These days, media is paying a lot of attention to prebiotics and probiotics. However, all this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt considering it is common knowledge that not everything shown in the news gives you the complete picture. The media is always there to make stories as sensational as possible and is ready to jump to conclusions with even the smidgen of research.
This is why you need to tread very carefully when it comes to things such as these. Probiotics are live microorganisms that help to keep the gut healthy whereas Prebiotics are non digestible food ingredients which help to increase the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the gut. These days, probiotic yogurts, fermented foods, and supplements are becoming highly popular. Bifidobacterium and Lactobacilli happen to be the most prominent names as Probiotics. So, in case you are buying these products do check if these bacteria are mentioned in the ingredients list or not.
How Can These Help With IBS?
It has been seen that some types of probiotics are capable of producing chemicals that can alter functions being performed by the gut. One such function is gut, which is basically the speed at which food moves through that particular area. Then there are some that have been seen to have an effect on inflammation in the area. These results suggest that probiotics could potentially have a role to play as far as management of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) is concerned. Not only that, they can help with IBD or inflammatory bowel disease as well. Unlike probiotics, Prebiotics are soluble, fermentable fibers that are unable to digest in the stomachs. This allows them to progress to the intestines, where they get feed by probiotics and fermented into short-chain fatty acids and these fatty acids keep the gut healthy.
A Few Things To Be Kept In Mind
However, it still needs to be kept in mind that this research is still very much in the initial stages. This is the reason why no clear conclusions can or should be made. The present research shows that by taking probiotics you can get only some marginal benefits in case you happen to be suffering from IBS. There is still no definite answer as to whether they would be able to alleviate symptoms that are related to IBS. More research needs to be done in this regard and it needs to happen over a long period of time as well.
More people suffering from IBS have to be studied so that concrete evidence in this regard can be developed. Only then can there be a sure answer regarding whether probiotics are helpful with regards to IBS. As such, there is no definite kind or strain of bacteria that could be said to be helpful with regards to treating IBS in an effective way. Research has however stated that probiotics with a wide range of bacterial content could be helpful in this regard. The most prominent names, in this case, would be bacteria from genus such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.
Probiotics are, by and large, pretty safe. But before you start taking them you should definitely consult your doctor and dietician. Normally, these products are used as part of the treatment plan that takes care of your digestive health. Your plan should be a complete one in the sense that it should contain supplements and diet. At the same time, you should be able to manage your stress and activity levels as well. As and when you are able to achieve the perfect balance in this regard would you be able to live a life where you do not have to deal with the symptoms of IBS.
A Concluding Note
In the end, every person is different from the other one. It also needs to be said in this context that IBS is a very complex disorder of the gut and it is not realistic to expect it to go away with just a single intervention as such. You can always have probiotics as part of your plan to improve your digestive health and it may help you reduce the symptoms normally associated with IBS as well. Still, the best thing to do in this regard is to talk to your doctor once and learn from her or him as to how to introduce it in your diet and how to monitor the effect that it has on IBS symptoms.