Every morning, I start my day with Nature's Bounty chewable, strawberry flavor probiotic pill. My doctor recommended that I take it daily to help support a healthy immune system and maintain good digestive health. Initially skeptical of her recommendation, I did some of my own research and found that probiotics provide several benefits, and according to a recent ConsumerLab.com study (https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/Probiotic_Supplements_Lactobacillus_acidophilus_Bifidobacterium/probiotics/), I'm not the only one jumping on the probiotic bandwagon. In recent years, there has been a 31% to 37% increase in probiotics demanded among regular supplement users, while the popularity of other supplements (such as fish oil and Vitamin C) have decreased. Even though the National Institutes of Health claims that there is lacking scientific evidence in determining some of the specific effects of probiotics, it doesn't hinder the growing trend.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are microorganisms that help maintain a natural balance of organisms in the intestines. The average digestive tract contains 400 types of probiotic bacteria that take part in reducing the growth of harmful bacteria -- helping to promote a healthy digestive system. In reducing the growth of harmful bacteria, certain strains of probiotics are typically used to treat problems in the stomach and intestines.
What are probiotics used for?
Probiotics are normally used to help prevent diarrhea, gas, and cramping caused by antibiotics because antibiotics work to kill bacteria that cause illness, along with good bacteria. A decrease in beneficial bacteria can lead to poor digestive health or infections, and probiotics help in replacing the lost beneficial bacteria.
What else do probiotics help with?
Probiotics are also used to treat inflammatory bowel disease and prevent infections in the digestive tract. They are currently being studied for benefits in colon caner, skin infections, and irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, some studies indicate that probiotic supplementation helps in weight loss and reducing levels of anxiety.
When purchasing and storing pills:
-Look for supplements that contain more than one bacteria strain, as it is proven to increase effectiveness (bifidobacterium lactis HN109,lactobacillus reuteri ATCC55730, lactobacillus rhamnosus GG9LGG, and lactobacillus casei DN-114 001).
-Make sure to take supplements with at least 20 billion live organisms per dose -- as this dosage is proven to be the most effective.
-Store probiotics in a medicine cabinet or dark, cool spot away from moisture because this may kill of the bacteria in the capsules.
Other supplement brands that you can find at your local drugstore:
-Dr. Frank Lipman's Be Well Probiotic Powder (http://www.bewellbydrfranklipman.com/)
-Culturelle Digestive Health Probiotic Chewables
Other ways to get your daily dosage of probiotics:
-Lifeway Frozen Kefir (http://lifeway.net/#countryUS)
-Mama O's Premium Kimchi (http://www.kimchirules.com/)
-Real Pickles Organic Sauerkraut (http://www.realpickles.com/products_kraut.html)
Are you next to join the supplement fad?
To health, long life, and living naturally,
Mikey & Momo
Thank you, Angela
(Data in this article is not approved by the FDA, is opinion based by the authors, and should be fact checked with Doctor's before altering your diet)