If you’re not a know-it-all when it comes to probiotics, you’re not alone. Here’s a quick crash course on one of the most popular nutritional supplements available.
Probiotics are live, “friendly” bacteria similar to those found throughout your body. Although your digestive system is home to a large concentration of beneficial microorganisms, they’re also found in your mouth, nose, in your joints, under your armpits and between your toes.
How can you consume them?
These beneficial bacteria are found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, kefir, soft cheeses and sourdough. Some foods and drinks (from dips to desserts) have also been fortified with added probiotics.
Probiotics are also available as dietary supplements (capsules, tablets, and powders). Because your personal probiotic needs depend on several different factors — including diet, stress level and exercise habits, to name a few — probiotic supplements come in a variety of different forms, strengths and combinations.
What’s the deal with probiotic strains?
Most probiotics are bacteria similar to those naturally found in people’s intestinal tract. Most often, the bacteria come from two groups, Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium. Within each group, there are different species (for example, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidus), and within each species, different strains (or varieties).
How do probiotics help?
Probiotics play a part in helping to maintain healthy and strong teeth and skin, healthy digestive function and normal immune health.†
Even if you are not a yogurt lover, you can still receive the health benefits of probiotics by taking a daily probiotic supplement!
†These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.