Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that help you maintain good health and digestive balance. They are essentially the “good bacteria” you hear so much about. Probiotics occur naturally in the body and are also available in supplement form as well as probiotic-rich foods. There are different types of probiotics, the two chief strains are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium
Probiotics and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There have been many studies conducted on the topic of probiotics and stomach problems with mixed results, but a good number have found a link between probiotics and the control and maintenance of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The International Foundation of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD
) states that probiotics can be advantageous in easing such symptoms of IBS as bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Other studies have shown improvement in other stomach conditions such as Crohn’s disease as well but more research is needed.
Can Probiotics Help Ward off Yeast Infections?
Good bacteria such as lactobacillus may have a disinfecting quality against harmful bacteria and fungi such as yeast. It helps establish a healthy balance of helpful microorganisms
and prevent overpopulation of yeast in the vagina. Further research is needed on the topic, but many doctors suggest that women who experience recurrent yeast infections take acidophilus probiotics to help prevent future outbreaks.
Probiotics May Provide Additional Benefits
Aside from aiding with IBS and vaginal health, probiotics can offer an array of other health benefits as well such as:
- Replenishing beneficial bacteria after antibiotic use
- Certain probiotics can potentially help lower bad cholesterol
- Aiding oral health and hygiene
- Taming skin issues such as eczema
- Improving with immune function and cold prevention
- Helping take the edge off allergies
- Some evidence suggests probiotics can be beneficial for depression
Available Sources of Probiotics
Probiotics are present in some food products, most infamously yogurt. Dr. Edward Group of the Global Healing Center
lists such foods as kefir (a fermented dairy product), pickles, sauerkraut and dark chocolate as being high in beneficial probiotics as well. Milk, soy milk, and olives also contain probiotics. Or you can choose from a vast selection of daily probiotic supplements as well such as Align
or RepHresh Pro-B
to get your daily ‘good bacteria’ fix.
Use Probiotics Wisely
Probiotics are considered safe for most people, but it you have a serious immune problem or health condition, probiotics may not be safe for you to use. As with any dietary supplement, is important to research brands of probiotics that are safe and reputable as supplements aren’t as closely regulated as medications. You should also talk to your doctor before starting probiotics or any supplement to make sure none of your medications or conditions conflict with them.
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