Probiotics are all the rage: touted as a magic multitasking cure-all for digestive distress, skin issues, and even weight loss and mood disorders. Seem too good to be true? It probably is. Or perhaps there’s simply more to the probiotics story. While it is generally agreed that probiotics benefit digestion in healthy individuals, more studies are needed to determine the exact role they play for older adults. And there are certain conditions that mean people should avoid probiotics. Here, we break down the basics of probiotics as well as some important points to consider when choosing your formula. As always, consult your physician before making any changes to your healthcare regimen.
Probiotics, Prebiotics and Why You Need Them
Probiotics are officially defined as live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate doses, confer health benefits upon the host. They are commonly taken in pill or liquid form, but are also found in many readily available foods such as yogurt, kvass, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and tempeh. For healthy individuals, it’s generally recommended to eat one to two different types of probiotic-rich foods daily to reap rewards. When it comes to supplements, it gets a little more complicated. An individual’s microbiome is made up of trillions of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract, along with elsewhere in and on the body, and everyone’s is unique. This means that it can be tricky finding just the right balance of species and strains that will be most beneficial.
Another thing to consider is that for good bacteria to thrive in the intestines, it is critical to make sure they have plenty of prebiotics. Prebiotics are essentially fuel for good bacteria fermented in the large intestine and converted to short-chain fatty acids, which feed the cells lining the colon and have multiple health benefits. Prebiotics are found in high-fiber foods such as artichokes, beans and legumes, asparagus, garlic and oats. Like probiotics, they can also be taken as a supplement in the form of inulin or psyllium fiber — though more studies are needed to determine the ideal dosage and form for optimal efficacy. When probiotics and prebiotics are taken together, they are called “synbiotics” — more on that later.
Things To Consider
With claims of clearer skin, boosted mood, better digestion and improved heart health, it is easy to see why probiotics are getting so much attention. But does that mean they’re right for you? While generally considered safe for most healthy adults and children, there are some conditions that can be exacerbated by supplementing with prebiotics and probiotics. Additionally, because probiotics are considered a supplement, they are not regulated by the FDA. This means that it is not clear whether probiotics purchased at pharmacies and health food stores are high-quality products. In some cases, some lower-quality probiotic supplements do not contain the bacteria strains listed on the label — or the bacteria is no longer viable at the time of consumption. Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering adding probiotics to your diet.
We love Seed Daily Synbiotic, which contains 24 clinically and scientifically studied, broad-spectrum strains to support overall health. Seed also uses a unique prebiotic capsule delivery method that ensures viability through the entire digestive process. Plus, the supplements come in refillable, biodegradable packaging, including a travel-sized tube that fits perfectly into a carry-on. Seed’s extensively researched formula contains specific strains that work to support healthy regularity, ease of evacuation, gut barrier integrity, production of short-chain fatty acids, cardiovascular and dermatological health and the synthesis of B9 and B12. And with rigorous data to support their claims, Seed circumvents the issues that may arise from taking other prebiotics and probiotics, conferring a range of health benefits with just one pill. And that’s something to get excited about.
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