There are many different types of probiotics (the ‘friendly’ bacteria for your gut) but what do they actually do? Dear Doctor gets the facts from Rawbiotics.
What are probiotics and why are they so important to our diets?
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that assist and aid the body. To name but a few benefits they have multiple functions and are vital for the absorption of food, maintaining the immune system and maintaining the digestive system. They are the antithesis of pathogens, which cause disease.
How can poor gut health affect my overall health?
Without the correct balance of microorganisms, the body is unable to assimilate the nutrients, victim and other essential elements that maintain a good and healthy metabolism. This leads to weaknesses in areas of the body that culminate in some of the many ailments that beset our modern society.
Are there any harmful side effects to consuming probiotics?
No. Provided only that they come from a reliable manufacturer and are in a bio-available form.
Can taking probiotics interrupt the efficacy of my prescription medication like antibiotics?
Always consult your medical practitioner if you have any doubts. Under most circumstances, there should be no problems whatsoever. In fact, most medical practitioners recommend and encourage the use of probiotics whilst taking antibiotics.
Is it safe to take probiotics when pregnant or nursing?
Generally, yes, but always conduct your GP if you have any doubts.
What is the difference between probiotics and prebiotics?
Probiotics are the actual microorganisms themselves. Prebiotics are the food for the probiotics so that they can live and replicate.
There are many probiotic varieties available – which is the most effective?
The most effective will always be a probiotic that is in the most natural state possible. Probiotics are often lyophilized (freeze-dried) in order to make them into tablet form. This is obviously not a natural state and a high percentage of such probiotics are totally ineffective when introduced into the human body. The revivification (bringing back to life) also takes time and often the tablet form probiotics have passed through the system by the time they "wake up".
What foods naturally contain probiotics?
Almost all 100 percent natural, unprocessed, unrefined foods contain probiotics in their natural state. Unfortunately, this type of food is impossible to obtain due to food safety regulations in most countries. The only place you could find them is direct from the farm, as our ancestors did.
Do probiotics need storing in the refrigerator?
Depends on the probiotic in question. Probiotics in general are called "Mesophilic". This means that they like living around our body temperature of 37 degrees C. If the probiotic is truly alive, raw and stable, it should not need refrigeration. The reason that many are refrigerated is to slow down their growth and extend the shelf life so that they can function when introduced to the body. At least, that’s the theory.
Is it safe for my child to take probiotics?
Absolutely! Children in particular require probiotics in order to utilize the nutrients in their food during their growing years. In addition, probiotics will help them to develop a robust immune system that will set them up for a long, healthy life.