I didn’t know probiotics and probiotic supplements existed until 4 years ago, when I first moved out of my parent’s home for University, and managed to get a sinus infection that had me bedridden for 2 weeks and on 3 different rounds of antibiotics. Halfway through my second round of antibiotics I developed both digestion issues and horrible stomach pains. It is then that I learned antibiotics should be supplemented with probiotics. The probiotic supplement should be taken 3 hours before or after antibiotics, and voila- no more stomach issues. So what exactly is this magical probiotic supplement and what does it do? Why should we take it daily, regardless of whether or not we are taking antibiotics? Let me explain.
According to WebMD, probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that are good for your health, especially your digestive system.
We usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases. Although that is for the most part true, our bodies are full of both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are the good bacteria because they help your stomach function properly. Most doctors suggest probiotics to help with digestive health. Researchers have found that there are a few ways that probiotics can help you. They can help replace the good bacteria that are lost due to antibiotics, and lower the amount of bad bacteria in your body. Probiotics can also help balance the good and bad bacteria in your body and keep your body working like it should. The two main types of probiotics are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. You should consult with your doctor as to which one will work best for you.
Probiotics can also help move food through your stomach, and some conditions that they treat are: irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and infectious diarrhea. Probiotics can also help with urinary and vaginal health, however, these ones are different from the ones that optimize your gut health.
Where to Find Natural Probiotics
Probiotics can be found both in certain foods and also in pill/supplement form. Unpasteurized probiotic rich foods include:
- Plain unflavoured yogurt
The supplement form can be found in any drugstore/pharmacy and the best way to go is to remember that the higher the “active cells” count, the better the probiotic is.
As I briefly mentioned above, probiotics, specifically probiotic pills/supplements containing L. Acidophilus can improve women’s health. Just like the digestive tract, the vagina relies on a balance of good and bad bacteria. When the balance is off, it can result in one of two very common infections: bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Probiotics can help combat both of those.
Probiotic supplements can’t do the job alone though. To improve your digestive health not only should you incorporate probiotic supplements into your diet, but you should also increase your water, fruit and vegetable intake, and decrease your sugar and yeast intake.
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