Healthy bacteria is not only necessary for keeping us healthy but also for keeping us alive. Learn how to keep balance with your bacteria with probiotics.
By now, most of us are aware we need the healthy bacteria, also known as probiotics, to not only stay healthy but to stay alive! When there is an imbalance, or proliferation, of the bad bacteria, that’s when a number of problems can be experienced, including leaky gut and autoimmune issues, constipation or other digestive problems, blood sugar problems, illness and poor immunity, and many others.
In fact, having proper healthy gut bacteria is likely to be even more important than we may have previously thought. A quote from Jason Best in his article entitled “Drinking Diet Soda and Not Losing Weight? Blame Your Gut Bacteria” for Take Part says:
“We are host to an estimated 100 trillion microbial species, only a fraction of which are potentially harmful. That, in effect, means we’re only about 10 percent human, as Pollan pointed out in The New York Times last year. For every one human cell in our body (those cells containing the DNA we inherited from our parents), there are about 10 microbes. Keeping all those bugs happy—including, perhaps, keeping them away from artificial sweeteners—could help keep our bodies healthy and happy too.”
This paints a pretty vivid picture of just how essential a lot of good bacteria is to our body. In summary, having plenty of beneficial bacteria constantly in our guts is vital for optimal health and life!
However, when we go to look for a probiotic food or supplement, we see a list of various probiotic names and options. What’s the difference? Is one better than another? Which should I buy? Below, we will discuss the different main probiotics and how they contrast.
Lactobacillus is one of the main beneficial bacteria types you’ll find. There are, however, more than fifty different categories, or species, of this lactobacillus bacteria. The good news is you won’t need to know or recognize fifty separate names, as each of the fifty different species will begin with the word lactobacillus followed by the secondary name. For example, lactobacillus acidophilus is one common type, and lactobacillus blugaricus is another. This is one reason why this type is more commonly found, or known. Lactobacillus can be found naturally occurring inside the body, particularly in the digestive, urinary, and genital regions of the body. Additionally, lactobacillus can be found in yogurt and yogurt-containing foods, fermented foods, and any supplements that list lactobacillus.
Lactobacillus bacterias have been linked in studies to help treat or prevent yeast infections, urinary tract infections, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, certain skin problems such as eczema or acne, and respiratory infections.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a well-known and common probiotic. This type in particular is an ideal strain for maintaining the health and strength of the intestinal walls, allowing for maximum absorption of nutrients, as well as supporting a properly functioning, strong immune system.
Lactobacillus fermentum is another common strain. This type is especially helpful for neutralizing the toxic products formed during digestion, as well as helping to promote a proper and healthy balance of gut bacteria.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus is a strain commonly referred to as the traveler’s probiotic as it is particularly helpful for preventing or treating traveler’s diarrhea.
Bifidobacteria is a second main type of beneficial bacteria. There are approximately thirty different categories of this type. This type of healthy bacteria is typically mostly found in the digestive tract (colon) in the body. Like lactobacillus, bifidobacteria is named with bifidobacteria listed first, followed by the secondary name.
A common bifidobacteria strain called bifidobacteria bifidum lives in both the small and large intestines, and is needed for proper digestion and is particularly helpful for digestion of dairy foods.
A second common bifidobacteria strain found is known as bifidobacteria longum, and helps get rid of the bad bacteria that can cause poor health. Additionally, this strain helps neutralize the toxins that accumulate in the gut from poor diet, unhealthy digestion, and so forth. Bifidobacteria longum has the particular ability to help efficiently break down carbohydrate foods without causing excess gas.
Due to the length of the name, this type of beneficial bacteria is often shortened to S. boulardii. This type of good bacteria is the only yeast (therefore a fungus) probiotic, similar to baker’s yeast, and is more strongly linked than the other probiotics to helping to treat diarrhea and acne, as well as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.