Probiotics Meaning

Probiotics microorganisms are administered to prevent certain health conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders. Probiotics meaning is typically live yeast or bacteria.

In the early 20th century, a study was conducted to show that the ingestion of certain live microorganisms can improve gut health and aid easy digestion. A simple probiotics definition would be to inject or ingest microorganisms, typically yeast or bacteria, that help maintain the health of our gut and prevent gastrointestinal disorders.


Functions of Probiotics

The basic probiotics definition is that they are good bacteria that balance harmful bacteria by eliminating them. These good bacteria help maintain the pH of our gut and keep our health in check. Remember, a healthy gut leads to a healthy body.


Types of Probiotics

While both yeast and bacteria constitute probiotics, it is the latter that has the most types and is most widely used. Here is a list of the most commonly used probiotics-


Lactobacillus

It is a species of bacteria that produces lactase, which is an enzyme that breaks down lactose or milk sugar. Lactobacillus produces lactic acid that helps control the population of bad bacteria in our gut.

Lactobacillus also strengthens muscles and helps increase the body's level of absorption of minerals. It is most commonly found in our mouth, small intestine, and vagina.


Bifidobacteria 

Bifidobacteria is the species of bacteria that is most commonly used in food and its supplements. This bacteria supports our immune system.

It also curbs the growth of harmful or destructive bacteria in our intestine and helps break down lactose into nutrients absorbed by the body.

Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria are the two most popular and most widely used probiotics.


B.Animalis 

This strain of bacteria aids digestion boosts the immune system and fights terrible food-borne bacteria.


B.Breve

B.breve is one of the probiotics bacteria examples present in both our digestive tract and women's vaginas. In both these places, they fight off infection-causing yeast or bacteria.

They help the body absorb nutrients by fermenting sugar and also break down plant fibre to make it easily digestible by the body.


B.Lactis 

B.lactis is a type of probiotic microorganisms. It is found in raw milk and catalyzes the reaction that produces buttermilk, cottage cheese (paneer), and other types of cheese.


B.Longum

This strain resides in the gastrointestinal tract and breaks down carbs. It also acts as an antioxidant.


L.Acidophilus

It is found in the small intestine and vagina and fights off harmful bacteria in both these areas. It is located in miso- a popular Japanese cuisine ingredient.


L.Reuteri 

It is present in the mouth and intestine. It helps the digestive system and is also believed to prevent tooth decay.


Benefits of Probiotics


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According to a study done by the Harvard Medical School, our intestines have approximately a hundred trillion microorganisms from more than 500 species. This mix of species is unique, just like an individual's fingerprint.

Probiotics work by either changing this composition of gut bacteria or changing the existing bacteria's metabolic activity. They work to ensure that the population of good bacteria outweighs that of harmful bacteria.

This curb on the growth of harmful bacteria prevents inflammation, infection, etc. Probiotics at the most basic level help digestion and ensure that our gut stays healthy.

Some strains of bacteria boost our immune system, while others are necessary to produce hormones or vitamins in our body. Even others help in nutrient absorption.


Benefits of Probiotics are-

  • Help indigestion

  • Maintain gut health

  • Prevent diarrhoea 

  • Prevent UTI

  • Ease vaginal infections

  • Strengthen immunity

  • Prevent autoimmune diseases

  • Ease skin ailments 

Foods to add to your diet that have probiotics. By now, it should be abundantly clear that probiotics should be an integral part of our diets. The plethora of benefits that they provide to us makes them a component of our diets.

Before choosing heavy probiotic supplements, you should first include natural probiotic foods into your diet and gradually increase its intake.


Foods that Contain Probiotics are

  • Yoghurt

  • Fermented cheese-cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan, Gouda

  • Miso

  • Pickles

  • Sauerkraut

  • Yakult 


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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Meaning of Probiotics? Where are they Generally Found?

Ans. Probiotics' meaning is simple, and their benefits are even more uncomplicated. Probiotics are live microorganisms, most often bacteria that can be ingested or injected into the body to provide various services. 


While traditionally, they had only been present in certain foods such as miso and yoghurt, now there are probiotic supplements that can be taken to provide the same benefits.


Probiotic supplements are beneficial for those whose cuisine does not include probiotic-rich food. Probiotic bacteria examples like bananas, custard apple, grapefruit, watermelons, lentils, oats, barley, etc. have probiotics.

2. What are the Most Common Types of Probiotic Organisms?

Ans. Bacteria and yeast are the two most common types of probiotics organisms. Within these, it is the strains of bacteria that are used widely in natural food such as yoghurt and also in supplements.


Widely used bacteria include- bifidobacteria, lactobacillus, B.animalis, B.breve, B.lactis, B.longum, L.acidophilus and L.reuteri.


Probiotic bacteria have multiple benefits, including- breaking down carbs, absorbing food fiber, preventing autoimmune diseases, helping in nutrient absorption, muscle fuel, gut health, and more.


Fermented cheese like Swiss, Gouda, and others contain bacteria as probiotics. In fact, the famous Indian probiotic yogurt brand Yakult also uses bacteria as its component.

3. What are the Benefits Provided By Probiotics?

Ans. Probiotics offer a range of services that start from but are not limited to the gut. Most Probiotics have the primary function of keeping our intestines healthy by curbing the growth of bad bacteria. 


Probiotics ensure that diarrhea is prevented, nutrients absorbed, and gut health maintained. They also act as muscle fuel and aid in nutrient absorption in the body.


Probiotics break down carbohydrates and also plant fiber. Some bacteria like B.longum also act as an antioxidant and keep away particular oxygen molecules.


Probiotics are perfect for women as they maintain bacteria health in their vaginas. In case of a urinary tract Infection, taking probiotics helps fight it off faster.