Manual What You Need to Know About Probiotics

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When taken in sufficient quantities they have a positive health benefit hence the terms you hear in the health press such as 'good' and 'beneficial' bacteria. Probiotics have been consumed for thousands of years in foods see below and are now widely available in capsules and dairy products.

1. Myth: No bacteria can be good for you

They're abundant in fermented foods. Fermented foods pack a powerful punch because their natural probiotic content is essential for keeping our digestive tract in optimum health. Fermentation has been a part of diets around the world since ancient times, from kimchi — fermented vegetables eaten three times a day in Korea — to northern Europe's sauerkraut to Indian chutneys to fermented soya beans in Japan, eaten as miso, natto, soy sauce and tempeh the Japanese also have amikaze, a naturally sweet food made with fermented grains to yoghurt. Kefir — a fermented milk drink that is super-high in good bacteria — was originally preserved in goatskin pouches by shepherds in the mountains of Eastern Europe.

In probiotic terms, these foods are the richest sources.

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What you should know about: Probiotics - Harvard Health

Until years ago, many of the foods we ate were fermented in some way and this made it easier to the keep up the balance of good bacteria in our bodies. In evolutionary terms years is not much. We've been eating fermented foods for thousands of years, so our bodies have evolved to thrive on this kind of diet. Indeed, the New York Times recently named fermented foods as one of the biggest emerging food trends.

Your gut flora may thank you.

It coincides with the surge in interest in 'paleo' or 'caveman' eating focusing on food available to our ancient ancestors. Not all live yoghurts are the same in probiotic terms. By definition and law, yoghurt has to contain certain levels of healthy bacteria. But premium more expensive yoghurts will contain more. Rob Hobson explains yoghurts labeled 'probiotic yoghurt' will also contain probiotic strains added, in addition to the other bacteria. You also need prebiotics that feed the good bacteria. Some vegetables and fruits known as probiotics have extra punch in feeding good bacteria and these include bananas, Jersualem artichokes, asparagus, fennel, garlic, cold potatoes not hot!

Eat them whenever you fancy. If you don't normally eat these, introduce and build them up gradually to avoid wind. When it comes to supplements — strain matters. Probiotics come from foods ands supplements and contain favourable bacterias that keep your micobiome healthy. But good bacteria includes various strains and three quarters of those surveyed in the Healthspan research revealed they do not understand the different strains of probiotics that they need to support their health, even though seventy per cent said they take them to support their immunity.

While the families of good bacteria include the names we know such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, within these are strains that all have specific jobs and may be called by letters or numbers or combinations or both, such as Lactobacillus DDS-1 or bifidobacterium longum. Think of strains as members of a family that all have different talents. This is an area still in its infancy and currently, there is no list of recommended strains for specific benefits, says Dr Brewer. Ten million and above per serving is considered the minimum you should look for in a probiotic pill, says nutritionist Robert Hobson.

But more is better. Healthspan's new Super-Pro 50 is an advanced probiotic with over 50 billion friendly bacteria from four well-researched strains as well as containing calcium, vitamin D3 and B6 all formulated to support digestive health, immunity and energy metabolism. The new Healthspan SuperPro 50 has an advanced blend of lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus planetarium and two strains of Bifidobacterium lactis which is shown to decline as we age.

13 things you need to know about probiotics

Supplements are best taken at breakfast. When you take them, try and avoid foods that are too acidic such as soft drinks and juices, very hot foods or alcoholic drinks. Such foods can kill microbes and interfere with the benefits of your probiotic supplement. A supplement course is best after antibiotics.


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Antibiotics are specifically designed to treat bacterial infections in our bodies. But these medicines can't differentiate between good and bad bacteria in the gut so they disrupt the overall balance within the gut macrobiota. Although most of the organisms within the macrobiota regenerate over time, this can take many weeks and sometimes months. Therefore if you need to take a course of antibiotics , taking a supplement such as Healthspan Superpro50 which contains the right strains of friendly live bacteria needed to help replenish what has been destroyed by taking antibiotics.

Mayo Clinic Minute: Should you give your child probiotics?

This article was originally published by Healthista. What ARE probiotics? And how do you take them? That's why we have put together this guide. They affect every part of your body How can so many functions of the body depend on one part — our intestines? Share this article Share. Just one course of antibiotics can leave your gut bacteria weaker for up to four years.

Research is now linking the dietary practice of fermenting foods to positive mental health. Share or comment on this article: 13 things you need to know about probiotics e-mail Most watched News videos Brawl erupts in chicken shop after customer launches item at staff Ex-Tesco employee explodes in anger as she rants about her job Racist man tells woman to speak English at McDonald's in Georgia Woman allegedly grabbed by the neck and thrown onto the pavement Jackie O responds to Kyle's backlash over Virgin Mary comments Former Malaysia King's ex-wife tells how marriage collapsed Saudi Arabian slaps baby daughter because she struggles walk Michael Winner's former lover leaves his home after robbing property Hilarious video shows two enthusiastic wedding guests dance together MP Karl Turner's heated encounter with PM adviser Dominic Cummings Body art enthusiasts gather for International Tattoo Convention Australian comedian creates Greta Thunberg hotline for adults.

More top stories. Bing Site Web Enter search term: Search. Probiotics are generally thought to be safe, and Dr. Walker says they have no side effects. People who have an immune deficiency or who are being treated for cancer should not use probiotics. Foods that contain probiotics include yogurt, a fermented dairy drink called kefir, and fermented vegetables such as pickles and sauerkraut. Walker says foods may be effective for treatment, but at this time, we only have evidence showing that dietary supplements are effective.

Perhaps the strongest evidence is in treating diseases caused by bad gut bacteria that lead to severe diarrhea. It's like a physical barrier," says Dr. Supplements usually contain freeze-dried bacteria that warm up and come to life in your digestive system. You can find them in most drugstores and supermarkets, as capsules or tablets to swallow and loose powder to sprinkle on food. You'll want a product that's labeled for viability through the end of shelf life, not at the time of manufacture. Dosages vary by product, so no general dosing recommendation can be made. However, common dosages for adults range from 5 to 10 billion colony-forming units per day, in a single daily dose, with or without food.

Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


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Harvard Health Letter. Published: September,