Do probiotics survive digestion?
Stomach acid is designed to break down proteins, both for digestion and to prevent harmful bacteria from entering our bodies. It is pretty harsh stuff, and certainly does kill a lot of bacteria, both friendly and harmful.
Some probiotics definitely make it through our digestive system alive.
Here’s some of the evidence:
- A number of studies have looked at the survival rates of various strains of bacteria, and found that certain strains digestion. From my quick look at the research, L.gasseri, L. acidophilus and B. bifidum all survive, especially if they are in a dairy culture.
- There are a lot of health benefits associated with eating probiotic foods. So some probiotics must make it through our stomach to improve gut health.
- If you’ve ever had a strong reaction to a new probiotic food, then you are proof that probiotics make it through our digestive system.
Probiotics For a Healthy Microbiome
A microbiome is all of the microorganisms (yeasts, bacteria, fungus) that live on our body. Our body is a micro (tiny) biome (home). It isn’t just in our digestive system, our microbiome is also on our skin and in our lungs. In fact there are more microorganisms in our body then human cells.
- Eating probiotic rich foods helps our whole microbiome to be healthy and vital.
- Making homemade fermented food actually changes the microbiome in our homes, which improves the microbiome on our skin and in our lungs.
- Our microbiome is influenced by the microbiome of those around us. In fact close knit communities have their own unique microbiome.
- What we eat also greatly affects our microbiome. For example, someone on a paleo diet will have a fairly different microbiome from someone on a vegan diet. And making a change to your diet will rapidly affect your microbiome, which is why it is important to maintain a healthy microbiome diet.
So is a probiotic rich diet worth the effort of homemade ferments? I certainly think so!