics (36 Trusted Source, 37 Trusted Source, 38 Trusted Source).

If you’re having trouble digesting your food. It’s possible that taking a probiotic pill may be beneficial. However, you should always seek medical advice first.

SUMMARY

Probiotics may also help with a variety of digestive issues, such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea and IBS.


Impact on Weight Loss

The Ultimate Guide To Probiotics And Gut Health (2021) Impact on Weight Loss
Article: The Ultimate Guide To Probiotics And Gut Health (2021)

Some research indicates that obese people have different gut bacteria than lean ones (39 Trusted Source).

Research shows a connection between gut microbes and obesity in both babies and adults. It also shows that microbial changes within the gut are an element in the development of obesity in adulthood (40).

As a result, many specialists believe that gut bacteria play a role in body weight regulation (41 Trusted Source, 42 Trusted Source).

While more research required, some strains of probiotics appear to aid weight loss (43).

The researchers caution against jumping to this conclusion too quickly, stressing that there are still many unknowns.

These unknowns include (44):

  • The probiotic strains that employed
  • The dose and duration of treatment
  • The long-term effects of treatment
  • The intersection of age, gender, health issues, and way of life

In one study, 210 participants with central obesity (extra belly fat) given the probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri regularly. Over the course of 12 weeks, participants dropped an average of 8.5 pounds by focusing on their abdomen fat (45Trusted Source).

When the participants stopped taking the probiotic, they regained abdominal fat within 4 weeks.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium lactis have also been linked to weight loss and obesity prevention, though further research needed (46 Trusted Source).

SUMMARY

Although more research is important, some evidence suggests that certain strains of probiotics can help you lose weight.


The Rise Of Psychobiotics

The Ultimate Guide To Probiotics And Gut Health (2021) The Rise Of Psychobiotics
Article: The Ultimate Guide To Probiotics And Gut Health (2021)

The gut-brain axis is a system that connects the gut and the brain, according to research published in the last decade. This axis connects the body’s central and enteric nerve systems, the latter of which is in charge of digestion (47).

According to some research, some microorganisms in your gut can affect your brain via this axis in both health and disease. These microorganisms belong to a new field known as “psychobiotics” (48, 49, 50).

Psychobiotics have been shown to aid in the treatment of cognitive and neurological illnesses such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, according to research (51).

Much contemporary study focused on what microorganisms are and how they interact with the brain (52 Trusted Source).

Some experts believe that supplementing with specific strains of probiotics, rather than using psychiatric medicines, maybe a better option for some persons dealing with the mental stress, loneliness, and discomfort associated with the present COVID-19 pandemic (53).

SUMMARY

Early research promises that certain gut bacteria called psychobiotics could also be ready to help treat cognitive and neurological disorders, such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.


Other Health Benefits

The Ultimate Guide To Probiotics And Gut Health (2021) Other Health Benefits
Article: The Ultimate Guide To Probiotics And Gut Health (2021)

There are many other benefits of probiotics. They will help you with the following conditions:

  • Inflammation – Probiotics reduce systemic inflammation, the main driver of many diseases (54).
  • Depression and anxiety: The probiotic strains Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum have been shown to reduce symptoms of hysteria and depression in people with depressive disorder (55).
  • Probiotics have been demonstrated to lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood. Even though the study is still contentious (56).
  • Blood Pressure – Probiotics can also cause modest reductions in vital signs (57 Trusted Source).
  • Immune function: Probiotics of various strains can boost immune function, potentially lowering the risk of infections, including those that cause colds. (58Trusted Source59).
  • Skin health: There’s some evidence that probiotics can assist with acne, rosacea, eczema, and other skin conditions (60).
  • Anti-aging. Even though research is scarce. There’s evidence that probiotics can help people live longer by increasing their cells’ ability to reproduce (61).

This is only a small portion of the benefits of probiotics. As a result of continuous study, a wide spectrum of potential health impacts has been identified.

SUMMARY

In addition to their potential weight-loss effects. Probiotics can help with digestion and neurological issues, as well as heart health. Immune function and depression and anxiety symptoms


COVID-19 and Probiotics

In addition to their potential weight-loss effects. Probiotics can help with digestion and neurological issues, as well as heart health. Immune function and depression and anxiety symptoms

Some experts believe that probiotics and a change in diet could aid in the fight against and treatment of a novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection. This sickness has the potential to produce COVID-19. In 2019, what does the term “coronavirus sickness” mean? (62 reputable sources)

COVID-19 is understood to destroy the body’s immune defenses through a “cytokine storm” of excessive inflammatory cytokines. This often believed to be the most important explanation for deteriorating health and even death (63).

Microorganisms have been demonstrated to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. Probiotic supplements may expedite recovery from the coronavirus by preventing or minimizing the “cytokine storm,” according to researchers (64).

COVID-19 carriers have also reported gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and a loss of appetite (65).

Another proposed link between COVID-19 and probiotics involves what’s called the “gut-lung axis.” this often a system of communication and interaction between the gut and lung tissues, which occurs through microorganisms in the human microbiome (67).

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Lung illnesses and infections of the gastrointestinal tract have been linked to microorganism imbalances. Correcting these imbalances, according to researchers, can support optimal lung health. Which could aid in the fight against diseases like SARS-CoV-2 (68, 69 Trusted source).

Other research suggests that probiotic supplementation may promote general antiviral activity to enhance immune, lung, and anti-inflammatory responses that can help clear SARS-CoV-2 infection (70, 71).

All these hypotheses are in the theoretical stage. The researchers say more studies needed to verify them.

According to one study, it’s best to be cautious. implying that not all probiotic strains will have the same impact. It’s debatable if probiotic supplementation can change the gut microbiome’s content enough to counteract COVID-19 (72).

SUMMARY

Some current research proposes that improving the gut microbiome through probiotic supplementation and diet may help treat the SARS-CoV-2 infection that COVID-19 causes. The research preliminary and much more data and clinical trials needed.


Safety and Side Effects

The Ultimate Guide To Probiotics And Gut Health (2021) Safety and Side Effects
Article: The Ultimate Guide To Probiotics And Gut Health (2021)

Probiotics are generally well tolerated and are believed to be safe for many people. However, regulations differ between probiotics, so you need to be careful when choosing a product.

Choosing Probiotics

When faced with the huge selection of probiotics now available, you will be overwhelmed. You’re not alone. selection is often difficult.

Probiotics are commonly sold in the United States as food additives, medications, or nutritional supplements. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees each of these in different ways, the majority of foods and supplements do not need FDA approval before being sold (73).

As a result, some businesses take advantage of the probiotics frenzy to sell pills labeled as probiotics and make claims that aren’t backed up by data (74).

Probiotic regulations vary greatly from country to country. As a result, ordering from other countries via the internet is perilous. Foods, cosmetics, and supplements that controlled are readily available in other countries. Their safety, however, remains unknown.

Finding companies that follow best practices, such as third-party testing, can help you find the best quality supplements.

The best option is to make your choice with your healthcare provider or to invite suggestions. they will be ready to recommend products that they know are safe and effective.

Probiotics Side Effects

When taking a probiotic supplement during the first several days. You will experience digestion-related adverse effects. Gas and slight stomach discomfort are examples. (75).

However, after you adjust, your digestion should start to improve.

In patients who have weakened immune systems. People living with HIV, AIDS, and other diseases are among them. Probiotics have the potential to induce serious illnesses (76).

If you are suffering from a medical ailment. Before using a probiotic supplement, speak with your doctor.

SUMMARY

Probiotic supplements can cause digestive symptoms, which should go away in a couple of days. They will even be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions.


Challenges Facing Researchers

Science has come a long way in the last 20 years toward understanding the role probiotics play in human health and disease. Still, probiotic research is in its infancy and there is much to discover.

Despite widespread studies, researchers are still struggling to identify all the individual microbial species that sleep in your gut. Identifying them is critical to understanding how they work in human health.

For example, researchers in 2019 reported identifying nearly 2,000 previously unknown species of gut bacteria. This was a serious step toward categorizing the microbes that live inside the human gut (77 Trusted Source).

After identifying the microorganisms, the subsequent challenge facing researchers to associate the various species, subspecies, and strains of microbes with their effects on human health, and this where things often complicated (78).

Although thousands of studies have evaluated the health benefits of probiotics for various clinical conditions, the results often contradict each other (79, 80).

One reason for this is often that the methods for processing and analyzing probiotic data are not consistent across the world. This results in conflicting research analyzes of published data (81 Trusted source).

Standardizing probiotic research is challenging because the physical body contains a huge and diverse set of microorganisms, which varies between countries, and even between individuals within the same country.

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Furthermore, the bacterial strains themselves are constantly evolving, as is the health and environment of their human hosts.

Probiotic researchers faced with the task of classifying what could be trillions of ever-changing organisms in varied and evolving environments.

It only the event of computational analysis of the genomes of collective groups of microbes (called metagenomics) in the last 20 years that makes this Herculean task possible the least (82).

Scientists must standardize a mountain of sometimes conflicting evidence from thousands of studies, then translate that evidence into clear recommendations for the therapeutic use of probiotics (83 Trusted source).

SUMMARY

Researchers challenged to identify the entire microbiota within the vast and changing microbiome of the human gut. They also succeeded in establishing a system to standardize research results to develop clear therapeutic recommendations for the use of probiotics.


The Bottom Line

The Ultimate Guide To Probiotics And Gut Health (2021) The Bottom Line
Article: The Ultimate Guide To Probiotics And Gut Health (2021)

Maintaining a healthy gut is all about taking a probiotic supplement.

Daily diet and exercise are equally important, as many lifestyle factors affect gut bacteria.

However, probiotic supplements can offer a wide range of benefits with few side effects. As such, if you’re curious about improving your gut health, it might be worth a try.

Make sure you speak with your healthcare provider first to make sure you are testing the right strains in the right amounts and avoiding side effects.

You may be wondering if a selected condition you have can benefit from probiotics. If so, you may want to refer to the Planet Gastroenterology Organization Global Guidelines. List probiotics, conditions, and recommended dosages.

Caution generally advised when starting probiotics. be sure to use a reputable product, start slowly, and get good advice from a trusted healthcare professional.


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