Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Probiotics To Balance Good And Bad Bacteria

"Need help in keeping your digestive system in sync," asks a TV ad? It's a valid question. If you travel, take antibiotics, are hormonal or stressed, you might. Apparently, as we age some of us will because everything slows down. Something else to look forward to ... yikes! 

Probiodics are single-cell organisms introduced into the body to support good bacteria. Already, you have bacteria living in your gut. These microorganisms help your intestines breakdown proteins and carbohydrates, moving them though your system. Ideally, you should get friendly bacteria from eating fermented food like yogurt. A balance of good and bad bacteria keeps both your digestive and immune systems healthy.

However if you feel discomfort, bloated and/or irregular ... and are not getting friendly bacteria from the food you eat, it might help to take a probiotic supplement with the following strains:

1. Lactobacillus Acidophilus - Found in the small intestines; helps digest milk.
2. Lactobacillus Salivarius - Found in the small and large intestines; reduces unfriendly bateria.
3. Lactobacillus Rhamnosus - Found in the small and large intestines; supports digestion.
4. Streptococcus Thermophilus - Breaks down food.
5. Bifidobacterium Bifidum - Fights unfriendly bacteria; helps make B vitamins. 

Another question arises: In choosing a supplement how many live probiotics do you need? As it turns out, a lot! Here's a guide:

10 billion - to maintain healthy digestion.
20 billion - to relieve bloating and discomfort.
30 billion -  to re-balance your intestines with friendly bacteria

I rarely stop to consider the microorganisms living in each of our digestive tracts. It's like composting when you think about it!

Indeed, probiotics are the latest health craze. Although a natural remedy (pro), they are expensive (con). So you might first try eating a balanced diet, including yogurt. Yogurt is only about 50 cents a serving and tasty. If that doesn't work, move on to probiotics, which will have a high concentration of good bacteria to put you back in balance.

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  1. So here's a question- maybe you'd know. There are different kinds of Yogurts, lately "Greek" yogurt seems to be the big craze. Do the various types of yogurt differ as to what strains of natural bacteria that they contain?

  2. @Barry: Here's what I've read. All types of yogurt are benificial as they have probiotics. Greek yogurt has been strained of water and, thus, is thicker because it is more concentrated.

    Personally, I would just focus on including yogurt in a balanced diet. I like all yogurt: Greek, American, homemade, store generic bands.