What Are Probiotics?

what are probiotics

Let’s start with the beginning and you will understand that shortly. It seems fair to share my own experience, because it will provide you with a personal insight in the heart of the problems. Ok so I am an amateur bodybuilder and for a long time I went on my regular schedule without any disturbance whatsoever. I was doing the regular workouts, I was respecting my self-imposed diet plan and everything seemed in order. But then something different happened and I had no idea what was it related to. I started to become bloated all the time and have gases and such and I even experienced stomachaches from time to time. For a while I thought it was due to the food supplements that I was having, but those had never caused me any problems in the pasts. Why would they do it now? It just did not make any sense. But I had to do something, because it did not seem to go away on its own. I visited a medic in order to find out what was going on and after a few tests he came up with the verdict. He told me that my body was filled with unwanted bacteria that caused my bowel to become irritable. He also told me that these minor issues can degenerate into something worse if I was not going to take measures as fast as possible. You can imagine my surprise. I have never had such issues in my whole life and I never thought I ever will. I mean what was I doing wrong? I was exercising, I was careful about what I ate and I generally led a pretty healthy life. I have talked to other persons since then and the conclusion was that, regardless of what type of life you live, bad bacteria can alter it in a moment’s notice. That was also the first time when I heard the terms “good bacteria” and “bad bacteria”. You can imagine that I immediately started to research the subject, because it was not something that I had noticed it affected others, it was something that was affecting me, first of all, which is why I had to solve the problem as fast as possible. So here is what you need to know about bacteria.

What should you know about probiotics?

What I found out was that I was not the only one assimilating the concept of bacteria with generally unwanted side effects. Like most of the people, I thought “bacteria” was a term for something bad that you should avoid at all cost. It seems like I was totally wrong and I am glad that I took the time investing in the research afterwards, because it provided me with a new insight in the matter. So what have I discovered? There are two types of bacteria in your body: harmful bacteria and good ones. The harmful ones can cause you a wide variety of health problems, if you ignore the situation, while others are helping in preventing those problems. Furthermore, good bacteria are responsible with your digestive system, among other things, which is why I was so interested in the subject. Now my problem was this: how could I get rid of the bad bacteria that were causing me all those problems and further improve my health? This was not going to be, by all means, easy, but I was determined to get to the bottom of it. Well said and done.

Here are the facts. Good bacteria can be found in fermented environments and this means that you can also take them from various types of foods that you did not even suspected they carried such a beneficial agent. I am talking about yogurts, for instance as well as any other fermented foods that would have a high concentration of good bacteria. There have been numerous researches, trying to determine the best way to accommodate the good and the bad bacteria within one’s body. Some countries, like Japan, have even developed real industries treating this issue and this tendency is on the rise in US, with more and more people becoming increasingly interested in probiotics and it is understandable. After all, it is a safe and fast way to improve your health with the minimum effort required.

But what interested me the most were the studies, because their relevance could have told me all that I wanted to know about probiotics’ efficiency. It turns out that there were plenty of research studies that were conducted in the mid 90s and the conclusion in each case was that probiotics actually assist in treating various gastrointestinal ills, prevent and restrict the development of certain allergic responses in children and even treat some vaginal and urinal infections that women often struggle with. It was actually pretty groundbreaking for me to find out this kind of data.

Probiotics-7

Conditions Probiotics Have Been Proven to Treat

Here is the good part. Unlike traditional medicine, using probiotics in self-treatment is not as farfetched as you may consider it to be. Actually, plenty of people do it every day without even knowing that. The difference is that they are not aware of the effects of probiotics and, even more, they don’t even know that probiotics exist. If they would, they could take measures and improve their general health. I then realized that everyone has the power to change their lives, provided that they are well informed and care whether they are healthy or sick.

Also, another aspect that got me excited was the fact that it turned out that probiotics are highly efficient in treating various types of diarrhea, especially in infants and children, which can manifest some allergies to traditional medicine. Probiotics are the perfect alternative, because, like we have already shown, good bacteria is in your daily food, it is nothing artificial about it. Also, there are cases where you will treat your kid for flu with antibiotics and you notice that diarrhea starts to set in. This is a pretty common problem and you should not panic. Probiotics have been shown to reduce the diarrhea by 60%, when compared with the placebo effect, for instance, which makes it a reliable alternative.

And this is not all. Aside from these minor problems, it turned out that probiotics are also efficient in helping Crohn disease patients, as well as those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. These are probably some of the most frustrating diseases to treat and people will usually search for the most comfortable solution, as well as for the most efficient one. This does not mean that probiotics are flawless and work perfectly under any condition, treating any affection that you can think of. There are still studies ahead that are meant to determine which probiotic strain can fit within which particular treatment, but there is still a determined fact that probiotics are a reliable alternative.

There is one particular aspect that you should keep in mind if you intend to follow a probiotic treatment and that is the fact that probiotics are nowadays sold as dietary supplements, especially in the US. This means that they are not subjected to the same rigorous testing that usual medicine is forced through. This means that when purchasing your probiotics in order to treat various affections, you should only trust the manufacturers when they assert one thing or another. This does not mean that it is likely to be scammed, because nobody wants that, but it simply means that some strains of probiotics are only efficient in certain illnesses. You may not be qualified to determine which goes where and the manufacturers cannot simply know what fits you and what does not. The best thing that you can do in order to prevent some unwanted aftermath is to consult a specialist, whenever you choose to use probiotics for your daily minor problems.

Am I fit for probiotics treatment?

Here is a question that you should not treat lightly. If probiotics made you a good impression so far, do not rush to get to the conclusions yet, because there are other things that you need to know when it comes to actually consume probiotics as a treatment method. The known fact is that probiotics are only effective depending on your general health. This means that there are few specifications that you should be aware of:

  • Generally healthy people – In these cases, probiotics have shown to be highly effective, while there have been recorded few to none side effects. When they did occur, however, we are only talking about mild side effects, among which there are gases and such.
  • Generally sick people – We do not include here those with weak immune system, because in those cases probiotics may actually assist you in becoming less susceptible to sicknesses. What we are talking about are those people suffering from critical conditions, because in those cases probiotics may actually aggravate the whole situation.

This is where we need to specify certain counter indications that you should take into consideration, because they can literally mean the difference between the cure and the aggravated illness. Here is what you should consider when planning to take probiotics:

  • Never use probiotics as a substitute for scientifically proven medical treatments, because, as I have already specified, probiotics are not approved as rock solid medical alternatives. There are still a lot of things to be established about the probiotics’ efficiency and particularities, which is why you need to be cautions when using them in various treatments.
  • Whenever you are on the verge of using probiotics as a daily dietary supplement, always consult a health specialist, because you are in no way qualified to take these kinds of choices. This is even more of an issue when you are experiencing some serious health problems, or even minor ones that are seemingly unrelated to the probiotics’ capacity. If you have health problems that probiotics are not meant to tackle anyway, they may still have an unwanted effect in that regard.
  • This specification is only related to the female consumer. Never consume probiotics in any way if you are pregnant or nursing. Also, whenever you intend to provide your kid with a probiotics dietary supplement, you most certainly need to consult a health specialist.
  • Inform your health care provider about your situation, as well as all the side treatments that you are determined to follow. He may be the only one able to advise you on whether you are fit for some kind of treatments or not.

What are the most effective probiotics?

PerfectbioitcsOne of the most wanted probiotic product available at this moment is Perfect Biotics by Probiotic America. So we have reached to the important part. By now you may know that probiotics are divided in different strains and that they are each effective in different health issues. Aside from this, there is another problem that you should keep in mind. Not all probiotics are equally effective, as the quality is a variable. I have noticed this a long time ago when I was still researching the subject and I came across more and more feedback from various people saying that probiotics did not work in their case. I wondered how could that be, because the general customer feedback was almost invariably positive. So I thought there must be something that I overlooked. I started all over again and here are the most important qualities that probiotics should meet in order to establish themselves as reliable and high quality products:

  • They contain highly effective bacterial strains. In other words, they must be strain specific, because in the contrary they will not have any significant results.
  • They deliver high quality results and only work in specified doses
  • They remain stable for longer periods of time and continue to provide meaningful effects
  • Manifest the ability to overcome the intestinal environment and thrive within your body.

But I think we should clarify certain aspects of this issue. For instance, what exactly is a bacterial strain and what does that have to do with whether certain types of probiotics are efficient or not? The matter of fact is that this problem is quite complex and should be treated as such. Let’s take Lactobacillus acidophilus, for example. The name of one specific strain is Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 and the part that you should pay attention to is the DDS-1 termination. This is one strain out of many and it has been proven to be the most effective one of all, which is why this is what you should be looking for. Various researches conducted in this specific area determined that this particular strain is responsible for the most benefits that the human body experience when treated with that kind of probiotic supplement. Some of these studies have shown that DDS-1 is highly effective because:

  • It adapts to the human body extremely well. This is a particularity coming from the fact that it is a human based strain, with human origins.
  • It resists to the extremely acid intestinal environment and its resilience does not drop over time.
  • Assists you in developing a natural digestive health
  • Enhances your immune system and provides it with the necessary tools to become more resilient in the face of any threats
  • Establishes an unbreakable balance in your intestinal flora
  • Has a significant role in supporting the lactase production, which can aid in fighting against lactose intolerance

This makes DDS-1 one of the most important as well as one of the most necessary strains in probiotic supplements. However, I agree that it is not sufficient to just make empty claims and that what actually makes the difference is to actually provide examples of studies that helped in shaping the final conclusions.

This being said, how effective is DDS-1? It turns out that several testing trials have determined that it is efficient in reducing bloating in more than 70% of the subjects, as well as improving their general health.

Now another aspect that I would like to discuss, since we are here, is the fact that efficient probiotics necessarily have to be fit to flourish within the acidic environment of your intestines. Actually, this is what makes the difference between good and efficient probiotics and ineffective ones that will only take your money and give you nothing in return. The problem is as follows. It does not matter if you feed your system with beneficial bacteria, if the said bacteria it is quickly destroyed by your intestinal bile and your stomach acid. This is where the food probiotic good bacteria comes in, because that specific type of bacteria seems to have no problem whatsoever adapting to your internal environment. I am talking about yogurt and other fermented aliments, which seem to be more effective that probiotics supplement. But this does not mean that you should disregard what these supplements can do for you, because, despite having some limitations, they can still provide a powerful punch and play a major role in your health.

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