What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘Bacteria?’ I’m willing to bet whatever it may be, it’s not ‘Stronger immunity.’
But what if I tell you some bacteria are actually good for our health?
Well, probiotics aren’t something new. They have been around for as long as we humans have existed.
But it is only in the last thirty years that probiotics have been studied with the amount of depth it has been.
The microbes (microscopic organisms) found in our body can be divided into two categories, those that are beneficial to us and those that are not.
Probiotics are those microbes that are good for us.
In this Strain Probiotic article, we will learn about the different strains of probiotics and how they are beneficial to us.
How Do Probiotics Work?
When probiotics enter your body, they cause something called “competitive adhesion” to take effect.
What is competitive adhesion? When any bad bacteria or anything harmful to your health enters your body, it must attach to a cell before it can cause any damage.
What good bacteria or probiotics do in this case is that they attach to the cell in place of the stuff that can cause you harm. So, probiotics essentially fight off harmful bacteria before they can cause any damage.
Probiotics also bring in many perks of their own besides just replacing the bad stuff, such as giving you a stronger digestive system, improving your gut health, and creating vitamins.
This is how these bacteria function in our bodies.
What Are the Different Types of Probiotics?
The types of probiotics are varied, although there are two that are most commonly used.
These probiotics are further divided into different strains, each having different benefits.
A strain is a genetic variant of a probiotic. There are many different strains of probiotics, and we will discuss some of them below.
Probiotics in the market as supplements are divided into single-strain and multi-strain. Multi-strain probiotics differ from single strains in the way they are composed.
Plus, these contain more than one Strain or specie of bacteria in their formation, while single strains have only one.
Are Multi-Strain Probiotics Better Than Single-Probiotics?
It might come as intuitive to think that multi-strain probiotics are better than single strains simply because one has more species than the other. But it is difficult to say with certainty that such is the case.
In fact, a study was done on this topic in 2018, where scientists tried to identify evidence that multi-strains were better than single-strains or that combinations of strains cause unwanted side effects.
The result was that both types of probiotics induced similar results.
What Are Some of the Most Common Strains Of Probiotics?
Probiotics are largely divided into lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. There are other types of probiotics as well, but they are less common.
Each Strain of probiotics has different benefits. We will discuss some of the strains of these probiotics.
As the name suggests, it is a species of lactobacillus probiotic and also produces acid in your stomach. It produces lactic acid by breaking down lactose with lactase enzyme.
If you have high cholesterol, then Lactobacillus Acidophilus can help you by lowering your cholesterol levels. Many other strains do this, but Lactobacillus Acidophilus is the best variant for this job.
L. Acidophilus reduces the risk of high cholesterol by 7 percent more than yogurt, according to multiple studies. A study done on 300 hospitalized children under the age of 2 found that Lactobacillus Acidophilus reduces diarrhea.
It also prevents diarrhea in adults, according to other studies. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or I.B.S., is another stomach disease that can be cured by Lactobacillus Acidophilus. I.B.S. is mainly caused by certain types of bacteria in the intestines.
Multiple studies have found contradicting results on whether Lactobacillus Acidophilus cures I.B.S. or not.
However, a closer analysis of the studies will show that taking low dosages of Lactobacillus Acidophilus for a short period of time does help reduce the pain while mixing it with other strains or taking it for too long does not.
The vagina is one of the locations where Lactobacillus Acidophilus is prominently found. L. Acidophilus helps reduce vaginal infection by increasing the production of lactobacilli (another type of bacteria) in that area. This fights off infections like vaginosis and vulvovaginal candidiasis.
Whether Lactobacillus Acidophilus contributes to weight loss is subject to more investigation.
Some studies have been done to show that Lactobacillus Acidophilus promotes weight loss, but later it was found that what was thought to be Lactobacillus Acidophilus in the study was actually another species altogether.
Another study has found that a mixture of strains did contribute to weight loss, and among them was Lactobacillus Acidophilus. So take this with a grain of salt.
Lastly, like most probiotics, Lactobacillus Acidophilus is important for maintaining a healthy gut.
The lactic acid produced by Lactobacillus Acidophilus maintains the lining of your gut and fights off other harmful bacteria.
Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid that improves gut health. Lactobacillus Acidophilus ensures this and other similar substances are in high amounts in your gut.
Lactobacillus Acidophilus increases gut health is also the main takeaway from this section, as most of these benefits are directly or indirectly related to the gut.
This particular Strain’s specialty is its ability to survive in both acidic and normal conditions within the body.
Lactobacillus Rhamnosus can also stick to your intestine walls better than most strains and colonize them.
The benefits of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus mainly focus on the digestive system and also on some other areas as well.
Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus saprophyticus are two harmful bacterias that can cause Urinary Tract Infections (U.T.I.s) in women. Lactobacillus Rhamnosus is a strain that can kill off these bacteria and prevent U.T.I.s from happening.
Lactobacillus Rhamnosus can reduce cavities in children’s mouths by fighting harmful bacteria.
A placebo-controlled study was also done to test its effectiveness in adolescents. The study used 108 children and found that Lactobacillus Rhamnosus reduces bacteria and gum inflammation in the mouth.
Just like Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus can also help against diarrhea.
There are many types of diarrhea, some more harmful than others. If diarrhea is persistent, then it can cause dehydration.
A large study where twelve other studies were reviewed found that Lactobacillus Rhamnosus can help against antibiotic-related diarrhea.
A deficiency in Lactobacillus Rhamnosus in your body has been linked with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Lactobacillus Rhamnosus can also cause some symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, such as abdomen pain to die down according to studies.
This Strain does not only stop other harmful bacteria by itself, but it can also cause other good bacteria like Clostridia, Bacteroides, and bifidobacteria to grow in your intestines. They all act together to colonize your intestines and stop bad bacteria from doing the same.
Some other benefits of the Lactobacillus Rhamnosus strain include possible weight loss, reduction in blood cholesterol, and less acne.
This Strain comes from the Bifidobacterium genus and has strong effects in boosting immunity in our body. It uses white blood cells from our veins and reduces infection.
Eczema is a skin disease that creates scaly patches in your skin. It mostly happens in children, but adults can also be afflicted by it.
Bifidobacterium Bifidum can reduce eczema in newborns.
A study with 112 pregnant participant women showed that Bifidobacterium Bifidum reduced the chances of eczema in infant children significantly more than children who were given a placebo.
Another placebo-controlled study with 122 people showed the effectiveness of Bifidobacterium Bifidum in reducing Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
After four weeks of trial, the group given Bifidobacterium Bifidum showed reduced levels of IBS-related pains in 47 percent of the participants.
The placebo group, on the other hand, had no significant changes.
Other areas where Bifidobacterium Bifidum can help include constipation, lung infection, pouchitis, restoring the bacteria in your intestines after taking chemo, etc.
Bifidobacterium Infantis is another strain from the bifidobacterium subgroup. This Strain is primarily found in your gastrointestinal tract and oral cavities.
Bifidobacterium Infantis helps maintain a healthy digestive system and other gut-related health conditions.
Abdominal pain is a significant issue for people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Although Bifidobacterium Infantis may not be able to get rid of your I.B.S. completely, it will reduce the pain in your abdomen, according to research.
Gas, bloating, and inflammation are also issues tackled by this Strain of probiotics.
The inflammation-reducing properties of Bifidobacterium Infantis manifest more in patients suffering from ulcerative colitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and psoriasis.
More research is required to learn more about this bacteria’s benefits and potential dangers, as little scientific attention has been given to Bifidobacterium Infantis.
Research has shown that if you have antibiotic-associated diarrhea, then Lactobacillus Bulgaricus can relieve you. However, the same study has also said that more research is needed to fully ascertain the effects of probiotics to cure this type of diarrhea.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or IBD, is a group of diseases that causes inflammation in your digestive tract.
Lactobacillus Bulgaricus can prevent many forms of IBD from causing digestive issues.
Some studies have shown that Lactobacillus Bulgaricus may prevent constipation. However, the research on this is based on tests on mice.
Another animal study indicates that some probiotics, including Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, can improve mental health. ADHD and depression can potentially be treated by this Strain, according to research.
Other benefits of Lactobacillus Bulgaricus include that it helps against the common cold, eczema, tooth decay, colic, oral health issues, and liver diseases.
How to Choose the Right Probiotic Strain?
The key to choosing the right probiotic Strain is knowing what you want from it.
Probiotics are not a cure-all remedy for any disease. Different strains behave differently in your body, and they all have different qualities that help to serve your health in more than one way.
You first must identify which Strain is suitable for which illness and if you have that illness.
Some diseases can be cured by multiple strains, though some strains are better than others at curing certain diseases. Identify the ones that fit perfectly for you.
If you are taking your probiotics from supplements, then research the brand you are buying from, and see if they have a history of producing trusted products and how the users have reviewed them.
Probiotics are generally sensitive to heat. Check the shelf life of the particular probiotic you are getting and if it requires refrigeration.
Colony Forming Units, or CFUs, are a very important part of choosing the right probiotics as they determine the quality of the product.
Generally speaking, anything above 1 million CFUs per gram is a minimum. A good supplement of probiotics will have above a billion CFUs.
Are Probiotics Safe? – What Are the Side Effects?
Probiotics, as friendly bacteria, are generally safe. However, there are some concerns regarding certain people with certain medical conditions.
People with a weaker immune system should avoid taking probiotics as they may also manifest the unfriendly side of the ‘friendly bacteria.’
If you had a recent surgery or have been in an accident that weakened your insides, then it is safer to avoid probiotics.
It is possible to develop harmful byproducts by consuming probiotics in a frail body. It might also cause infections and resistance to antibiotics.
Some people may have allergic reactions to probiotics. Some side effects supplement users have reported they are gas, bloating, and stomach upset.
As always, consult a doctor or your trusted medical expert to know if any of these applies to you.
Dosage Recommendations for Probiotics
The recommended dosage for probiotics will vary depending on the brand or the source of your probiotics.
The dosage of probiotics is measured by using Colony Forming Units or CFUs. The daily recommended intake for probiotics will be somewhere between 1 to 10 billion CFUs. This might sound like a lot, but it really isn’t when it comes to things you can’t even see with your naked eye.
What is important here is that you remain consistent in your intake and do not take it for a quick and fast solution.
There are no age restrictions for taking probiotics.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the natural sources of probiotics?
Natural sources of probiotics include yogurt, kefir, kimchi, buttermilk, cottage cheese, miso soup, etc.
Can probiotics negatively interact with antibiotics?
Yes, antibacterial medicine is generally consumed to kill off the harmful bacteria in your body. However, it also kills good bacteria or probiotics in the process.
So, taking probiotics after consuming antibiotics is probably a good idea.
Is it possible to overdose on probiotics?
No, you cannot overdose on probiotics. Instead, it is more likely that you will underdose on probiotics since the intended effects of these medicines do not always come to fruition from little dosages.
How long does it take for probiotics to take effect?
The effects of probiotics are only sometimes immediate. The timing of the results depends on a myriad of things, including the user’s health condition, the species of probiotics, the CFU, etc.
Are probiotics safe for pregnant women?
Yes, it is recommended for pregnant women to take probiotics as it is beneficial for both the mother’s and the child’s health.
Probiotics are living organisms that reside within our bodies. This interdependent relationship benefits both humans and bacteria.
Many varied types of bacteria can be categorized as probiotics. Of them, there are many subgroups called strains. Each Strain offers us different benefits depending on the illness we have.
Fermented food like yogurt, kefir, yeast, etc., are homemade sources of probiotics. Probiotics also come in supplements. These supplements can be further divided into single or multi-strain probiotics.
Probiotics are excellent remedies for gut health issues, digestive diseases, diarrhea, inflammation, IBS, etc. We hope you found our article on Strain probiotics helpful.
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About Jordan kally, MA, CSCS