Probiotics: Basics

Guest article by Shwetha Bhatia

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts often called “good” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy and boost the immune system. They are naturally found in your body. When you lose “good” bacteria (like after you take antibiotics), probiotics can help replace them.

Lactobacillus & Bifidobacterium are common strains found in fermented foods, supplements and dairy like yoghurt.

Proven benefits seen in:

  • Allergies & inflammation
  • Brain health
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Cholesterol management
  • Vitamin production
  • Mineral Absorption

Their efficacy relies on their ability to survive passage through the gastrointestinal tract and colonize a tissue section. Typically, a probiotic should contain several billion microorganisms to increase the likelihood of adequate gut colonization. Read labels before purchasing them.

Ideally they should be taken on an empty stomach, 30 minutes before a meal. Patients should be instructed to separate administration of antibiotics from these bacteria-derived probiotics by at least two hours.

Use with caution in those with a compromised immune system.

Shwetha Bhatia is a registered dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association. She runs her practice under the brand name “Metamorphosis’ in Mumbai. She is also a competitive fitness athlete (IBBF Bronze winner at the State & National Level 2015). She has also set up her own gym and nutrition counselling centre in Goa called Gym & Tonic. She’s also a columnist for the fitness magazine Krunch Today.

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