Probiotics Through History
The concept of the probiotics that we are familiar with today is one that started in the early 20th century. When Nobel laureate and “father of probiotics” Elie Metchnikoff opposed that certain microorganisms could improve a person’s health, research started into the world of these tiny, helpful bacteria.
Today, researchers are still looking into the ways in which probiotics might be useful for the general well-being and overall health of the human body. As science and medicine improve, we get closer and closer to learning all of the ways in which probiotics help us and our bodies perform at peak function.[toc]
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are specific types of good bacteria (and in some cases, yeast) that live within each and every one of us – specifically, in our digestive system. Though people are often quick to hear the word “bacteria” and automatically jump to those kinds of things that cause different disorders or diseases, that’s just simply not always the case. In fact, these particular bacteria really are good for you.
As noted by WebMD, the human body is chock full of different, diverse strains of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are certainly on the good side, however. Because of their unique ability to help maintain the health of the digestive system and gut, as well as other important bodily functions, probiotics are something that many people may want to supplement in their diets.
Something to note is that at this very moment, your digestive tract is already home to an increasingly complex array of bacteria. In fact, it’s thought that there may be more bacteria in just the intestines than there are cells in your body.
Probiotics can be found in several places. Though some people take probiotics as a particular supplement or as part of their vitamin and mineral intake, there are other ways to introduce probiotics into your diet. In fact, probiotics can be found in certain types of foods, such as yogurt, specific cheeses, and kimchi. The bacteria is one that is often recommended for those who deal with digestive issues or are looking to help support their overall health.
Why You Should Take Probiotics
If you’re thinking about adding a probiotic supplement to your dietary regiment, you may want to examine where you need the most support. If you’re looking to help promote your digestive and gut health, a probiotic can be useful in bringing good bacteria into your system, as well as in preventing the growth of bad bacteria.
If you’re the kind of person who has suffered from particular digestive-related diseases, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or others, you may want to consider taking a probiotic. It’s important to speak with a trusted medical professional to identify the ways in which you can add probiotics in your diet.
Of course, not all probiotics are created equal. In fact, there are several strains of probiotic that may affect your gut differently depending on your overall health or any existing conditions. Take the time to think about your current diet when considering a probiotic. Do you have any certain dietary restrictions? Are you already supplementing your diet with vitamins? Each of these questions are important to think about when identifying the probiotic that will work best for you.
When To Take Your Probiotics
If you’ve already identified how you’ll be taking your probiotics (whether through supplement or through probiotic-heavy foods, such as yogurt), the next step is to think about how your probiotics will fit into your every day diet and overall routine. As noted by Probiotics 101, timing is very important when it comes to probiotics. In fact, the times at which you take your probiotics may make a huge difference in helping your body absorb the friendly bacteria that it needs the most.
Though many adults are currently taking probiotics for their myriad of benefits, it’s thought that nearly 80% of probiotic users aren’t sure of when the best time is to take them. Of course, if your intake of probiotics is strictly through foods, there may not be a certain situation that is the best. As you will be consuming those foods throughout your day, it’s thought that there isn’t really a noticeable difference in their effectiveness. That being said, if you are taking your probiotics as a supplement, then there are specific times that will help ensure that your body receives the maximum dosage of probiotic.
Many believe that the best time to take their probiotic supplements is on an empty stomach – particularly, first thing in the morning. However, it’s important to note that just like with any living creature, probiotics need certain things to survive; things such as food, water, and warmth. Though there is water and warmth in the body first thing in the morning, it’s not the optimal conditions for probiotic survival and multiplication. That’s why it’s thought that the very best time to take your probiotic supplements is right before or right after a meal.
When you eat alongside your probiotic, you help ensure that as much of the bacteria as possible will make it through the long journey that the digestive tract creates. In addition to nourishing the probiotics, food can help provide something of a buffer against stomach acid. Once the bacteria makes it through the digestive tract, it can successfully survive and multiply to help you get the maximum benefits of your supplement.
Probiotics are an extremely beneficial bacteria for the human body, particularly when it comes to digestive and immune health. Maintaining a healthy gut flora and digestive system is key to your overall well-being, which is why it’s so important to make sure that you’re taking your probiotics correctly and at the right time.
Though research continues on the positive benefits of probiotics, it’s thought that the best time to take these supplements is before or right after a meal. The food that you eat not only helps ensure that the maximum amount of probiotic makes it through your digestive system, but helps provide the right environment for your probiotics to flourish.