Authored by Viktoria Carella in Medicine
Published on 09-01-2009
Probiotics are what you could call ‘good’ bacteria that thrive in the digestive tract. All humans have good and bad bacteria living in the digestive tract and sometimes our diet or lifestyle causes an imbalance in the numbers. If you have too much bad bacteria in the tract, it can cause diarrhea, upset stomach and irregularity. If the number of good bacteria becomes too small, you may need to consult a physician.
Diets low in dairy products, antibiotics and even eating junk foods can cause the scales to tip towards having more of the bad flora than good. Having a major imbalance of flora in the digestive tract can cause hormonal imbalances, obesity, urinary tract and yeast infections as well as IBS and allergies. Even if you get low on good flora, you can tip the scales back in your favor by ingesting probiotics.
Antibiotics kill off bacteria, and this is why they are prescribed with so many infections. Probiotics promote the growth of bacteria that are needed in the system. Considering there is over 750 million microflora or bacteria in the system, almost 5 pounds of your body weight is made up of the bacteria you need. Without these good bacteria inhabiting the system, all the bad bacteria we eat daily would take over the body and cause infections all over.
Symptoms of microflora imbalance include gluten sensitivity, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, IBS, headaches and migraines, joint aches and irritability as well as chronic bad breath. Choosing the best probiotic supplements can help to rid the body of these symptoms and keep the balance as it should be.
Choosing the best probiotic supplements can be confusing if you don’t know what you are looking for. There are many formulas that are encapsulated, powders and even coated capsules that have to be refrigerated. They are even available in yogurts. Probiotic supplements use many beneficial bacteria with a type of yeast to help them be easily absorbed. Probiotic supplements that have saccharomyces, bifidobacteria and lactobacillus acidophilus are the best to buy. These bacteria should be found in the supplement in the millions in order to be beneficial. There are so many CFU’s or colony forming units per dose that certain brands offer. But just because there is more does not mean it will work better.
The best probiotic supplements should include a prebiotic like FOS or inulin so that the flora you are ingesting actually make it through the stomach acids to be beneficial. The manufacturing of the product also has an effect on the probiotic supplements, because if it was made in a GMP compliant factory, it is certified by the NSF and that means it is ensured to be safe and effective.
The last way of finding the best probiotic supplement is to try one for a week that follows the above directions. If you do not feel a major difference in regularity and symptoms within a week, you should try another brand or type of flora. Probiotic supplements are safe to use, but you should always alter your diet to help the flora along so the condition does not return.