Probiotic supplements have been rising in popularity for years – but why should we take them in the first place?
Actually, we shouldn’t require probiotics. Our ancestors certainly didn’t take them.
Our ancestors pulled vegetables from the garden and gave them a rinse and ate them. They tramped out in the fields, kicking up dust filled with organisms, and they had animals that shared their microbiome. They also received good bacteria from their diet by eating fermented foods – not consciously for the probiotics, but to preserve them before there was such a thing as refrigeration. But primarily they got their probiotics from dirt!
Fast forward to today, what’s happening inside our bodies with an out-of-balance microbiome is also happening to the soil.
Prebiotics and probiotics both support the body in building and maintaining a healthy colony of bacteria and other microorganisms, which supports the gut and aids digestion. These food components help promote beneficial bacteria by providing food and creating an environment where microorganisms can flourish.
Prebiotics vs Probiotics
What is a prebiotic, you ask? It’s mainly fiber! Prebiotics contain non-digestible fiber that feeds our probiotic intestinal flora. They serve as food for probiotics, which are tiny living microorganisms, including bacteria and yeast.
Probiotics are live microorganisms, including yeast and bacteria, that provide a specific health benefit when consumed. They help to restore and improve microbiome function. Over the years, the benefits of probiotics have grown by leaps and bounds.
So, what do they do?
- Help absorb nutrients
- Utilize carbohydrates and fat
- Assist detoxification
- Signal hunger or fullness
- Boost immune function
- Produce neurotransmitters
- Manage yeast overgrowth
Some of the various common types of bacteria strains in probiotics formulas include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Keep in mind that how probiotics work may depend on the strain, dose, and components used to produce a given probiotic product. Many probiotic products on the market have not been properly identified, documented, and manufactured under good manufacturing practices. Make sure to choose a high-quality, researched formula.
Replenish the Good Bacteria
There’s an estimated 500 species of bacteria found within our large intestines. We have to continuously replenish and feed the good bacteria to keep our gut balanced and happy. Depending on your individual needs, adding probiotics to your daily lifestyle could be a great way to optimize the digestion and absorption of nutrients.