By Kane Dhammananda Harrianto

What is probiotic

I’m sure you guys know about bacterias right ?! You must be thinking about bacterias that are causing diseases, however not all bacterias are harmful. Some of them are “good” bacterias that can bring beneficial effects to us. That “good” bacterias are also known as probiotics. Hmmm, it sounds like prebiotic. Don’t mix up probiotic and prebiotic though, probiotic is the microorganism while prebiotic is non-digestible fiber that promotes the activities or growth of microorganism in the intestinal tract. Probiotics themselves are non-pathogenic microorganisms that can give positive effect in human body. Probiotics are very important to humans life and in the making of fermented foods like tempeh, yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir and many more.

Probiotics effect in human body

Some of the beneficial effect of probiotics in our body include prevent the growth of pathogenic bacterias in the gut, reduce the symptoms of acute infectious diarrhea, increase lactose tolerance, strengthen immune system, help our digestion system, reduce depression, and many other amazing things.

History of probiotics

Probiotics have been used since ancient times to produce yogurt. It was dated back to the 6000 B.C. in Indian Ayurvedic scripts that fermented milk products brought health benefits. Genghis Khan, the founder of mongol empire also made his armies to eat yogurt because he thought that it made them brave. In the early 20th centuries russian zoologist, Élie Metchnikoff found out that people who drank yogurt tend to live longer than those who didn’t. Bacterias that could produce lactic acid are used in the making of yogurt . They convert lactose, which is found in milk and dairy products, to lactic acid which will thicken the milk and gives the yogurt characteristic acid flavor. Nowadays, Bifidobacterium sp. and Lactobacillus sp. are the most common probiotics used in supplements and functional food. They are available in pills or in dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, milk and others.

How to get the best of probiotics?

In order to obtain the best effects of probiotics in yogurt, they must be stored at around 4°C or in the fridge because bacterias don’t survive well in higher temperature s.Yogurt is better eaten 30 minutes before eating any meal as the stomach is less acidic before eating and that will ensure the bacteria’s survivability until they reach the gut. Fun fact: low fat yogurt is not that good because probiotics grow better in fatty condition. Normal yogurt is much better because it has the fat that can protect the probiotics and help them survive to reach the gut. While in probiotic pill, it must be in dry and cool temperature because in wet condition, it will activates the bacterias activity and the bacterias don’t have the condition to survive as there are no nutrients for them inside the pill.

Probiotics lethality

Can you get poisoned by probiotics? Yes you can. I know, i just said that they are beneficial but everything that are too many are not good. If consumed in large amounts probiotics will cause some side effects including mild stomach discomfort like diarrhea, bloating, and nausea but these side effects usually are gone by itself in a few days. However, probiotics are not recommended for people who are immunocompromised, like HIV and organ transplant patients. Probiotics can be very deadly for them as they can cause serious secondary infections.

How many probiotics can be taken

There is a certain amounts of probiotics that can be taken. The best daily intake of probiotics are around 1- 10 billions colony-forming units(CFU) where normal yogurt usually contains around 1 million CFU per gram while a single probiotic pill contains 1-10 billions CFU. so one probiotic pill have already fulfilled the daily intake of probiotic intake and consuming anymore yogurt is not recommended unless your health advisor told you so.

References

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  • Goldin, B., & Gorbach, S. (2018). Clinical Indications for Probiotics: An Overview. Retrieved 24 March 2018, from https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/46/Supplement_2/S96/278134
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