What are probiotics for? This is what science says

Surely you have ever been told that some food is good for your health because it contains probiotics. In fact, probiotics are at the center of many healthy lifestyle buffs, but … do you really know what probiotics are for?

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that can consume by certain foods and supplements and have a beneficial role in the health of the person consuming them.

These microorganisms (mostly bacteria) that are good for our intestines are capable of strengthening the intestinal barrier, favoring the secretion of mucin, and competing with pathogenic bacteria that seek to attack it.

In addition, probiotics have the ability to activate certain white blood cells that increase the secretion of Immunoglobulin A, with protective immune function and favor tolerance to antigens or “aggressors” from food. Therefore, probiotics are currently of great interest and the focus of various studies.

What functions do probiotics have?

Although we always refer to these beneficial bacteria for our body, we can see the term “probiotic” used referring to different approaches.

Probiotics in general: when a food (yogurt or kefir, for example) contains beneficial bacteria or probiotics.

In this case, although the presence of these bacteria is certain, he does not know to what extent they can reach the intestine alive and in a sufficient number to achieve a certain probiotic function.

Probiotics specifically: when the prevention or treatment of a certain pathology is sought. In this case, they come in the form of supplements that must contain hundreds of millions of bacteria or microorganisms.

In addition, they must be able to reach our intestines alive to fulfill that specific probiotic function. For this reason, they require verified scientific studies that support their effectiveness in each context.

Most Probiotics Seek To Act In The Intestine

Most probiotics seek a specific action in the intestine. This is because it is the large intestine that houses the highest density and wealth of microorganisms

It also creates a rich and varied ecosystem formed by bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses with various important functions for our body both at the digestive and immune levels. and systemic.

Not all probiotics are equally effective

Currently, the probiotics that have the most scientific support are:

  • The probiotics for the prevention of infection by Clostridioides difficile ( C. difficile ) in adults and children taking antibiotics.
  • It is for the prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm and low birth weight the.
  • The probiotics for the treatment of pouchitis, which are a complication of inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
  • These are the statements of the American Gastroenterological Association, which issued its statement in 2020.
  • However, the World Gastroenterology Organization offers us a more extensive guide to recommended probiotics in specific pathologies.
  • If you need to purchase any of them, you can visit the Vistafarma website to get them.
  • Organization (WGO) you can consult the world guides and see what probiotics this international entity recommends for each type of pathology, both for its treatment and for its prevention.

How to choose the right probiotic

Not all probiotics are valid for the same, but a specific probiotic must purchase in each case or with a certain combination.

In addition, it can also confirm that the regular use of antibiotics is closely associate with dysbiosis.

since they not only eliminate pathogenic microorganisms but also affect those that are beneficial for our bodies.

Therefore, after using antibiotics, it is advisable to consume specific probiotics to repopulate our battered digestive system with good microorganisms.

One of the most studied and recommended probiotics is VSL3 or Vivomix. Each sachet contains 450 million lyophilized bacteria in a proprietary optimal combination of 8 different bacterial strains.

This probiotic is recommended for example for pouchitis, which is a complication of inflammatory bowel disease.

In any case, you will always have to choose the correct pharmacy probiotics for each case.

How can we protect our gut and its microbiota?

  1. To maintain a healthy microbiota and intestine, we basically have to eat a balanced diet rich in fiber (prebiotics).
  2. And also, carry out regular physical activity, and learn to manage stress. Currently, it is known that a diet rich in ultra-processed foods.
  3. It is, high in sugars, salt, low-quality fats, and low in fiber can negatively affect our intestinal microbiota.
  4. In the same way, it does the habitual consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and the abuse of antibiotics that are aggressive for our intestine and its habitual microorganisms.
  5. Not counting gastrointestinal infections, which can be the trigger for subsequent diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other digestive diseases.
  6. But not everything depends on external factors, the balance of the microbiota also depends on the digestive system itself working properly.

That is, that there is sufficient secretion of hydrochloric acid in our stomach, as well as adequate secretion of digestive enzymes and proper functioning of the ileocecal valve, among other determining factors such as suffering from certain diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s …

What are the risks of taking probiotics?

  • There is a small number of studies that show complications with the use of it.
  • So they can consider safe by the general healthy population.
  • However, in case of hospitalizations due to surgery or serious complications and chronic immunosuppression, probiotics can discourage.
  • The same happens if we must perform an expired hydrogen test to detect bacterial overgrowth.
  • Since its consumption up to a month before the test could falsify the results.

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