Probiotics are a combination of live bacteria and yeast cultures that can benefit the health of the digestive system. These are not the bacteria that cause diseases, but friendly bacteria that help the entire digestive system function more effectively. Some of these friendly bacteria are made naturally by the body and others are found in some of the foods we consume, particularly fermented foods. These the very probiotics doctors recommend to help heal various digestive ailments that one may suffer over a lifetime.
On their own, probiotics provide benefits by nurturing the gut’s natural flora. But probiotics rich in the amino acid L-Glutamine, which accelerates the healing of the GI tract membrane, and prebiotics like FOS (fructooligosaccharides) support gastrointestinal health even further. Fructooligosaccharides are non-digestible carbs found in fruits and vegetables like onion, garlic and artichoke, that stimulate the protective intestinal microflora.
Our range of probiotics is manufactured in the UK using the strongest strains of Lactobacillus Acidophilus, the DDS-1, which survives through the entire GI tract. Our 3-strain Bifidus blend has also been formulated following Dr Shahani's discoveries at the University of Nebraska. These probiotic formulas feature the most potent synergies of Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidus (Bifidobacterium) with L-Glutamine and Prebiotics like FOS.
Probiotics are widely prescribed to those who are taking or have been taking antibiotics. Antibiotics kill harmful viruses and bacteria that invade the body, but they also attack our friendly bacteria. When friendly bacteria are killed off, you are left vulnerable to more attacks from outside viruses, pathogens, and bacteria that can lead to disease. Probiotics can help recover the friendly bacteria that was wiped out by antibiotics.
Probiotics have also been proven to help solve a wide variety of gastrointestinal disorders in adults. This is something I can personally attest to myself. They work wonders in helping balance diets, as long as you have some sort of responsibility to eating a healthy diet and avoiding what practitioners called “trigger foods” (foods that trigger your condition). Some of the gastrointestinal issues that probiotics can help with are irritable bowel syndrome, antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, infections, inflammatory bowel diseases, Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and pouchitis. Most high-quality probiotics do not require a prescription. Probiotics can also be taken by healthy adults looking to avoid problems in the future with levels of gut flora and bacterium in their stomach and GI systems.
I am personally one of those adults that rely on probiotics to help with gastrointestinal issues. I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in 2013 after I had my appendix out, and some fatty (benign) tumours cut out of my colon. It seemed that anything set me off. It was a cup of water one minute, and a banana the next. Sometimes I would feel okay and be able to make my stomach cooperate for a few days, maybe even a week at a time without feeling bad. But this wasn’t a life I wanted to have to live: always fearing another flare-up. I play ice hockey and often had to rush off practice or miss the beginning of it when I had to go run to the bathroom.
My coaches and my boss at work understood. But it was humiliating. People always asked why I was sick, and what happened. The worst was missing time at work or conditioning drills during practice. Coworkers and teammates thought I was making things up. They thought I was being lazy. It became clear to me that many people had no clue what IBS was, or what to do to help. The doctors offered me prescription medicine, but it was really strong and it left me unable to go to the bathroom for 4 days after I only took 2 pills (you could take up to 3 a day). I quit taking these because the constipation was causing stomach pains so bad that I was about to cry. The underlying causes weren't being addressed.
This whole problem was exacerbated by the fact that I take 2,500 mg doses a day of Amoxicillin to help with the cystic acne I had. I don’t have it bad enough to be prescribed Accutane or anything that strong, but the drug was killing off more good flora and bacteria in my gut. That made the problems I was experiencing even worse. My gut was depleted of quality flora and friendly bacteria, and my GI tract was trying to repair itself from all those benign tumours that were cut out (5-6 or them from what I heard). It was a compound problem that wasn’t going to fix itself.
Finally, I found out what probiotics were. It was my granny’s idea. She used to be a nurse and said it helped many people she took care of. I figured I may as well try some. So I ordered some quality ones off the Internet and started taking them. My practitioner recommended changing my diet to avoid high-fat, fried, and spicy foods that may set my stomach off. I still have some silly foods that make my stomach upset like Cheerios and apple juices, but most of them are spicy or fried foods.
Things are much better than they were. I may have a bad day or two per week, but long as I balance what I eat and ensure I take my probiotics things seem to be a lot better. It may never be perfect again, and IBS flare-ups may happen, but I will take the improvement that has been made, considering I never thought I would be the same again. These same benefits can be had by many millions of people struggling with similar issues if a quality probiotic is introduced to a balanced diet.
Many people choose to take a daily probiotic without currently having any gastrointestinal issues. It is viewed as a relatively safe practice to avoid gastrointestinal issues in the future. Most medical experts see this as relatively harmless as long as there are not severe allergies present to the ingredients in the probiotic, and as long as general dosing procedures are followed. This is a practice only recommended to aid and defend against gastrointestinal issues, but it is not meant to replace a healthy diet and foods rich in probiotics that should be included in your diet.
There are plenty of foods that are rich in probiotics that you can consume to help boost probiotic levels in your intestinal system. Some of the higher probiotic foods out there include kefir, which contains 10 to 34 strains of live probiotics per serving. Alternatively, for those who are lactose-free, there is coconut kefir which provides similar benefits of lactose kefir by combining the fermenting juice of young coconuts, kefir and greens. This allows people who have dairy sensitivities or intolerances to still obtain the benefits of kefir without the lactose ingredient.
Cultured vegetables like sauerkraut or kimchi are full organic acids that help promote the good bacteria growth in the gut. Kombucha is a fermented black tea that is full of colonies of good bacteria and yeasts. Finally, both and raw cheese possess a good variety of probiotics. They are also the most popular foods that are high in probiotics as well. Yoghurt provides probiotics as it is produced from raw milk from grass-fed animals. When purchasing yoghurt look for three vital things: 1) that it is made of sheep or goat’s milk, 2) it was grass-fed, and 3) that it is organic. When purchasing raw cheeses ensure that the cheese comes from either sheep’s or goat’s milk.
Most safe recommendations for doses of probiotics encourage a dose of 250 and 500 milligrammes per day depending on the person and the strength desired. The one I take has a dosage of one capsule twice a day, but some other formulas may be a capsule per day. Read the directions and be sure to follow them closely for the best results.
Be sure to store the probiotic according to the recommendation on the label. Most probiotics require refrigeration. Others have a more limited shelf-life, so check the expiration dates to be sure that the supplements won’t expire before they would be used. Otherwise, that is throwing money away, literally. Finally, only probiotics that have had test studies done on humans should be recommended. Many quality probiotics contain billions of bacteria, which can help repopulate that needed flora and digestive bacterium to your stomach and GI system.
It is not recommended that one take probiotics while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have questions about doing so, contact your healthcare professional or doctor before continuing to take such supplements.
Probiotics can be a great supplement to ensure gastrointestinal health, but they’re not meant to replace a healthy diet high in probiotic-rich foods. Choose supplements that help meet the issues you have, or the conditions you that are looking to prevent or avoid. Talk to your doctor about the probiotics you want to use before adding any supplement to your diet. Probiotic supplements combined with a healthy diet rich in probiotic-rich foods helps keep your gastrointestinal health in check.
Written by Chelsea Jennings
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