Introduction to Probiotics
Probiotics refer to beneficial active microorganisms or good bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium species. The primary mechanisms by which probiotics offer protection and therapeutic effects are not fully understood. Various hypotheses include the potential to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, enhance the defense capabilities of the intestinal mucosa, and regulate the intestinal immune system.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are the food for probiotics, promoting their growth and activation in the gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics thrive on substances like dietary fiber and oligosaccharides, using them for reproduction and producing organic acids. Regular intake of foods rich in dietary fiber and oligosaccharides, such as whole grains, root vegetables, seaweed, legumes, fresh vegetables, and fruits, alongside a moderate intake of proteins and fats, and incorporating probiotic-rich items like yogurt two to three times a week, can contribute to maintaining a balanced gut microbiome.
Therapeutic Uses of Probiotics
Probiotics have proven effective in certain medical conditions, including:
- Antibiotics-associated diarrhea.
- Improving chronic constipation.
- Preventing infantile eczema, with limited evidence for preventing asthma and allergies.
- Assisting in preventing or combating vaginal infections.
For those experiencing the above conditions or diseases, it is advisable to consult a professional physician or pharmacist for evaluation.
Types of Probiotics
Commonly, probiotics are categorized into gastrointestinal health and allergy improvement. Here are some common strains and their characteristics:
☞Gastrointestinal Health Probiotic Strains:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
This bacterium secretes lactic acid to maintain a healthy gut microbiome, enhance immunity, and inhibit the growth of vaginal yeast. However, it primarily colonizes the small intestine and may lead to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), causing bloating issues.
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
Colonizes the large intestine, characterized by a bifid structure that forms a protective film on the intestinal surface. This helps maintain the balance of the gut microbiome, inhibiting harmful bacteria, and promoting intestinal motility.
- Lactobacillus casei
Colonizes both the small and large intestines, acid and alkali-resistant, with a survival period of over 15 days. It prevents intestinal discomfort, inhibits the release of allergens, and promotes immune function to normalize the gut microbiome.
- Bifidobacterium lactis
Mainly colonizes the large intestine, known for its acid resistance and bile resistance, surviving digestion in the stomach and duodenum. It contributes to the normal functioning of the digestive system.
- Bifidobacterium longum
Colonizes the large intestine, improves lactose intolerance, prevents diarrhea, food allergies, and overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria, also aiding in preventing colorectal cancer.
☞Allergy Improvement Probiotic Strains:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG
Acid and alkali-resistant, with excellent colonization ability, proven in multiple studies to reduce the development of atopic dermatitis.
💡There is another strain: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, can improve female intimate infections. 💡
- Lactobacillus paracasei
Colonizes the small intestine, acid and alkali-resistant, promotes the secretion of cellular hormones, reduces allergic inflammatory reactions, assists in regulating allergic tendencies, and helps adapt to changes in the external environment.
Understanding how to select probiotics might seem clearer after today. The next time you choose probiotics, having a basis for your needs will make your selection clearer, ensuring you pick probiotics that truly meet your requirements!
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