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Probiotics are beneficial bacteria found in foods or supplements.
Simply put, probiotics contain live bacteria that are meant to help populate «good» bacteria in your gut microbiome. The idea behind probiotics is that a healthy gut microbiome can be conducive to better overall health, and may help specific conditions like Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or even vaginal yeast infections. But, the these bugs is quite controversial and a lot of studies are still underway to fully understand how they work.
What do probiotics do?
When it comes to probiotics, it’s important to understand that there are a plethora of different strains of probiotics that can all have potentially different effects on your body. So even though it is difficult to explain how each strain works, the concept behind the popular probiotics on the market is similar — to populate healthy bacteria in your gut.
«The theory with probiotics is that they mimic the effects of our intact microbiota. In other words, just like our healthy gut microbes, these probiotics should optimize our immune system, reduce inflammation, inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria, correct leaky gut and restore gut barrier integrity, reestablish intestinal motility, even improve mood,» Dr. Bulsiewicz says.
You can purchase probiotics in supplement form, but they are also found naturally in food — particularly food that is fermented. Examples of probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut.