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What Are Probiotics & Why Do We Need Them?

Posted by Dr. Donna Restivo on May 11, 2019 8:39:00 AM

In Health Tips, digestion

 

If you keep up with health trends, then you have likely heard a lot of fuss about probiotics over the past few years. The recent burst of probiotic news is due to the many studies that link the balance or imbalance of digestive system bacteria with a person’s overall health. Probiotics are the live microorganisms that can be ingested through fermented foods or supplements and if balanced correctly, can promote some major health benefits. While we typically think of bacteria as germs, probiotics are considered “good” and necessary for your gut health to thrive.

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So, how exactly do these little micros work? 

Believe it or not, there is a whole world of calculated activity going on in your gut every second of the day, and probiotics are the main workers making it happen. Also known as gut flora or microbiota, probiotics include yeasts, viruses, and most commonly bacteria. Your gut contains hundreds of different types of microorganisms, however; most of it is actually found in your colon, which is the end of your digestive tract. 

Some scientists believe that gut flora’s metabolic activity works just as hard as an organ, and therefore; it is often referred to as the “forgotten organ.” Not only does the gut flora create vitamins K and some of the B vitamins, it also transforms fibers into short-chain fats such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate, which play a role in many metabolic responsibilities. In the process, your gut wall is strengthened, and your immune system is stimulated, which serves as a barricade for unwanted substances that try to enter your body, ultimately provoking an immune response. 

The good news is that for the most part, you have control over the balance of the gut flora as it is highly sensitive to your diet. The purpose of taking probiotics is to better the balance in your gut and make sure that it is functioning properly so the rest of your body can do its job. 

There are many health perks associated with adding a probiotic to your diet, both temporarily and permanently. If you are on an anti-biotic, it is essential to take a probiotic to make up for the bacteria that the med is working hard to kill off. Antibiotics don’t just put a stop to bad bacteria, they put a stop to good, essential bacteria as well. When the antibiotics kill the natural bacteria, the gut balance shifts, allowing for harmful bacteria to thrive, putting your health and comfort in jeopardy. 

 


 

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