Probiotics are live microorganisms that are intended to have health benefits. Products sold as probiotics include foods (such as yogurt), dietary supplements, and products that are not used orally, such as skin creams.
Although people often think of bacteria and other microorganisms as harmful “germs,” many microorganisms help our bodies function properly. For example, bacteria that are normally present in our intestines help digest food, destroy disease-causing microorganisms, and produce vitamins. Large numbers of microorganisms live on and in our bodies. Microorganisms in the human body outnumber human cells by 10 to 1. Many of the microorganisms in probiotic products are the same as or similar to microorganisms that naturally live in our bodies.
Probiotics may contain a variety of microorganisms. The most common are bacteria that belong to groups called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Each of these two broad groups includes many types of bacteria. Other bacteria may also be used as probiotics, and so may yeasts such as Saccharomyces boulardii.
Researchers have studied probiotics to find out whether they might help prevent or treat a variety of health problems, including:
• Digestive disorders such as diarrhea caused by infections, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease
• Allergic disorders such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) and allergic rhinitis (hay fever)
• Tooth decay, periodontal disease, and other oral health problems
• The common cold
• Prevention of necrotizing enterocolitis in very low birth weight infants.
Probiotics are not all alike. For example, if a specific kind of Lactobacillus helps prevent an illness, that doesn’t necessarily mean that another kind of Lactobacillus would have the same effect or that any of the Bifidobacterium probiotics would do the same thing.
Eating Insects may dramatically Help to Improve the Health of the Gut Biome
Recently, there have been many studies and a lot of research around the health of the gut biome, also known as the gut mircrobiota, or what was formerly called the gut flora- literally the name given to the microbes that live in our large intestine.
So what’s the big deal? We know that we have microbes living in our bodies, and that they play important functions. For example, the microbes in the large intestine help with the production of vitamins B and K, the digestion of food that wasn’t digested in the stomach or small intestine, overall good digestive health, and act as a barrier for our immune system.
The new news is that studies and research have shown that there is a strong correlation between the health of the gut biome and mental health. Anxiety and psychosis, are just a few mental states that are affected by the health of the gut biome. The brain acts on gastrointestinal and immune functions that help to shape the gut’s microbial makeup, and gut microbes make neuroactive compounds, including neurotransmitters and metabolites that also act on the brain.” Simply put, the brain and the gut are intrinsically connected in a variety of ways. The brain affects the gut, and the gut in turn affects the brain.
Probiotics have had tons of play in the health and nutrition conversation. Probiotics help stimulate the growth of the microbes in the gut. There are many foods that are a good source of probiotic, that have been in the spotlight for some time, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and miso. For a probiotic to thrive, it needs to ‘eat’ also, and it feeds on prebiotics. Without a prebiotic, the probiotic is practically rendered useless.
What are prebiotics and where can we find them? “In a nutshell, prebiotics are a type of fiber. They are un-digestible plant fibers that already live inside the large intestine. The more food, or prebiotics, that probiotics have to eat, the more efficiently these live bacteria work and the healthier your gut will be.
The exoskeleton of the insect is rich in prebiotic fiber and oligosaccharides. One can find prebiotics in other food aside from insects such as raw chicory root, or raw Jerusalem artichokes, raw asparagus, raw bananas, raw garlic and raw onions. But the beauty of ingesting your prebiotic through insects, is that you can easily add insects in the form of powder into virtually any other food. Insect powder such as cricket powder can be easily be added to soups as a thickener, salad dressings as a nutrient boost, and baked goods and pastas to enrich these foods that are usually devoid of high nutritional value with protein, fiber and other nutrients. Once insects are dry-roasted, the entire insect, fiber-rich exoskeleton included, is milled into a fine powder. The integrity of the benefits is unchanged as the insect morphs from roasted form, to milled form, and into your food.
We know there are many benefits to eating insects. Entomophagy is taking the western world by storm because of its high protein, calcium, iron, B12, and amino acid content, and its relatively small ecological ‘foodprint’ when compared to every other protein source on the planet.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called "good" or "helpful" bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.
Types of Probiotics
Many types of bacteria are classified as probiotics. They all have different benefits, but most come from two groups.
Lactobacillus. This may be the most common probiotic. It’s the one you’ll find in yogurt and other fermented foods. Different strains can help with diarrhea and may help with people who can’t digest lactose, the sugar in milk.
Bifidobacterium. You can also find it in some dairy products. It may help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and some other conditions.
What Do They Do ?
Probiotics help move food through your gut. Researchers are still trying to figure out which are best for certain health problems. Some common conditions they help treat are:
Irritable bowel syndromeInflammatory bowel disease (IBD)Infectious diarrhea (caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites)Antibiotic-related diarrhea
There is also some research to show they help with problems in other parts of your body.