Biotics is a term that you may have already heard before on bags of medication prescribed by your doctor, or even on food labels for items like yogurt, or miso broth. The word itself is used to describe a small living creature that is part of a larger community of living things. For example, and antibiotic is a type of biotic that is part of the microbiota able to help fight off common infections. However, there are many more types of biotics, and some of them can be very beneficial to your health.
How Many Different Types of Biotics Are There?
If you don’t know a lot about biotics here is a short breakdown of the basics.
* This is a term you are probably familiar with, as it is a common medication you can get prescribed from your doctor to aid in the healing process from common infections. Anti-biotics are pretty much just what they sound like, as they aim to kill off harmful biotics that live inside your body, and can make you sick. However, because of their ability to kill off pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi, they may also kill off beneficial strains of bacteria needed to help keep you healthy. For this reason, many health professionals recommend that people taking anti-biotics for an infection also take a probiotic supplement to help maintain high numbers of friendly microbiota.
* This is the type of microscopic bacteria that lives just about everywhere in (and on) your body. Scientists suggest that there are an estimated 100 trillion types of microbiotia living in your digestive system alone, and that doesn’t include the little buggers that call your mouth, teeth, and skin “home.”1
Probiotics are also known as “live active cultures,” and you may have already heard of them if you look closely on food labels. They can be found inside probiotic foods like kefir, yogurt, dark chocolate, microalgae, pickles, and kimchi.
* This is a nutrient found in dietary sources of fiber like apples, and it is the food that the friendly strains of bacteria (probiotics) like to eat. So, it’s a great idea to eat as many prebiotic foods as you can, if you want to boost the population numbers of beneficial microbacterial strains living in your body including lactobacillus. However, unfriendly strains of bacteria like E. coli tend to eat more junk foods, like sugar, processed foods, and fast food. So, ideally you’ll want to add more prebiotic foods to your diet every day in order to get the most from the probiotics you consume.
* This is a term to describe a synergistic combination of probiotics, and prebiotics. This concept is the preferred way to increase the number of beneficial bacteria living in your body without having to add many different new foods to your diet. Synbiotics are generally supplements.
How Can Biotics Help Me?
Biotics can be very important in maintaining your overall health. However, while many people already know about anti-biotics, they may NOT know just how vital prebiotics, and probiotics can be. Here are just 4 ways biotics support your overall health.
1. Digestive Balance. As mentioned earlier, there are an estimated 100 trillion living microbacteria inside your digestive tract, and they work hard to keep the “bad” bugs at bay as you eat sugary foods, and processed snack items that feed their populations. However, if you add more probiotics to your diet, you’ll find that they help to balance the overall ecosystem of bacteria in your body, known as the microbiome.2
2. Regularity. For people who struggle to keep their digestive system regular, probiotics may help. In fact, one study showed that participants who consumed probiotics were able to increase intestinal transit time, thus supporting regular elimination of the bowels.3
3. Immunity. Numerous studies have revealed the vital role of gut health, and microbiome balance in the functions of your immune system including the inflammation response, and the production of infection fighting T-cells.4,5
4. Clear Skin. Until recently, researchers didn’t realize just how powerful probiotics could be. However, a study on the connection between gut bacterial balance, and acne was investigated, and the results showed that the administration of probiotics, both internally, and topically may help improve the skin in those suffering with acne.6
Biotics are powerful living substances used for centuries to help keep you healthy. Today, you can use biotics in any form to keep harmful pathogens from entering your body, or causing damaging infections. And remember that the combination of probiotics, and prebiotics offers these 4 best health benefits from biotics.
1. Caitriona M. Guinane, Paul D. Cotter. Role of the gut microbiota in health and chronic gastrointestinal disease: understanding a hidden metabolic organ. Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2013 Jul; 6(4): 295–308.
2. Peera Hemarajata, James Versalovic. Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: mechanisms of intestinal immunomodulation and neuromodulation. Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2013 Jan; 6(1): 39–51.
3. Chang Hwan Choi, Sae Kyung Chang. Alteration of Gut Microbiota and Efficacy of Probiotics in Functional Constipation. J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2015 Jan; 21(1): 4–7.
4. June L. Round, Sarkis K. Mazmanian. The gut microbiome shapes intestinal immune responses during health and disease. Nat Rev Immunol. 2009 May; 9(5): 313–323.
5. Hsin-Jung Wu, Eric Wu. The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity. Gut Microbes. 2012 Jan 1; 3(1): 4–14.
6. Whitney P Bowe, Alan C Logan. Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis – back to the future? Gut Pathog. 2011; 3: 1. Published online 2011 Jan 31.