What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are the new term in self-treatment and Do-it-Yourself Health. They are talked about daily on Health talk shows, Instagram posts, internet news articles, and much more. But what are Probiotics?

Probiotics are essentially live bacteria, yeast, and more that are designed in a way to be beneficial for your body.

To better understand Probiotics – it is essential to note that not all bacteria are bad. Depending on the type and location of a bacteria – they can sometimes be divided into “Good” and “Bad” categories. If you lose “Good” bacteria, say through an infection, sickness, antibiotics, and other sources, then “Bad” bacteria can replace the “Good” bacteria.

The goal of Probiotics is to balance the “Good” back into your system. In order to do this, they replace bacteria in the form of a Probiotic. Supplements and yogurt are good examples of bacteria replacement processes.

The name of Probiotics is intended as the opposite of Antibiotics.

Most Probiotics come from 2 Groups

1.)  Lactobacillus

2.)  Bifidobacterium

Let’s take a look at Lactobacillus

This is the most common and well known Probiotic. It has many different benefits. This is found in Yogurt and other fermented foods. There are several different strains and the goal is to help those with problems digesting Lactose. Lactose is a sugar in milk. One of the main symptoms treated with this group is Diarrhea.

Let’s take a look at Bifidobacterium

This type can be found in some types of Dairy products. This helps symptoms related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS. This is a group of bacteria that usually lives in your intestines. As a probiotic – they are grown outside the body and can be taken as needed. Symptoms for treatment often include Diarrhea, Skin issues, Yeast Infection, lung conditions, high cholesterol, and many more.

What About Saccharomyces boulardii?

This is a yeast that is often used as a Probiotic. It isn’t typically considered in the top 2 groups. But it can be useful. It is not a bacteria but rather a yeast. This is a tropical species of yeast. It has the purpose of introducing the yeast into the large and small intestines. It is also used for symptoms of Diarrhea.

Can Probiotics be used during Pregnancy?

Often there is not enough reliable data to taking Probiotics when Pregnant or Breast-Feeding. It is often recommended to stay on the safe side and avoid use.

How are Probiotics Regulated in the United States?

The process of regulation is complex and difficult to understand. When you add in supplements and such, the process is even harder. If the probiotic is considered a drug for market, medicine, or other – there might be some oversight from the FDA. However, if it is termed as a dietary supplement – often the FDA doesn’t require review prior to its introduction to the market.

This means that Dietary Supplements may make claims about the effectiveness of its product without the FDA approval or research.

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