Probiotics are the good beneficial living bacteria and yeast in our body that helps us in digestion, fighting infection, etc. These are similar to good bacteria which are colonies in our guts. They are present naturally in our body/ present in the intestine and work against bad bacteria/ yeast ( microbes). Probiotics can be in the mouth, gut, skin, lungs, vagina, and urinary tract. 10 probiotics apart from yogurt are pickles, kimchi, miso soup, apple cider vinegar, cottage cheese, kefir and many more.
These are generally measured in CCFU which is colony forming units. Prebiotics are the plant fibers present in vegetables that help nourish good bacteria in the gut. Curd is one of the best examples of probiotics. It contains lactobacillus bacteria that help the body with food digestion and other problems.
Synbiotic are products that are a combination of both probiotics and prebiotics.
Postbiotics are the products/ compounds that are formed when some of the microbes acts on plant/ fruit fiber. They produce compounds such as acetates, butyrateand short chain of fatty acids.
Dysbiosis is the term used for imbalances gut biome. When the good bacteria and bad bad bacteria in the gut shows imbalance .
Probiotics present in the body are-
- Bacteria- lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.
- Yeast – Saccharomyces boulardii.
Properties of probiotics-
- Survive in the intestine after ingestion.
- These are beneficial to the body.
- Can be easily and safely consumed.
- They are isolated from the body.
Uses of probiotics-
- Helps to deal with diarrhea caused by antibiotics.
- Helps in IBD/ Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
- Helps to deal with constipation and diarrhea.
- Helps in proper digestion of food
- Fighting against infections.
Characteristics of probiotics –
- It should contain high sodium levels for restoration of electrolyte balance. It must be fat free and low in calories. May contain vitamin A, K, C or B.
- It should help healthy gut bacteria to grow by providing them supplements.it must protect gut microbiome.
- Take care of constipation and diarrhea.
- Do not contribute to high blood glucose levels or cholesterol levels.
Some of the probiotics are –
- Pickles- Pickle biofortification is a process in which any vegetables, fruits can be preserved for a long time to increase its nutrient and therapeutic value. Eg: cucumber pickle – provides fibers, protein and energy.
- Kombucha – Fermented tea that is also known as mushroom tea as the fermentation process looks like mushrooms. The fermentation is known as SCOBY, which is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. It helps in digestion and weight loss. It also reduces liver toxicity and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. It also decreased blood glucose level and low density lipids and increased high density lipids.
-The acetic acid present in it, kills microbes and prevents infection of the same.
– it contains polyphenols like catechins which acts as antioxidants.
– Also contains histamine.
– vitamin C and B are present in it.
It acts as a stomachic and prevents nausea and dizziness.
- Kefir- Fermented dairy drinks.It looks like a cauliflower that is prepared by making cultures with lactobacillus bacteria and some yeast. It is also useful/ safe for lactose intolerant people. It acts as anti-inflammatory and also helps to subdue tumors.
- Sourdough bread – It is finely shredded cabbage fermented with lactic acid. It contains vitamin C and K, iron , calcium and sodium. It contains Antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin.
- Cottage cheese – It contains a high amount of calcium. It is used with any type of snack: sweet, savory etc.
- Tempeh- It is a protein made from soybean that can be a replacement for meat.it has anti inflammatory and anti tumor properties. It has monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat that is healthy for us. It contains magnesium , phosphorus, iron etc. It also contains isoflavones and protein which help in lowering cholesterol levels and also acts as an antioxidant. This contains prebiotics, the plant fibers that support gut flora .
- Kimchi- it is a spicy pickled veg dish with cabbage, scallions or radish brine with garlic, ginger, chilly pepper etc. The cruciferous vegetable is Fermented with lactic acid . This putrefactive process helps to increase its functionality and also its ability to kill pathogenic bacterias.
-It contains choline that helps cells, muscles and nervous system to function properly.
-Also contains potassium that prevents blood clot and prevents bones from brittleness.
-It contains bacteria lactobacillus which helps in digestion, maintaining gut flora and preventing colon infections and Inflammatory Bowel disease etc
– It protects the heart from atherosclerosis and cholesterol.
-Vitamin C in it helps to strengthen the immunity.
- Miso soup -it contains sodium, iron, magnesium, calcium and proteins. It is a soybean paste that is used in soups.
- Fermented sauerkraut – It is fermented with lactic acid. It contains fiber that helps in immunity build up.
- Apple cider vinegar – It is fermented apple sugar vinegar which contains acetic acid. It helps in digestion. Basically fat metabolism therefore weight loss. It also helps in reducing blood sugar levels.
Other probiotics are parmesan cheese, coconut, flaxseed, olive oil etc.
Some people with particular conditions should take caution which having probiotics –
- People with surgery
- People with critical illness
- People with weak immunity system
- People taking chemotherapy .
Things to be noted while having probiotics by market –
- Check the storage instructions for the particular material. Away from the sun in a cold place etc.
- Check the strain that is used in the fermentation process .
- Check the dose of the food to be taken.
- Do verify its testing/ working as a probiotic.
The various probiotics that are available online or in the market as capsules or tablets must be used with consultation of your doctor.
There is a lack of research and information about the duration that is required to intake the probiotics .
There is no proper source regarding its therapeutic effects/properties.
Make sure to see its ingredient listing, if it follows good manufacturing /laboratory practices or is FDA approved.