Probiotics – Benefits & How to Choose

Probiotics are the collective name for a group of microorganisms, and generally refer to bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial to humans. These bacteria or yeasts are similar to microorganisms naturally present in the human body (mainly in the digestive tract). Probiotics have now become very popular supplements and food additives.

Why use probiotics?

Probiotics help maintain the balance of the intestinal flora, inhibit harmful bacteria, and promote immune kinetic energy. Evidence has shown that probiotics are useful in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, diarrheal diseases, colitis (including ulcerative colitis), acne, and infantile eczema, and can prevent diarrhea caused by antibiotics to some extent.

In addition, the relationship between probiotics and gastric ulcers (Helicobacter pylori related), some infections (urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections, sinusitis, etc.), dental infections, allergies, liver diseases are also being studied. The safety and effectiveness of probiotics is also another focus of the study.

What are the types of probiotics?

There are many types of probiotics.
  • Lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus)
  • Bifidobacteria (eg, Bifidobacterium bifidum)
  • Some yeasts (eg, Saccharomyces cerevisiae)

The efficacy of different probiotics may not be exactly the same. According to different physical conditions people can choose to use a certain type ideally with the advice from doctors.

Prebiotic is a dietary supplement that cannot be digested, but it can help the body build an environment that promotes the growth of probiotics.

What is the dose of probiotics?

A variety of probiotics don’t share the same dose. Some doses of probiotics are given in units of live bacteria. For example, the unit dose of Lactobacillus acidophilus is between 1 billion and 10 billion viable bacteria, and some are unit doses of colony forming units (CFU). The probiotics have different recommended doses.
Is there a risk of taking probiotics?

General adverse reactions
Adverse reactions to probiotics are rare and occasionally cause flatulence, which can generally be gradually adapted, or the dose can be appropriately reduced.

Drug interactions
If you need to use antibiotics or immunosuppressive agents for certain physical conditions, you need to use probiotics under the guidance of a doctor to avoid affecting the therapeutic effect of the drug due to interaction.

Special risk
Patients with intestinal damage, AIDS, tumors, or immunocompromised patients must not take probiotics when there is overgrowth of small intestinal bacteria.
Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium are the most common probiotic strains on the market.
How to choose and use probiotics?

Probiotics can be purchased as food supplements like vitamins and herbs without a prescription. There are many options on the market, different brands, different ingredients and different dosage forms.

☆ First choose a brand you trust, which may mean quality assurance
☆ Next read the tag to get useful information

Take the recommended dose on the label.

Follow the storage advcie on the label, some may need refrigeration.

Other ingredients:
The label tells if the formula contains ingredients that may cause allergy, such as milk, beans, etc.
Effective date:
The strain content may gradually decay over time. Do not choose products that are out of date or near shelf life.
Probiotics cannot be used as a supplement to replace medical treatment for a certain disease. Therefore, you must not give up necessary medical treatment due to the use of probiotics.

It takes a certain period of time, such as 2-3 weeks to one month, for the probiotics to take effect. If there’s no effect after taking for a period of time, please consider to change into another specie.

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