How Probiotics Affects the Microbiota
Our intestinal microbiome contains billions of microbes. All these microbes compete with one another for nutrients and space. Usually, in a healthy individual, a delicate balance exists between the good bacteria and disease-causing bacteria. Sadly, when harmful bacteria take over, this delicate balance becomes disrupted. This leads people to ponder whether taking probiotic supplements can bring back the balance.
Probiotics are live organisms that provide tons of health benefits when taken in an adequate amount. The health benefits associated with probiotics include:
- Promoting the balance of intestinal flora
- Aiding digestion
- Supporting the immune system
- Enhance and restore the health of the microbiome
Probiotic bacteria have been used to treat a variety of diseases for decades. These treatments were first suggested in the early nineteenth century based on observations of deficient Bifidobacterium in children suffering from diarrhea, suggesting giving them oral Bifidobacterium would repopulate the microbiota and improve their health.
Probiotic bacteria are found in fermented dairy products like kefir and yogurt and other fermented products like miso, kimchi, and tempeh. But fermented foods rarely contain enough clinically verified probiotic strains to have any effect on health. Therefore, it is crucial to obtain a probiotic supplement that has been clinically proven to be effective.
Benefits of Probiotics to the microbiota
As live microorganisms, probiotics can influence the microbes that colonize the gut. Although they are few in numbers, they can exert effects on the microbiota as they travel through the GI tract. They grow, interact, and metabolize with resident microbes. Probiotics use the same mechanism as colonizing microbes to improve health. They can impact the microbiota indirectly by influencing the immune system, which influences the colonizing microbiota.
Aside from strengthening the immune system and aiding digestion, a balanced microbiome has other far-reaching effects on the overall well-being that scientist is only beginning to unravel. Interestingly, studies shows that the microbiome may have a profound influence on mood, weight loss, mental, dental, and skin health.
Probiotic effects on healthy adults
The gut microbiota provides various useful properties such as fermentation of non-digestible fibers. The gut microbiota also supports the growth of microbes that produces the short-chain fatty acids. However, changes in the gut microbiome due to dietary changes can happen within days.
Probiotics may induce changes in the microbiota and stabilize the microbial communities. They help improve the overall health and well-being by:
- Supplanting the missing aspect of the resident microbes
- Enhancing the endogenous populace
- Animating the resident microbiota
The effects of probiotics on the microbiome greatly vary. Studies show that healthy microbiota is resilient to temporary dietary changes. Furthermore, study results also reveal that probiotic supplementation in healthy adults can boost the concentration of supplement-specific bacteria. Evidence also supports the role of probiotics in improving immune system responses, bowel movement, stool consistency, and vaginal lactobacilli concentration.