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Probiotics: Enhancing Gut Health, Digestive Function, and Immune Support

Probiotics are good bacteria that can help keep us healthy. Trillions of microbes exist in every human body, supporting both our physical needs and our overall health. Not all of the microbes we may carry are helpful to us — some types (germs) can be harmful.But beneficial microbes, like probiotics, help to control the potentially […]

Probiotics are good bacteria that can help keep us healthy. Trillions of microbes exist in every human body, supporting both our physical needs and our overall health. Not all of the microbes we may carry are helpful to us — some types (germs) can be harmful.But beneficial microbes, like probiotics, help to control the potentially harmful types.

Shockingly, around 70% of people in India deal with gut problems like indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome. Symptoms like loss of appetite, nausea, bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhoea can indicate a bacterial overgrowth and imbalance. Some people could also face headaches or feel dizzy. It’s rare, but some may have allergic reactions like rashes or itching. Maintaining gut health is really important for the overall well-being of a human body. The gut, often called the “second brain,” is a key player in keeping us healthy. It’s not just about digestion; it also affects our immune system, mood, and even how we manage weight. Keeping the gut healthy is crucial because it is home to a complex colony of bacteria that support all of these processes.

Which probiotics are effective?
Here are some of the most frequently studied and recommended probiotics include:
●Lactobacillus acidophilus: This is one of the most common probiotics. It’s often found in yoghourt and fermented foods. It helps with digestion and can reduce symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
●Bifidobacterium longum: Found in dairy products, this strain helps keep the gut healthy by crowding out bad bacteria and boosting the immune system.
●Saccharomyces boulardii: This is actually a type of yeast that acts like a probiotic. It’s particularly good for treating diarrhoea and protecting the gut from harmful bacteria.
●Lactobacillus rhamnosus: Known for its ability to survive stomach acid, this probiotic is great for improving gut health and can help prevent urinary tract infections.
Bifidobacterium lactis: Often found in dairy products, this strain aids digestion and boosts the immune system.
Lactobacillus plantarum: This probiotic is effective in reducing bloating and gas. It also helps in breaking down food and absorbing nutrients.
What are the potential health benefits of probiotics?
●Gut Health: Probiotics can help balance the beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in a smoother digestion and a decrease in bloating and gas.
Reduced Diarrhoea- These are particularly useful in avoiding or treating diarrhoea caused by infections or drugs.
●Boosted Immunity: Probiotics can enhance your immune system, helping you in preventing common illnesses like the flu and colds.
●Mental Well-Being: A growing body indicates a connection between mental and digestive health. Certain probiotics may aid in easing the signs and symptoms of sadness and anxiety
●Reduction of Allergies: Taking probiotics on a regular basis may help reduce the severity of some allergies and eczema in kids.
●Assisting Weight Loss: Certain probiotic strains can help you feel fuller for longer and reduce the amount of fat your body absorbs, potentially aiding in weight management.

Conclusion
Choosing the right probiotics can be great for your health, not just for your gut but for your whole body. They help keep the bacteria in your gut balanced, which is important for good digestion, absorbing nutrients, and staying regular. When opting for probiotic supplements, choose those containing specific probiotic strains that suit your needs. Consult a healthcare professional or a nutritionist for personalised recommendations on the supplements that will benefit you the most.

The author is the Bariatric Surgery, (M.B.M.S, M.Ch, FIAGES, FMAS, FIMSA, Dip.Lap (France), FALS (Bariatric), FIBS (USA), FICRS), Apollo Spectra Hospital, Chennai.

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