The human body is home to numerous bacteria which are concentrated especially in the digestive tract. These bacteria comprise of two types: the good and the bad. Studies show that for the body to function normally in many aspects of health, there must be a balance between the good and bad bacteria in the digestive system. In fact, they suggest that having excess amounts of the bad bacteria in the gut and less of the good bacteria can lead to all sorts of health issues such as skin conditions, diarrhea, ulcers, Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and even common cold.
This is where Probiotics come in. Probiotics are living organisms that provide a wide range of benefits to the human digestive system. Interestingly, they fall under the “good” bacteria which reside in the stomach. They have been shown to contribute significantly to the healthy balancing of gut bacteria and have been hailed for the many benefits they provide to the human body.
What Are the Sources of Probiotic Bacteria?
The simplest sources of Probiotics are foods which have been prepared by bacterial fermentation. These food sources include some Yogurts, Kefir and Nigerian home-made foods like Ogi, Kunun Zaki, and Burukutu.
Supplementation is another great way to obtain probiotic bacteria besides fermented food sources. The common forms of beneficial bacteria used in making probiotic supplement products include Lactobacillus Species, Bifidobacteria, Saccharomyces boulardii, and Bacillus coagulans. Some studies have suggested how effective these bacteria are in combating various bodily ailments. However, they have been shown to work in different ways with some being more effective in treating certain conditions than others. Hence, it is important to consult with your doctor before taking any supplement.
The Classification Of Probiotic Bacteria
Probiotic bacteria come in all shapes and sizes. They all have their own benefits but can be classified under two groups namely:
These are the most common types of Probiotics. They are found in yogurt and other fermented food. They are also known for their effectiveness in combatting diarrhea and Lactose intolerance.
Bifidobacteria are found in dairy products. They may be effective in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other conditions.
Some Yeasts like Saccharomyces boulardii are also found in Probiotics and may aid in the treatment of diarrhea and other digestive problems.
Safety And Side Effects
Probiotics are generally considered safe and usually come with no side effects. However, it is paramount to confirm with your doctor if taking Probiotics is a good idea for you. Also, Probiotics are considered to be hazardous to people with weakened immune systems caused by ailments like HIV, AIDS and other serious health conditions.
In some cases, taking probiotics could result in some mild side effect such as bloating, diarrhea, upset stomach, and discomforts in the first few days. These problems usually resolve on their own but if they persist for too long, it is important to seek guidance from your doctor.