You have probably seen or read about the reported
health benefits or beneficial bacteria, aka probiotics. It seems like everyone
is telling you to include probiotics in your diet. But when should you consume
them? Which health conditions are more likely to respond to the introduction of
These are important questions. If you want to reap
the optimal benefit from any probiotics, you should know the answers to these
few words about probiotics
The vast majority of probiotics belong to two categories: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Those in the former category are usually found in yogurt, natural sauerkraut, and other fermented foods. This is the most common genus of probiotic, and the numerous species available are usually suggested to help with diarrhea, lung infections, irritable bowel syndrome, vaginal infections, and ulcerative colitis.
The other common genus is found in some dairy
products. Research indicates that Bifidobacterium may help with ulcerative colitis,
lung infections, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome.
should you take probiotics?
Probiotics, aka good bacteria (although some probiotics are yeasts) can replenish the helpful microorganisms that reside in your gut and enhance your immune system. It’s recommended that you take probiotic supplements (and/or foods rich in probiotics) if you are participating in or experiencing any of the following health issues:
of antibiotics. When you take a course of antibiotics,
the drugs are killing both bad and good bacteria in your gut. Therefore, once
you finish a course of antibiotics, take a probiotic with multiple species to
help reintroduce healthy bacteria into your body.
poisoning. If you eat or drink something contaminated with
bad bacteria, which can happen at home or when traveling abroad, taking
probiotics can help destroy the bad guys. In fact, if you are planning to
travel to a foreign country, you should take probiotics before and during your
problems. If you are experiencing a rash, hives, psoriasis,
acne, or eczema and dietary changes haven’t provide any relief, consider adding
probiotics to your treatment approach. Digestive enzymes may also be a welcome
issues. Gastrointestinal conditions such as gas, diarrhea,
Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and constipation may be alleviated
by taking probiotics. At the same time, however, you should evaluate your diet
and make changes that may be contributing to your complaints, such as
eliminating processed foods, dairy, gluten, soy, and/or fried foods.
issues. The brain and gut are connected, and both are
homes for neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, that are involved with mood.
Therefore an imbalance in your gut bacterial environment can have an impact on mood
swings, depressive symptoms, anxiety, and stress.
to boost your immune system. Even if you strive to follow a
healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get sufficient sleep, the stresses of
life and the vast array of immune system invaders that surround us, such as
cold and flu viruses, can take a toll on your immune system integrity. Use of
probiotics can help boost the immune system and guard you against illness.
Following a regimen of probiotics use around cold and flu season is suggested
for you and your family.
and asthma. Some research has indicated that taking probiotics
can reduce symptom severity of asthma, and also use of medication for this
respiratory condition. If you have food allergies, probiotics may be helpful as
well, since many food allergy cases are associated with leaky gut.
of yeast infections. Candida and other yeast infections can
affect both men and women. These infections are a sign of an overgrowth of
harmful bacteria in the body. Taking probiotics can help chase away the bad
bacteria and relieve you of symptoms associated with the overgrowth. It’s also
helpful to significantly reduce or eliminate white sugar and other sugary foods
from your diet, because bad bacteria feed on sugars.
A healthy balance of bacteria is essential in your gut for overall health. Therefore, you should consider taking probiotics for a wide variety of reasons. Look for high-quality probiotic supplements that provide a variety of genera and species for optimal gut, colon, and immune system health.