What exactly are Probiotics? They are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, as well as assisting in blocking the bad bacteria. The word Probiotic actually means “for life”. Our bodies are full of good and bad bacteria, and probiotics provide you more of the "good" bacteria, which is essential to your health and your digestive system. This type of bacteria helps to destroy undigested foods. As Experience Life mentions, "Good bacteria act as microscopic bouncers for the bowels, waving in desirable nutrients and slamming the door on dangerous viruses and killer bugs."
Probiotics are also beneficial in strengthening your immunity, helping in weight loss, oral health, brain function, cholesterol, blood pressure, IBS, infection and your overall general health. Evidence has actually suggested that probiotics are also useful in preventing toxins from being released and producing anti-infection agents. Probiotics are especially important to take if you are on any antibiotics, due to the fact that a great deal of the good bacteria is actually lost during that time.
Probiotics are naturally found in some foods such as yogurts, miso, kefir, tempeh and also in different supplements. Ideally they should be taken regularly to help keep the digestive system in balance and function optimally. They will also help restore normal flora, and when supporting the immune system function, it can actually wipe out intestinal bacteria aimlessly. For probiotics to go into effect, they could take hours, a few weeks and even up to months depending on the number of organisms you intake.
Several probiotics require refrigeration, while others may not. The reason that these probiotics would need to be refrigerated is due to bacteria, which is sensitive to heat and moisture. Mentioned on Consumer Lab, "Heat can kill organisms and moisture can activate them within pills, only to die due to lack of nutrients and a proper environment. These products should ideally be refrigerated and kept out of humidity. However, probiotics with freeze-dried organisms (which includes most sold as supplements in tablet or capsule form) and in packaging to prevent moisture, such as blister packs, generally do not need refrigeration or to be kept out of humidity but should still not be exposed to heat above room temperature. They also have longer shelf-lives than products containing live cultures, such as yogurts and drinks (which must be refrigerated). Probiotic yeast and some of the spore-forming bacteria, such as Bacillus coagulans, generally do not require refrigeration." The probiotics on the shelf are not as powerful as those that should be kept refrigerated. All in all, Probiotics are very beneficial to incorporate into your daily life!
Written By: Elizabeth Cunningham