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Probiotics - They Actually Work

Bacteria in your GUT- Aren't they pretty?
Probiotics are live bacteria and eating or drinking them can have a profound beneficial effect on your health.  Before you say "ewww", let's look at the science and why the right bacteria is essential for our well-being.

The human gastrointestinal (GI) tract is filled with millions of microbes known as microbiota.  Your microbiota is specific only to you and was started at birth when you acquired the bacteria from your mother.  Over the years it continued to evolve depending upon your gender, geography, health and diet.  If you took antibiotics, it probably knocked out your good intestinal microbial environment for at least a month.  Some strong antibiotics affect the gut for up to 4 years.

Probiotics are bacteria found in foods and a number of digestive illnesses are helped by taking them.  They prevent the growth of bad bacteria, they lower intestinal pH (thereby preventing  bad bacterial growth) and they increase the production of mucin which acts as a blockade and prevents bacteria from adhering to the intestinal wall.

Here are some ways Probiotics can help:
  • Can reduce crying time in breastfed babies with colic.
  • Can prevent travelers diarrhea
  • Can help with infectious diarrhea symptoms
  • Can reduce the risk of antibiotic associated diarrhea
  • Can reduce diarrhea in patients receiving pelvic radiation
  • Can reduce atopic eczema and asthma in children
  • Can improve atopic dermatitis in adults
But all probiotics are not the same and different strains and strengths  exist.  They are alive so it is important to know the manufacturer and what bacteria it contains.  Here are some brands I recommend and Whole Foods Market also carries fresh yoghurt and dairy products that are filled with good probiotics.

DanActive or Florastor:  Good to take along with antibiotics (if you MUST take an antibiotic) to prevent diarrhea in 60% of cases.  Start it with the antibiotic and continue for at least a week afterward.  Take it two hours apart from the antibiotic dose.

Activa: 1-2 servings a day for two weeks can help regulate the digestive system

Culturelle : 2 capsules a day treat infectious diarrhea and can be taken during a trip

Align: Good for IBS symptoms of pain, bloating and flatulence.  1 capsule a day

Remember, your GI tract should be in perfect homeostasis with your natural microbiome if you eat healthy.  If it gets thrown off, restoring the bacteria with Probiotics can help.
Read more about your microbiome here!


kA said…
So I am familiar with the science behind probiotics and I have been taking it for some time now, however I am more concerned about the die-off effect of such probiotics. I was effected by Giardia Lamblia in 2011, and my stomach haven't been such since then. I think currently I have two issues with my gut:

1) Leaky Gut
2) Low in good bacteria. (I have been taking Bulgaria Yogurt for some time now which got 90 billion good bacteria, however I sense that there are some die-off effects for such probiotics. Just need to know what's your say in this, and if you suggest and recommendation?
Unknown said…
Your post is really good providing good information.. I liked it and enjoyed reading it. Keep sharing such important posts.
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Can Probiotics be taken daily ?
Sharon P said…
Dr. Brayer suggested the Whole Foods brands after months of digestive agony from antibiotic given during surgery? traveling? drinking bad water somewhere? Who knows? But within ONE day motility returned, painful gas was gone, and I felt like eating again instead of the stuffed feeling. I eventually bought InSync probiotics and take one caplet every day along with plain Kefir either alone or in a small smoothie. It has been a miracle!
Thanks for this nice and informative blog, Glad to come on this blog..
Probiotics are a brave new world! We have to be cautious to separate the marketing from the medicine. We have to realize that the use of these products is in many cases ahead of the science. There's not a day that goes by in my practice that I am not asked about them. "Can I ingest billions of germs to feel better?"
My Blog said…
Thanks for share this.. Your post is really good providing good information..
Anonymous said…
Actually, the science is not entirely clear as to whether they work, or whether it is just placebo. There are even some cases of sepsis from probiotics, so are not entirely risk free.
I have had issues in this area.

Supplements I have taken with probiotic properties that have worked.

1) Probiotic greek yogurt
2) Health protein whey poweder with probiotic properties

I also changed diet to aid this - vrullah! not a complete change but a noticeable one at that.

Good topic.
Unknown said…
People today especially need to know that there are all different types of bacteria out there and not all of it is bad.
Generic zyban said…
Great Post and nice Information you shared.I glad to see your blog.I like it.
Unknown said…
Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! I've been looking for books of this nature for a way too long. I'm just glad that I found yours. Looking forward for your next post. Thanks :)

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thanks for this article, very help me and nice information
Chloe said…
Fantastic information shared here and very helpful as many of us struggle with these symptoms. It is a pity people do not spend more time on the prevention rather than the cure as with any physical problem there is always an emotional state that has created it. Learning to manage stress and I mean every day stress not just when things really become stressful is so important. Understanding how to calm your world, your mind and your body so that your body can work at an optimum level is so important. Again thank you for this information x
Unknown said…
HHHMMMM, the science is not entirely clear as to whether they work, or whether it is just placebo. There are even some cases of sepsis from probiotics, so are not entirely risk free.
Health and beauty
Metro said…
Nice blog. Thanks for sharing this great info
Probiotics work in a very simple, yet highly beneficial way. They keep the populations of harmful microorganisms from growing. Some probiotics are also capable of killing pathogens, thus improving digestion and preventing conditions like candida or urinary tract infections.

Probiotics are with us from birth. Some research suggests that these beneficial bacteria are found in the birth canal and this is where a newborn picks them up from.
Margo Dill said…
Foods rich in probiotics and a high quality probiotic supplement can be incorporated in a healthy diet aimed at weight reduction. If you’re overweight, prediabetic or already suffering from diabetes, you will definitely enjoy the power of the good bacteria.

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