What are Probiotics?

Did you know that your body needs bacteria to function properly? While that sounds strange, a proper balance of good and bad bacteria actually keeps you healthy by preventing illness and disease. Here’s a look at what probiotics are and why they’re important for digestive health.

What Are Probiotics?

Before we learn about probiotics, it’s important to know a few things about the digestive system. First of all, the digestive system contains two kinds of bacteria, good and bad. They both work in balance for a healthy digestive system. If you have too much bad bacteria in your gut, you may feel tired, bloated, or have other health issues. 

Probiotics (live bacteria and yeasts) work to replace the good bacteria (microbes) that your system loses through sickness or by taking antibiotic medication. They are a combination of yeast and good bacteria that work to keep your system in balance and prevent future illness. 

Different Types

Lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, and saccharomyces are the most common forms of bacteria that are in probiotics. You can usually find them in foods such as fermented foods, yeast, and dairy products like yogurt.  

How Do Probiotics Work In Your Body?

The primary job of live bacteria and yeasts is to keep a healthy balance in your digestive system. They do that by balancing the good and the bad bacteria in your gut. When you’re sick with a cold or other illness, bad bacteria enters your body, even if you don’t realize it. These bacteria invade your body and throw it off balance. 

Good bacteria, like those found in probiotics, restore balance in your body and boosts your immune function. These microbes are essential for proper health and function of all your body systems. Without enough microbes, your body is susceptible to infection and disease. 

Are There Benefits In Taking Probiotics?

Besides providing numerous benefits for digestive health, taking live bacteria and yeasts helps with weight loss and immunity. Studies show that they also help prevent common digestive diseases like gastroenteritis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Here are a few other ways these microorganisms help restore natural balance in the body. 

Improves Mental Health

Do you find that you’re tired or have brain fog at certain times during the day? Research shows a strong link between gut and mental health. The foods we eat affect our bodies and our moods. For example, eating too much-refined sugar can increase blood sugar levels and contribute to lack of concentration. Probiotics may balance blood sugar levels and reduce the harmful bacteria that lower brain function. 

Increases Heart Health

Most people have heard or read about the importance of eating foods that support heart health. Adding probiotics to your diet may help lower your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Eating foods, like yogurt, with good bacteria may break down bile in the gut and support cardiovascular function. 

Reduces Allergies 

If you struggle with eczema or other skin conditions, you probably feel discouraged and uncomfortable. Certain foods and environmental factors contribute to skin rashes and inflammation. However, probiotic foods and supplements may prevent these symptoms by reducing inflammation in the body. 

Support Regular Digestion

Many people today suffer from common digestive issues like constipation or diarrhea. Poor diet and lack of exercise increase the risk of these conditions. Probiotics may help regulate the digestive system to help rid the body of toxins and waste.  

Enhances Immunity

When your digestive system isn’t functioning properly, other body systems suffer. The immune system is responsible for helping to filter out impurities and toxins to prevent illness and disease. A healthy balance of bacteria in the body helps maintain immunity. 

Do Probiotics Treat Health Conditions?

Eating probiotic-rich foods or taking a supplement may help treat several health conditions in the body. Certain strains of probiotics may help treat conditions such as:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Yeast infections
  • Constipation 

What Foods Contain Probiotics?

The best way to get enough probiotics in your diet is with a supplement or eating foods that have high amounts. There are many foods that can help you increase microbes in your gut. Chances are, you probably eat a few of them every day. Some foods that are high in beneficial bacteria are:

  • Sourdough bread
  • Yogurt
  • Sauerkraut
  • Cottage cheese
  • Kombucha
  • Kimchi
  • Miso

It’s important to know that not all of these have the same amount of probiotics. Eating probiotic-rich foods is great for your body, but eating too much of something prevents balance. Eating balanced meals and getting enough daily exercise helps increase the benefits of probiotics. 

Is It Safe to Take Probiotics Every Day?

Probiotics contain microbes that naturally exist in your body and are safe for daily use. Since there are probiotics in many types of food, you probably are eating some every day. However, not all probiotics are safe to take. Choose a supplement that is holistic and tested for safety. Most store brands contain fillers that are harmful to your body. 

Some probiotics can cause bloating and gas when you first begin using them. Keep your doctor updated as you incorporate them into your diet. Your doctor may recommend a better option for you. 

Should You Take Supplements?

Many people take a daily probiotic supplement to maintain gut function and health. They help maintain balance and treat digestive disorders. However, some people may experience reactions to certain supplements. This may happen if you have too much of it in your system. 

You may deal with bloating, upset stomach or diarrhea while your body transitions to the supplement. Talk with your doctor about the MDPA brand and dosage for your body’s needs. If you’re taking certain medications, a supplement may interfere with them. This is another reason to talk with your doctor.

Contact Us For An Appointment

If you’re looking for more information about how probiotics increase your health and wellness, contact us today. Dr. Leo is passionate about sharing his knowledge of holistic health with his patients. We would love to help you with your health and wellness journey. Call us today and schedule an appointment.


Picture of Dr. L. J. Leo

Dr. L. J. Leo

Dr. Leo began his education at the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia, where he earned his doctorate in osteopathy. He completed his internal medicine residency through the U.S. Army and had the honor of serving multiple overseas tours before retirement.

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