What are probiotics? Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be consumed in foods or supplements. They are often referred to as “good bacteria” because they help to maintain a healthy balance of microorganisms in the gut. With so many types of probiotics available, it can be challenging to know which ones are the most beneficial. This article provides an overview of the 10 most common types of probiotics and their potential health benefits.
Probiotic Species and Strain Names: How Probiotic strains get their names
Probiotic strains are named according to a specific naming convention based on their genus, species, and strain identifier.
The genus refers to a group of microorganisms with similar characteristics, while the species refers to a specific type of microorganism within that group. For example, the genus Lactobacillus contains numerous species of probiotic bacteria, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus rhamnosus.
The strain identifier is a specific code that is assigned to each probiotic strain to differentiate it from other strains within the same species. This code can include a variety of information, such as the location where the strain was isolated or the name of the researcher who discovered it. For example, the strain Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 was discovered by a researcher named Dr. Khem Shahani and was given the unique identifier DDS-1 to distinguish it from other Lactobacillus acidophilus strains.
Having a consistent naming convention for probiotic strains is important because it allows researchers and healthcare providers to accurately identify and compare different strains. This is particularly important when evaluating the efficacy of probiotics in clinical studies, as it ensures that researchers are working with the same strains of probiotics.
Different strains of probiotics can have different health benefits, even if they share the same genus and species. For example, the strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG has been shown to be effective in preventing and treating antibiotic-associated diarrhea, while other strains of Lactobacillus rhamnosus may not have the same effect.
When selecting a probiotic supplement, it’s important to choose one that contains strains that have been shown to be effective for your specific health concerns.
3 Common Genera of Probiotics
Probiotics are a diverse group of microorganisms that offer numerous health benefits. While there are many different types of probiotics, common types of probiotics can be broadly categorized into three main genera: Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Saccharomyces.
Bifidobacterium is a genus of bacteria that is commonly used as a probiotic in food and dietary supplements. It is a gram-positive, anaerobic bacteria that is naturally found in the human gut. There are many different species of Bifidobacterium, and some of the most common types of probiotics include Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Bifidobacterium longum.
Bifidobacterium has been shown to have a number of potential health benefits, including improving gut health, supporting the immune system, and reducing inflammation. It is thought to do this by promoting the growth of other beneficial bacteria in the gut, producing antimicrobial substances, and stimulating the immune system.
Research has also suggested that Bifidobacterium may have a role in reducing the symptoms of certain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Lactobacillus is another common types of probiotics, which includes many different species that are found in a variety of fermented foods and supplements. Some of the most common Lactobacillus species found in Probiotics include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus casei. Lactobacillus is known for its ability to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can help improve digestion and boost the immune system.
In addition, certain strains of Lactobacillus have been found to be effective in reducing the risk of vaginal infections by maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in the vaginal microbiome. For example, Lactobacillus crispatus and Lactobacillus jensenii have been shown to be particularly effective in preventing and treating bacterial vaginosis.
Other research suggests that certain strains of Lactobacillus may also be beneficial for individuals with eczema.
Saccharomyces is a genus of probiotic yeast that is commonly found in fermented foods such as beer and bread or supplements. Saccharomyces boulardii is one of the most common types of probiotics from the Saccharomyces. It is often used to treat diarrhea caused by infections or antibiotics.
In addition to its ability to treat diarrhea, Saccharomyces boulardii has also been studied for its potential to improve other digestive issues and leaky gut syndrome. Some studies have also suggested that Saccharomyces boulardii may have immune-boosting properties and could be helpful in preventing and treating certain infections.
The 10 Most Common Types of Probiotics
Out of the three frequently encountered probiotic genera, here are the 10 most common types of Probiotics and their benefits:
- Bifidobacterium animalis: This strain is known for its ability to break down lactose and produce lactic acid, making it useful for improving lactose digestion and overall gut health.
- Bifidobacterium bifidum: This strain is commonly found in the human gut and has been associated with improved immune function, gut health, and digestion.
- Bifidobacterium lactis: This strain has been shown to support digestive health, enhance immune function, and improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Bifidobacterium longum: This strain is commonly found in the human gut and has been associated with improved digestive health, immune function, and even mental health.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus: This strain is commonly found in the human gut and has been shown to improve lactose digestion, support the immune system, and help prevent vaginal infections.
- Lactobacillus plantarum: This strain has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and to support digestive health.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus: This strain has been shown to support gut health, improve immune function, and even prevent respiratory infections.
- Lactobacillus reuteri: This strain has been associated with improved digestive health, immune function, and even mental health.
- Lactobacillus casei: This strain has been shown to improve digestion, boost immune function, and even reduce the risk of certain infections.
- Saccharomyces boulardii: Unlike the other strains mentioned, this is a yeast strain that has been shown to improve digestive health and reduce the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
While the specific benefits may vary between different strains, the 10 most common types of Probiotics share some common features. They work by colonizing the gut and supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria, which can improve digestion and boost the immune system. They also produce enzymes and other compounds that can help break down food and reduce inflammation in the gut. Additionally, it could be easy to find them in fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
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Adding Probiotics to your everyday diet
Now that you know about the most common types of probiotics and their potential health benefits, you may be wondering how to add them to your everyday diet. Fortunately, Probiotics can be found in a variety of foods and supplements, making it easy to incorporate them into your daily routine. Adding them to your everyday diet is a simple and effective way to improve gut health and overall well-being.
One of the easiest ways to add Probiotics to your diet is by consuming fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso. These foods contain live and active cultures of beneficial bacteria that can help improve your gut health. Thus, it’s important to choose those that are made with live and active cultures and do not contain added sugars or preservatives when selecting fermented foods.
Another way to add common types of Probiotics to your diet is by taking a daily probiotic supplement. These supplements come in a variety of forms such as capsules, powders, and liquids and contain a variety of probiotic strains. It’s crucial to pick a probiotic supplement that includes strains that have been demonstrated to be beneficial for your particular health issues.
In addition to consuming probiotic-rich foods and supplements, it’s also important to eat a diet that supports a healthy gut microbiome. This includes consuming a variety of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources. Avoiding processed and high-fat foods, and limiting your intake of alcohol and caffeine can also help improve your gut health.
By consuming these most common types of probiotics food, taking a daily probiotic supplement, and following a diet that supports a healthy gut microbiome, you can help maintain a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut and support optimal health.
Keep in mind that Probiotics provide many health benefits, but they are not a universal solution for all health issues. Therefore, it’s recommended that you consult with your healthcare provider before introducing probiotics to your diet, particularly if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are currently taking medications.
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