First of all, what are probiotics? While they are generally described as “good bacteria,” the World Health Organization officially classifies probiotics as “any living microorganism that has a health benefit when ingested.” Many types of bacteria (such as the more commonly known L. Acidophilus and Bifidobacteria) are probiotics and even some types of yeast (such as Saccharmyces) can act as probiotics. And what health benefits do these microorganisms provide?
1. Support Digestion
Various studies suggest that probiotics can support digestive function, helping to manage conditions such as diarrhea, constipation and IBS.
2. Boost Immunity
Probiotics have been linked to enhanced immune responses.
“The Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that New Zealand athletes had about 40% fewer colds and gastrointestinal infections when they took a probiotic.”1
3. Prevent Infection
Clinical studies show that probiotics can treat and prevent vaginal and urinary tract infections in women.
4. Clear Complexions
Recent studies suggests that probiotics can help to reduce acne and rosacea.
“Probiotics will line the gut and create a healthy, sealed barrier that prevents inflammation that can trigger acne or rosacea.”2
How to Get Your Probiotics
To get your probiotics with a dietary supplement, look for these key factors:
- Multiple strains of bacteria (look for labels that show the genus, species, and strain)
- The number of live microorganisms that are delivered in each serving, as well as an expiration date
- Delivery system to help the bacteria survive the stomach acid and reach the intestinal tract
Taking a supplement on a regular basis is the best way to populate the body with probiotics but you can also get probotic benefits from foods. While most peolple associate yogurt with probiotics, that is just one option. Fermented foods such as kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, pickles, and kombucha all have probiotics.