Probiotics have taken off in the supplement market in recent years. Probiotics are considered the good bacteria that makes up some of your gut microbiota – the tens of trillions of microorganisms and mixed bacteria in your gut and intestines. They are naturally found in yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, kombucha, pickles, some types of cheeses, and in supplements. Probiotics support your gut microbiota and promote digestive health.
Your gut microbiota can have an impact on your well-being by affecting your immune system, metabolism, and even mood. Probiotics can improve or restore your gut microbiota. Often you don’t hear about what feeds your healthy gut bacteria though. Those are called prebiotics. Prebiotics are the non-digestible ingredients (aka fiber) in foods that feed the probiotics. With prebiotics, probiotics can flourish and thrive. Prebiotics can be found in garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, bananas, barley, oats, apples, jicama root, flaxseeds, and more!
How Much Probiotics to Take
There are so many different probiotic organisms that there currently is no set dosage. Your body’s current gut bacteria also play a role into what strains might be more effective. For one common strain of probiotic, Lactobacillus acidopcillus, a dosage can range from 1 billion to billion live organisms (colony forming units or CFU) taken daily divided in 3 to 4 doses. Interested in taking a probiotic? Take to you doctor or registered dietitian first. Probiotics could interact with medications such as antibiotics or immunosuppressive drugs.
Overall, eating a balanced amount of both the pre- and probiotics is great way to get the right balance of these bacteria that can help improve your health!