Probiotics are constantly being advertised, but what are they, exactly? And if you follow a good, healthy Paleo diet, should you consider taking them?
Probiotics are, for the most part, live organisms such as bacteria that people consume in order to gain several health benefits. But how is this possible? After all, people often take antibiotics to deal with bacteria inside their bodies that are causing problems. Well, the thing is that there is a distinction to be made between good bacteria and bad bacteria. In normal circumstances, the body has a pretty good balance between the two so the bad bacteria cannot do any damage. However, there are situations such as being ill where this balance is lost. Therefore, taking probiotic supplements allows you to regain the balance and prevent a lot of further medical complications.
There are many different kinds of bacteria found in probiotics supplements and they all come with various health benefits. One of the most common genera is lactobacillus, which contains over 50 species of bacteria used in probiotics. These species can also be found in yoghurt and are usually effective at preventing certain infections as well as diarrhea and skin disorders.
The genus of bacteria that makes up for almost 90% of all good bacteria found in the human body is bifidobacteria, which contains around 30 different species. They are immediately present in our bodies since birth and can help with various problems such as dental cavities, abdominal pains, bloating and bowel problems.
There are four other major bacteria genera found in the body: saccharomyces boulardii, streptococcus thermophilus, enterococcus faecium and leuconostoc. Each of them contains various species that have a positive effect on the human body, in one way or another.
For the most part, the healthy benefits that come from taking probiotic supplements impact two major areas: our digestive tract and our immune system. They affect our digestive tract because, as mentioned previously, they restore the balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria which can shift due to stress, bad diet, lack of sleep, drug usage etc. Their goal is to not let the bad bacteria grow in large amounts as this can lead to problems, but they also do not eliminate it completely since our bodies do have certain uses for it. Probiotics also help by eliminating toxins, chemicals and other harmful substances from our digestive tract while also helping absorb nutrients and delivering them to the cells that require them.
Probiotic supplements also have an impact on our immune system. They do not necessarily make it stronger, but by keeping the balance they ensure that the immune system is operating at maximum efficiency. Whenever this does not happen we are prone to being attacked by germs and this can lead to bad medical complications in some people. Allergic reactions, autoimmune disorders and infections are common results of this problem.
Therefore, taking probiotic supplements can have quite a positive effect on our bodies. However, they require the same care and attention as normal supplements, making sure that the brand is reputable (i.e. Paleo compliant) and that you take the recommended dosage.
Do you take any type of Probiotic alongside following the Paleo diet? And if so, which brand do you use?