What Exactly Are Vegan Probiotics? How about gut health, and do supplements help?

Maintaining a healthy digestive system is essential to being healthy overall. Here’s where you can find vegan probiotics and some background information on them if you’re interested.

Vegan probiotics are supplements that contain beneficial bacteria or yeasts that are typically found in fermented foods. These supplements are free from any animal-derived ingredients, making them suitable for individuals following a vegan diet.

Probiotics, in general, are live microorganisms that can confer health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. They are known to improve gut health by restoring the balance of the gut microbiome, which is the collection of microorganisms that live in our digestive tract. A healthy gut microbiome is important for overall health, as it plays a vital role in digestion, immune function, and even mental health.

While some vegan foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and tempeh, naturally contain probiotics, vegan probiotic supplements can provide a more concentrated and consistent dose of these beneficial microorganisms.

Studies have shown that probiotic supplements can help improve digestive health, alleviate symptoms of certain digestive disorders, boost immune function, and even improve mental health. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of probiotic supplements may vary depending on the specific strain of bacteria or yeast used, the dosage, and the individual’s unique gut microbiome.

In addition to taking probiotic supplements, maintaining a healthy, plant-based diet rich in fiber and fermented foods, staying hydrated, and reducing stress can also help support gut health. It’s always a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements or making significant changes to your diet.

So, what exactly are probiotics for vegans?

Vegan probiotics help keep a healthy balance of friendly bacteria in the stomach, much as probiotics found in dairy products. Bacteria and yeast are technically live microbes; nonetheless, vegan probiotics do not include any animal ingredients. Yet they don’t eat animal products. These bacteria, in contrast to, say, hens or cows, are not conscious and lack neural systems. So, no worries, vegans may still have sourdough bread and pickles if they so want.

The term “gut microbiome” is used interchangeably with “gut microbiota” and “gut flora” to describe this collection of bacteria. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are common examples found in food. You’ve certainly noticed “produced with living cultures” on the box of recently introduced vegan items at the grocery store. There’s a lot of buzz around probiotics these days, and for good reason: they’re shown to maintain your body in peak shape. Some of the positive effects on health that they have are listed below.

  1. Improved Digestive Health

The benefits of probiotics for the digestive system are multifaceted. Many studies have shown that they may aid in the prevention of constipation in adults. Lactobacillus, on the other hand, has been shown in a number of studies to significantly reduce diarrheal illness in young children. A 2014 meta-analysis suggested they could help with IBS as well, however additional study is needed to determine the precise effect.

  1. A stronger immune system

By promoting a healthy ratio of beneficial to pathogenic microorganisms in the digestive tract, probiotics may boost the immune system’s ability to combat disease-causing microbes. Virus resistance and immunological response were found to be enhanced by the use of probiotics, according to a review published in Current Opinion in Gastroenterology in 2014. It has been demonstrated that probiotics can help prevent urinary tract infections in vaginal users.

  1. Fewer cases of eczema and other allergic reactions

Some people who are allergic to milk and other dairy products may find that taking probiotics helps alleviate their symptoms. (Or you may go for non-dairy alternatives made from plants.) Further study is needed, however studies show that they may help lessen eczema in children and newborns.

  1. Enhanced psychological and mental performance

There are some eerily comparable functions between your brain and your stomach, so much so that it has been dubbed your “second brain.” To begin with, it’s responsible for the production of neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid, all of which have a role in regulating mood. Several recent research have linked gut health to psychological and cognitive well-being, as reported by Harvard Health. More study is needed to fully understand the link between gut health and mental health, as is the case with the other possible advantages of probiotics on this list.

Plant-based foods rich in probiotics

Foods fermented by bacteria are a good source of probiotics since it is one of the oldest techniques in cooking. Such examples include kimchi in Korea, tempeh in Indonesia, miso in Japan, and sauerkraut in Germany, which has its roots in China from the time of the Great Wall’s construction about 2,000 years ago.

Milk is used in the production of several fermented foods that are good for the digestive tract. Besides the well-known yogurt and kefir, fermented dairy products can be found in a wide variety of international cuisines, such as the lassi, a fermented yogurt drink from Punjab, India; the fermented Buffalo milk called dadih in Indonesia; and the strained yogurt-like fermented dairy food, skyr, from Iceland. Also, the Japanese probiotic milk drink Yakult. Vegan probiotics used to be hard to come by, but now they can be found in most supermarkets because to the public’s newfound interest in gut health.

The following are examples of probiotic foods that are suitable for vegans:

  • Some dairy-free yogurts are created equal. Forager Project Unsweetened Plain Yogurt, Cocojune Organic Cultured Coconut Yogurt, and Trader Joe’s Organic Creamy Cashew Cultured Yogurt are all excellent examples of dairy-free yogurts manufactured with living cultures. Alternative
  • Pickles : Try to find the words “naturally fermented” on the bottle.
  • Kimchi: Shrimp and fish should be checked as ingredients.
  • Kombucha: Use it to make the Watermelon Wonder Maria mocktail 
  • Miso: The healthy bacteria in broth are preserved when the heat is turned off before miso is added.
  • Sauerkraut While being a mainstay in Germany since the 1600s, has its roots in China, during the time the Great Wall was being constructed, over 2,000 years ago.
  • Sourdough is fermented with Lactobacillus bacteria, which are good for the digestive system.
  • Vitamins, look for the word “vegan” on the packaging.

Can you get the same benefits with a vegan probiotic supplement?

The advantages of consuming probiotics through food and the use of probiotic supplements may be same. May be the key term here. How effective they actually are is yet unknown at this time. Moreover, probiotics are sold as “dietary supplements” in the United States, which is a grey area governed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Companies have the legal right to make unproven health claims under FDA regulations. This implies that there is no assurance that you will receive the quality supplement that you paid for. Although it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure the safety of their goods, experts advocate getting probiotics through dietary sources instead.

Conclusion… 

Although experts believe more study is needed, the number of studies concluding that probiotics are excellent for our general health is encouraging. The focus on gut health through functional foods is here to stay, thus vegan options will continue to proliferate on the market. Precision fermentation dairy-free yogurt, anyone?

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