Why take probiotics and when?

Why take probiotics and when?

Probiotic dietary supplements are composed of a strain or synergy of strains of bacteria that are naturally present in the body, and which are associated with or without other micronutrients such as vitamins.

Which probiotics are the most efficient?

Depending on your personal needs, the strains most commonly suggested in dietary supplements belong to the lactobacillus and bifidobacteria families. Widely documented by the scientific community, these two large families are available in a variety of forms. Each has its own function within the ecosystem that hosts it. This is why probiotic dietary supplement formulations will not always be the same.

The intestines: favourite host for probiotics

Researchers are especially interested in the composition of the intestinal flora. This group of bacteria living in symbiosis with their host naturally supports digestive health. The balance of their populations and the diversity of species depends on:

  • good assimilation of nutrients by the enterocytes in the intestinal mucosa,
  • the regularity of the intestinal transit,
  • a reduction in bloating,
  • maintaining a healthy intestinal barrier.

During periods of digestive problems (imbalance following antibiotics, poor transit, etc.), their contribution helps to re-establish a balanced intestinal flora. Different publications demonstrate that Lactobacillus strains can improve intestinal problems.

Probiotics in food

When faced with intestinal problems, the first step is to adapt your diet. Probiotics, are in effect present in foods such as yoghurt, unpasteurised or fermented milk (soured milk), cheese, but also in sauerkraut, or brewers yeast. It would be ill-advised to add too many dairy products to your diet to provide probiotics. 

Probiotic foods

Lacto-fermented foods such as kefir, Kombucha (a fermented, slightly effervescent, sweet black tea) or lacto-fermented vegetables. Preparing them is very simple and the benefits for digestive balance are felt immediately. 

Probiotics or lactic ferments?

They are the same thing! Probiotics are lactic bacteria which ensure the fermentation process by transforming certain sugars into lactic acid. The prefix “Lacto” is not necessarily linked to animal milk! In culinary terms, lacto-fermentation of products is better known as salt-based fermentation.

Which live probiotic should you choose to restore your intestinal flora?

As well as paying particular attention to what you eat, probiotic dietary supplements can help. It is therefore important to choose gastro-resistant strains that will not be weakened by gastric acid or bile salts. The living probiotics will therefore arrive safely in the intestines.

Other criteria to consider: the number of bacteria contained in each capsule. A dose of between 5 to 7 billion bacteria per capsule will guarantee a sufficient intake.

A judicious combination with prebiotics

Probiotic dietary supplements can be combined with prebiotics, these are the fibres in the diet on which the good bacteria feed and which make a major contribution to maintaining the balance of the microbiota. They can be found in fruit, vegetables, grains or in certain dietary supplements formulated to promote digestive comfort and to help restore flora with probiotics.

Probiotics: great allies for the immune system

The importance of the intestinal flora and the bacteria that make it up for immune system function has been well known for decades. Studies are currently extending to the dialogue between the immune cells of the intestinal tissue (GALT), the intestinal lumen and the intestinal epithelial cells. Through this dialogue, the body triggers an effective immune response. A diverse flora combined with healthy mucous membranes provides a natural shield against germs, or even inappropriate responses by the body to pollen.

Probiotics: contributors to vaginal flora?

Probiotics help digestion and regulate transit, so they can be helpful for pregnant women whose digestive systems are suffering as a result of hormonal upheaval. Provided in the right quantities, live micro-organisms such as Lactobacillus acidophilus or Lactobacillus crispatus help to balance the vaginal flora.

Additional information 

Is it alright to take probiotics everyday?

Regularly introducing lacto-fermented foods into your diet has beneficial effects on overall health, and can continue throughout your life! Probiotic supplements, on the other hand, need to be taken in consultation with a health professional and can only be taken occasionally, but over fairly long periods, to ensure that a balanced microbiota is restored.

What are the contraindications to probiotics?

Probiotics should not to be used as a replacement for a varied and balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. You should not exceed the manufacturer’s daily recommended dose. There are specific probiotic formulations for children and babies.

Where are probiotics sold?

In a pharmacy, on the internet, in organic food shops etc. Preferably choose a product made in France, with sourced ingredients and formulations tailored to your needs. The advice of a health professional in a pharmacy or online will help you make the right choice!