How are Probiotics Beneficial for Your Health?

Dr. Rajkumar Vinod Desai

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Rajkumar Vinod Desai

General Physician

4 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Probiotics contain both bacteria and yeast such as Saccharomyces boulardii
  • Have probiotic supplements in the form of pills, food, powder or as liquids
  • Probiotics help manage medical conditions like eczema, sepsis and diarrhea

Probiotics are substances that contain live strains of bacteria or yeast. You may know that your body contains both good bacteria and yeast. There is a good balance of these organisms in your body. When you encounter an infection, harmful germs disturb this balance. 

Taking probiotic supplements is an effective way for you to add good bacteria to your body. These substances help boost your immune system and can be also called immunity-booster foods. If you are wondering what immunity is, it is nothing but your body’s defense mechanism. Different cells and organs make up your immune system, and one of them are T cells. T cell immunity is important for eliminating harmful pathogens from your body. When the pandemic affected us, the main aim of vaccination was to develop herd immunity. This is the immunity gained by the whole community. In simple words, this means that an entire herd becomes immune to a specific disease. 

Additional read: Will Herd Immunity Against COVID-19

Understanding these facts is important as including probiotics in your diet can boost your immune mechanism [1]. Read on to know more about them, their benefits and side effects.

What are probiotics, and where do they live in your body?

Probiotics are a combination of live beneficial bacteria or yeast in your body. These healthy bacteria normally reside in your gut. While your body houses these good bacteria naturally, including them in your diet in the form of probiotics also helps. They work to reduce the number of harmful bacteria, which are responsible for causing inflammation in your body [2]. 

You can consume them in the form of fermented foods like yoghurt and kimchi [3]. To improve digestion and gut health, you may also have a combination of prebiotic and probiotic capsules. They help you absorb essential nutrients while boosting your immunity. Prebiotics are compounds that help good bacteria to flourish in your gut. In simple words, prebiotics function as food sources for probiotics

Though beneficial probiotics live primarily in your gut, you can also find them at other places such as:

Probiotics benefits

How do probiotics work?

When you encounter an infection, the number of harmful bacteria increases. The main function of probiotics is to maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in your body. These substances get rid of harmful ones and restore good bacteria. These good bacteria perform the following functions:

  • Produce vitamins
  • Help in digestion
  • Eliminate harmful bacteria
  • Help in the absorption of medicines

The two most common types of probiotic bacteria include:

  • Bifidobacterium
  • Lactobacillus

Since probiotics are also made up of yeast, Saccharomyces boulardii is the most common type of yeast used as for this purpose. 

Keep in mind that you don’t always have to rely on probiotic supplements. Since good bacteria is present in your body, all you need to do is eat a nutritious diet rich in fiber to ensure they remain in balance.

Do probiotics help you lower the risk of certain medical conditions?

Yes, they help in reducing the risk of certain conditions such as:

  • Eczema
  • Constipation
  • Yeast infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Sepsis
  • Diarrhea
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Upper respiratory infections

Probiotics Beneficial for Your Health 47

What foods do you need to have to increase good bacteria in your body?

You can boost the number of good microbes in your body by having immunity-booster foods. You may be aware of the importance of vitamin C in improving your immunity. Have foods rich in it like citrus fruits, spinach and bell peppers. You may also take garlic for immunity building. Apart from these, foods rich in probiotics include:

  • Buttermilk
  • Yoghurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Tempeh
  • Fermented pickles
  • Miso
Additional read:  Garlic Boosts Immunity

Are there any side effects of probiotics?

While probiotics are beneficial for your health, be aware of their side effects. If you consume more than the prescribed dose, you may experience bloating and other digestion issues. When you first start taking them, you may develop allergic reactions. So, read the ingredients properly before you buy these supplements. If you have preexisting medical conditions or a weak immune system, avoid them before consulting a doctor. 

How should you take probiotics?

There are different ways of having probiotics such as:

  • Liquids
  • Drinks
  • Foods
  • Capsules
  • Powders

Now that you know about probiotics, make an effort to have them! If you are planning to take probiotic supplements, consult a doctor before you start. You can connect to top specialists on Bajaj Finserv Health in seconds. Book an online doctor consultation before you start taking probiotics and boost your immunity!

Published on 22 Feb 2022Last updated on 5 Apr 2023

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Rajkumar Vinod Desai

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Rajkumar Vinod Desai

, MBBS 1


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