Dietary supplements Supplementation

What is characterizing good probiotic?

Hidden fortress:

Inside our body there is a real bastion that supports our immunity. I am talking about intestines, or rather about their "inhabitants". This fortress is inhabited by innumerable numbers of microscopic bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites that support us. When they are in balance, they support our body and live with it in symbiosis. Unfortunately, we do not always appreciate our hidden defenders and sometimes we attack merciless microorganisms. Every day we decimate them with antibiotics, preservatives, improper diet, stimulants, drugs and stress. Our actions can knock intestinal flora out of balance, which will end for us with various unpleasantness - starting from diarrhea, and significantly reducing immunity. So what do you do to fix the damage you have done?

Support on the front:

To provide support for microorganisms, an appropriate probiotic should be used (the name comes from the Greek wording pro bios, meaning for life). Okay, but what exactly is it? According to the official WHO definition, the probiotic is "living microorganisms that, given the right amount, have a beneficial effect on the health of the host". The beneficial effect of appropriate bacteria on our body was discovered and discussed in 1907 by the Russian microbiologist Ilja Miecznikow. The very name probiotic came into existence in 1965. The concept is that live bacteria are introduced into the diet. To function properly, the probiotic must meet the following conditions:

- origin from a man,

- resistance to low pH of the stomach and enzymes and bile acids in the duodenum,

- ability to survive and metabolic activity in the environment of the large intestine,

- the ability to adhere to intestinal epithelial cells and permanent or transient colonization, gastrointestinal tract,

- beneficial effects on the host organism,

- durability and service life during storage and in the unfavorable environment (eg in the digestive tract: low pH, digestive enzymes, growth inhibitors or adhesiveness).

Coming back to wartime comparisons, the probiotic is the mercenary support for the defenders of our hidden fortress. Support that will help restore the balance in the intestinal flora and thus improve our overall health. In addition to restoring balance, a properly selected probiotic will prevent infection of the intestinal tract, reduce the duration (and severity) of rotavirus diarrhea, suppress travelers' diarrhea, supports in antibiotic therapy (in principle, the use of probiotics in that case is obligatory!), Improve the immune system, regulate gastrointestinal motility and they eliminate the effect of lactose intolerance. Powerful support! As you can see at your own request, we can get seriously damaged, so it is worth choosing the right probiotics

How to choose the right support

Unfortunately, it's not easy to choose the right probiotic. In pharmacies there are many products available for every budget, but a large part is money thrown in the mud - sometimes there is a wrong bacterium in them, sometimes it is simply not enough. When reaching for the center in the pharmacy, please read its description. A good probiotic should have a well-defined species of bacteria and the amount of so-called forming units (CFU, or colony forming unit).

In the case of a species, a letter symbol should appear next to the name, which means the name of the strain. The correct determination of bacteria consists of 3 parts: genus, species and strain, e.g. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. The description without the letter GG means that we can deal with the same species of bacteria, but with a different strain. A strain that does not have to have such a beneficial effect. The best-tested probiotics with proven effect are Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Saccharomyces boulardi (which is a species of probiotic yeast). And after you should not reach in the first place.

As for the CFU, there should be billions of bacteria in them. Not all probiotics have a certain optimal amount, but let Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG serve as an example. In his case, the adult should take 5-6 billion CFU, and the child should receive 3 billion CFU.

The correct use of probiotic

First, remember not to use the probiotic together with the antibiotic. The medicine would burn out all the bacteria, along with the beneficial ones. There should be at least two hours to leave, otherwise using a probiotic will make no sense.

And now the most important thing. The probiotic must be used in the form in which it was produced. If we have a preparation in a capsule, we should not pour it on a teaspoon. If we have a powder formulation, we should take it in accordance with the instructions on the packaging. It's a good idea to eat a probiotic with a meal. We use summer fluids to cover the capsule or make up the powder. If you use a powdered preparation, you must eat it immediately after reconstitution in the liquid.

If we want a stronger restoration of our flora, we can use more than one measure. However, it is worth keeping at least an hour apart between them.
It is also worth remembering that a probiotic overdose is difficult. And even if this happens, the only side effects will be minor pain in the stomach and light diarrhea. Not much, but it's better to follow the instructions in the leaflet.

Storing the probiotic

Remember that our microscopic allies do not like light and high temperature. Therefore, it is best to stick to probiotics in appropriate conditions (the kitchen cabinet should be appropriate). It does not hurt (or even is obligatory) to read the information about storage, which is placed on the packaging. Many agents may lose at room temperature, but some must be in the refrigerator. It is worth adding that the probiotics who can stand outside will not hurt the fridge. And the one who has to stand in the fridge loses all its properties under the influence of high temperature. In the summer months (especially when the weather is really sunny), it's worth to store all your supplies in the fridge. Just to be sure.

About author



I am a graduate of the Physical Education course of Western University of Health Sciences. A lot of personal experience with dietetics and activities perfectly compliments my high-school knowledge.

I am the coach of the second class of canoeing. Instructor of swimming, gymnastics, athletics, and pilates. For 16 years, I have been practising canoeing - I have won many medals in international competitions.

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