WHAT ARE PROBIOTICS?
They are live cultures of “good bacteria” that benefit our digestive systems and boost our immune systems.
‘Probiotics are micro-organisms (microflora) that reside in our intestine. They are good bacteria that keep pathogens (harmful micro-organisms or bacteria) in check, aid proper digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function.
Probiotics have been researched extensively, showing positive results for an array of conditions ranging from asthma and allergies, to skin disorders and vaginal and urinary infections. They crowd out bad bacteria, preventing its ability to host in the body, which inhibits infection, inflammation and disease.’
WHAT CAUSES A DEFICIENCY IN GOOD BACTERIA?
There are any number of reasons why you might have a deficiency:
- Exposure to chemicals in water, food, the air you breathe.
- Lifestyle habits
In other words, modern life.
WHY MIGHT YOU TAKE PROBIOTICS?
Antibiotic means anti-life, which is the exact opposite of probiotic (meaning pro-life). When you take a course of antibiotics, the good bacteria is killed off as well as the bad bacteria of the infection. So many doctors recommend a probiotic supplement when you FINISH your antibiotic.
If you recently have had food poisoning, or a dicky tummy, it is possible that bad bacteria has made a home in your body. Taking a probiotic will fight off these bad guys and get your digestion and bowel movements back to normal.
(When in India last year, Graham and I took a probiotic before and during the trip and I was never sick and though Graham ate something suspect, he was only ill for a morning)
There is plenty of research to show probiotics MAY be HELPFUL for many gut problems: constipation, diarrhoea and inflammatory bowel problems.
In addition, they help the body to absorb nutrients, making sure your body receives the vitamins, minerals, fats and amino acids from the foods that you eat.
Even though I have an excellent diet, I have a problem with constipation (it began in pregnancy) and twenty years ago I had a hemorrhoidectomy. It was horrific by the way. Digestive enzymes have helped me in the past, but now I have moved on to probiotics because of their added benefits.
Probiotics boost the immune system and strengthen the body’s defences against illness.
(Another good reason for my change to probiotics is because my white blood cells and neutrophils are way below normal).
There is more and more evidence of a link between the gut and the brain and microflora (probiotics) could be important in helping ensure serotonin levels are flourishing in the gut and help with mood. It may even improve memory.
Good news for me with because of my MEMORY concerns.
Serotonin is a hormone-like neurotransmitter that creates positivity and feeling of happiness.
If you suffer from recurring yeast infections or Candida, then this is a good indicator that there is an over-growth of bad bacteria in the body. The best way to bring it back into balance is with probiotics – or good bacteria – which crowd out the bad bacteria, helping to relieve the body of the symptoms attributed to the over-growth.
I was amazed when my acupuncturist recommended that I use the probiotic topically for my recent attack of thrush. But funnily enough, my local pharmacy also recommended it. And guess what, it worked when the over-the-counter cream did not.
Seemingly, if you suffer from acne, eczema, rashes, hives, or psoriasis, it’s most likely due to poor digestion and an imbalance in gut bacteria. Many health practitioners recommend using probiotics, while also cleaning up your diet.
It is certainly worth trying.
WHAT IS THE BEST PROBIOTIC?
The best is the best one for you. It might be a case of trial and error. It also depends on WHY you are taking it. For example, as I said there are specific probiotics for CANDIDA.
Different brands of probiotics can contain anywhere from one to 10 billion colony-forming units or CFUS. As it turns out, a daily dose of 1 billion to 10 or 15 billion organisms can constitute a good dose, the exact amount is based upon the severity of the situation.
The stylist daughter uses Symprove religiously and swears by it. You can learn a lot more about it HERE
I currently use Bio-Kult which seems to suit me perfectly.
But there are a plethora of different brands out there, so I definitely recommend getting advice from a pharmacist, doctor or health practitioner. You need to get the right one for you.
THE BEST TIME TO TAKE THEM
I read numerous articles on this and there was no consensus. Some health professionals recommended first thing in the morning, some last thing at night. Others said straight after meals. I take one after breakfast and one last thing at night and it works for me.
CAN ANYONE TAKE PROBIOTICS?
Everyone is unique and therefore should either seek a medical/health practitioner’s advice or use their best judgment when taking probiotics.
Different brands of probiotics can contain anywhere from one to 10 billion colony forming units or CFUS. As it turns out, a daily dose of 1 billion to 10 or 15 billion organisms can constitute a good dose, the exact amount is based upon the severity of the situation. And I imagine start with a small dose.
People who have immune deficiency or are being treated for cancer should only take probiotics with their doctor’s permission.
My friend Eugenia wrote a wonderful post on probiotics and explains how you target specific symptoms with the right strains and it is a must read HERE.
BEST FOOD SOURCES
- Greek yogurt
Don’t start taking probiotics without talking to your doctor/ pharmacist/health profeesional about whether probiotics might help you.
I have GG on them now as I am determined to keep him as healthy as possible. Did I tell you that he is an OAP now and he needs a little extra looking after? I want to get a lot of use out of that free travel pass he has just been given. Only joking!
Thanks for reading.
Love Hilda x