A probiotic is a food or a pill containing live “good” bacteria. Your gut comprises hundreds of types of bacteria that all breakdown food. However, eating processed food or refined sugars can feed “bad” bacteria in your intestine and disrupt the balance of your microbiome. The probiotic contains new “good” bacteria that can reinstate the equilibrium.
Having a good gut biome has a greater effect than facilitating the breakdown of food, around 2/3 of immune function is located in the gut, and 95 percent of serotonin, a mood-enhancing chemical, is created in the small intestine. Additionally, having a deficient gut biome can have more of an adverse effect than slowed digestion. A poor gut biome is responsible for minor stomach issues. 62 percent of people worldwide say they experience acute digestive failure such as constipation or diarrhea at least annually. A deficient gut biome could also lead to potentially life-threatening conditions. Twenty million Americans suffer from chronic digestive diseases like type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer.
Probiotics aren’t the only form of supplement that can help your gut biome. Prebiotics are supplements containing certain carbohydrates and fibers that aren’t digested by humans but feed the beneficial gut bacteria causing them to multiply faster. Another supplement is immunobiotics. Immunobiotics are heat-killed bacteria, similar to live bacteria in a probiotic. These dead bacteria stimulate the already existing bacteria, causing them to colonize. Immunobiotics have the benefit of being safer for immunocompromised patients than live bacteria in a probiotic. Additionally, immunobiotics don’t require refrigeration and have a longer shelf life.
The full array of benefits of probiotics, and their counterparts are still not fully fleshed out. However, we do know that the gut has many important roles that need to be maintained. Probiotics offer an easy way to keep your gut biome healthy, which could prevent countless complications in the future.