Prebiotics—the “food” dots in the image above—are a form of fiber and the food source for probiotics: the organisms living in Pac-Man’s gut. When probiotics and prebiotics are taken together, they help to optimize function of the gut, increase healthy probiotics, and decrease bad bacteria. Prebiotics also promote normal colon transit time, enhance absorption of calcium and magnesium, and help produce the fatty acids that are responsible for colon health.
Probiotics are the good bacteria and yeast that live in our intestinal tract. There are many types of probiotics, and each play a different role in our gut. Benefits of probiotics may include keeping us regular, helping eradicate diarrhea, reducing lactose intolerance, improving the immune system, and many others. Foods that contain natural probiotics include yogurt, kefir, aged cheeses, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, kombucha, beer, wine, and more.
Going to the supplement store and trying to find a probiotic can be overwhelming. There are so many manufacturers that produce probiotics with varying strains and colony counts, and manufacturing live probiotics can be complicated. Which one is best? In Brain Maker, by Dr. David Perlmutter, he focuses on the key strains you should look for, as well as the appropriate dose. Make sure your probiotic contains 10-50 billion units—or colony-forming units (CFU)—per capsule and at least five core strains. Also, make sure the manufacturer is processing their probiotics in a way that ensures live organisms.
Look for these five core strains:
- Lactobaccilus plantarum
- Lactobacilus acidophilus
- Lactobaccilus brevis
- Bifidobacterium lactis( also known as B. animalis)
- Bifidobacterium longum
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