Did you know that in 120 days you have a whole new lining of cells in your digestive system? Think about giving yourself a four-month gut health reset with probiotics. We don’t usually think of bacteria as a good thing, but when it comes to your stomach, they’re essential. In the right places and amounts, strains of beneficial bacteria called probiotics, and the prebiotics that feed them, are valuable to our health – not to mention our waistline. Your helpful gut bacteria, or microbiome, which are essential to things like a well-functioning immune system and general health, are largely in the large intestine and colon.
All probiotics improve the balance of the intestinal microflora. Research has found that these live microorganisms are immune-enhancing and anti-inflammatory, and recently, investigators related the imbalances in gut microbiota with susceptibility to infections, immune-based disorders and more importantly with obesity and insulin resistance. Probiotics prevent infections and yeast overgrowth by blocking harmful bacteria from attaching to intestinal walls and by maintaining intestinal pH. They improve digestive function and assist with the production of a number of vitamins, including vitamins K, B12, B5 and biotin.
The secret to longevity may lie in the microbiome and the gut according to researchers at McGill University. They have found some interesting results which could mean their formulation of a probiotic and an herbal supplement would have interesting applications in a number of human disorders such as diabetes, obesity, neurodegeneration, chronic inflammation, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and even cancer.
Who needs extra probiotics?
Probiotics definitely can help, for example, people who have gastroenteritis, or stomach flu, or are left with diarrhea and other problems after antibiotics wipe out their natural gut bacteria. Antibiotics work well at killing off the bad bacteria that make us ill, but they also kill off good bacteria needed for digestion: acidophilus and bifidus, which are both types of probiotics. If you have taken antibiotics in the past, or will need to take them in the future, be sure to supplement with probiotic supplements that contain acidophilus. Other medications, such as the birth control pill and cortisone (used to treat inflammation), may affect gut bacterial balance. In women, recurrent yeast infections may be an indication that the healthy bacterial balance in the large intestine has become compromised. Probiotics are good for immunity as well – studies have also shown that children attending daycare catch fewer colds and the flu if they are given probiotic supplements containing acidophilus, bifidus or both. Adults have been found to experience the same beneficial effect on immune system function.
How to get the healthy bacteria your body needs:
Consider adding more of these probiotic foods to your diet: Yogurt, kefir, miso paste, Kombucha, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, tempeh, pickles, cultured soya milk, or kimchi. They naturally contain probiotics, but supplements may be more effective if you are looking for a concentrated source. We recommend Clear Flora for most of our patients – this needs to be taken on rising each morning and has to be kept in the refrigerator. With benefits ranging from reduced cholesterol and inflammation to improved digestion and weight loss, the right type of bacteria should be a staple in your supplement cupboard. We also have a shelf stable Clear Flora that does not need to be refrigerated and you only need to take one upon rising each morning.
by Dr. Natasha Turner ND
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