Types of Probiotics
Today, many kinds of probiotics are commercially available in foods and supplements. There are many brands too to choose from. Because of so many types and brands, it can be difficult which one is best for different situations as different probiotics work for different purposes. If you are confused about what’s the best probiotics, you’re not alone. To help you understand how to easily select the best probiotics here are the different types of probiotics.
Common probiotics species
- Bifidobacterium: This species is commonly used in supplements and foods. There are over 30 species of Bifidobacterium. They reside in the mouth, vagina but most are found in the large intestine. Some documented beneficial effects include:
- Supports the immune system
- Helps in breaking down lactose into nutrient for the body
- Reducing the incidence of diarrhea
- Aids in digestion and fermentation of carbs
- Protect us from infection by inhibiting the growth of pathogens
- Lactobacillus: This species of bacteria produce lactase that breaks down lactose or sugar milk. They also produce lactic acid creating an acidic environment that helps control the population of bad bacteria. Some species are used in making milk products like yogurt, cheese, and other fermented foods like cider, beer, wine, and pickles. There are over a hundred species of lactobacillus. Some documented beneficial effects include:
- Fermentation of carbohydrates into SCFAs
- They serve as muscle fuel and increases the body’s absorption of minerals.
- Help reduce cholesterol level
- Improve the symptoms of IBS or Irritable bowel syndrome
- Prevent or treat vaginal infections
- Prevent and reduce flu and cold symptoms
- Produce lactic acid which can be very good for gut health.
- Saccharomyces boulardii: boulardii is a unique species of yeast that is used as medicine. It’s effective in treating and preventing diarrhea (antibiotic-associated diarrhea, due to rotavirus), GI tract infections due to C. difficile, and digestive tract infection due to H. Pylori.
Probiotics strains are a genetic subtype of species. Each strain has a different effect on the body. When taking probiotics supplements, you will see probiotics strains on the labels. Below are common probiotics strains that you can see on supplements.
- bifidus: One of the most common probiotics found in the gut. They support the immune system, and aids in lactose digestion.
- infantis: They are beneficial to an infant’s microbiome. They aid in the digestion of milk, minimize GI distress, and increase the infant’s microbiome with healthy bacteria.
- longum: They protect the intestinal wall from bad bacteria while breaking down carbs and proteins like lactose.
- acidophilus: They live naturally in the GI tract and the vagina. They play an important role in human health. The best food sources of L. acidophilus include yogurt, cheese, miso, kefir, tempeh. Other than foods, you can also get this from taking probiotics supplements either on their own or in combination with other probiotics.
- reuteri: This acid and bile resistant probiotics strain thrive in the intestine and mouth. This allows it to survive the GI tract.