Postdate: 25 October 2018
Probiotics are good lactic acid bacteria that come in the form of dairy drinks, powders or pills. They are available in good health food shops or from the pharmacy, but are now also commonplace in supermarkets. What do we know so far about the use of probiotics for better overall and intestinal health?
What are probiotics?
Probiotics is actually a collective term for beneficial lactic acid bacteria that keep your intestines in balance. If you’re unwell, are having problems with your stools, or are taking antibiotics, you might well have a shortage of these good bacteria. Probiotics could make up for this.
It is claimed that probiotics can help reduce allergic symptoms and intestinal complaints, as well as boosting your immune system. When you take them in the form of a drink, sachet or pill, the bacteria end up in your stomach, where they then continue into the intestines. A proportion of these bacteria are sometimes attacked by stomach acid, but the rest do reach the intestines.
Does it work for everyone?
Research has shown that probiotics do not produce the desired results for everyone. Some people may benefit greatly from a specific supplement, while others may not. It might also be the case that your intestines resist these good ‘invaders’ that are entering them.
There are also differences between probiotics. When it comes to the drinks available in supermarkets, clever marketing often prevails, and these drinks can also be full of sugar. The quality of some types of probiotics may not be that good, and this also affects how they work.
Are you about to take probiotics? If so, it’s advisable to take them several times a day for a number of weeks or even months, as only then will any possible beneficial effects become evident. Eventually, these bacteria leave the body again through your stools, which is why it is necessary to take a daily supplement.
A healthy lifestyle is the No. 1 priority
First of all, a high-fibre diet is important for stimulating your intestines because, even if taking probiotics has a positive effect, it is not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle or a way of permanently ‘relieving' your intestines.
In short, there is still insufficient scientific evidence that probiotics really help everyone's overall and intestinal health. Some people benefit from them, while others don’t. It also depends on the type of probiotics. This means you should first gather all the information and seek advice before you consider taking probiotics.