What Are Probiotics, and How Can They Help Your Gut? probiotic k cups

Probiotics of all kinds can be found on the shelves of your pharmacy and health-care store’s vitamin aisles these days, claiming to help digestion and gut health. But, what exactly are probiotics, what do they do, and do you really need to take them every day? probioticseverything.comprobiotic k cups

You might, as it turns out. Dr. Gail Cresci, PhD, RD, a microbiome researcher in the Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition at Cleveland Clinic Children’s, says that “when ingested in enough numbers, probiotics may provide a health benefit to the host, that is, the person eating them.” probioticseverything.comprobiotic k cups

But, as Dr. Cresci points out, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about how probiotics help the body. Every day, researchers are learning more about what they do. probioticseverything.comprobiotic k cups

Read on as we consult experts to determine whether probiotics can assist your and your family’s health, whether you take probiotic supplements or consume probiotics through foods like yogurt, miso, and sauerkraut. probioticseverything.comprobiotic k cups

What is a probiotic, exactly?

When you digest probiotics, they are live active cultures (typically bacteria, but sometimes yeast) that may help keep your gut healthy. Most people obtain probiotics in their meals in one of two ways: through probiotic supplements or by digesting probiotics from the active cultures in particular foods, such as yogurt, miso, pickles, or kimchi. While scientists are still figuring out which diseases and health concerns probiotics can aid with, here’s how they operate in general. probioticseverything.comprobiotic k cups

There are millions to trillions of microorganisms in your body. Your gut microbiome, or the bacteria that live in your large intestine and colon, is made up of thousands of these. Your gut microbiota aids digestion and maintains your body’s regularity. According to Dr. Cresci, probiotics are strain-specific, so some may assist the immune system or stimulate neurotransmitter production while others do not. probioticseverything.comprobiotic k cups

Probiotics come in a variety of types, the most prevalent of which are Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. These can be found on supplement labels or in foods such as yogurt and kefir. probioticseverything.comprobiotic k cups

Probiotics are distinct from prebiotics, which are sugars or dietary fiber that humans cannot digest but which probiotics consume. According to one scientific review, prebiotics may also have beneficial effects on the body, such as aiding in the fight against or prevention of obesity, mental health issues, vascular disorders, and even certain types of cancer. Prebiotics and probiotics taken combined may help your digestive system even more, especially following a course of antibiotics, which can disrupt gut health. According to Dr. Cresci, some strains of probiotics or certain prebiotics, along with a fiber-rich diet, may help heal any remaining damage. probioticseverything.comprobiotic k cups

The term “colony forming units,” or CFU, may appear on the label of probiotic pills. Each dose of probiotic pills might include anywhere from 1 billion to 50 billion CFUs. However, just because a probiotic supplement has a higher number of CFUs doesn’t indicate it’s the most effective. Ask your pharmacist, dietician, or doctor which probiotic kind is best for you, based on why you’re taking them.

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