Taking Probiotics for Optimal Health

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Filed Under: Digestive Health
Last Reviewed 03/28/2014

Folks, this month marks an important milestone for me—the 20th anniversary of my newsletter, Health & Healing. As part of that celebration, I’ve published a list of 20 ways to improve your health. 

Taking Probiotics for Optimal HealthNumber 12 on that list is taking probiotics. These healthy bacteria can stop nearly any digestive complaint—including gas, bloating, constipation and indigestion. They also help to strengthen your immune system.

Probiotics act as the “policemen” of your gut, crowding out the “bad guys” and keeping harmful bacteria like salmonella and Clostridium difficile at bay. They do this by producing organic acids, such as lactic acid, that lower the pH (the acid-base balance) in the gut and inhibit the growth of many types of pathogenic bacteria. 

At the Whitaker Wellness Institute, we use the health benefits of probiotics to treat all types of gastrointestinal (GI) problems, from diarrhea to irritable bowel syndrome to leaky gut. They are essential for patients with candida or yeast overgrowth of the vagina, mouth or rectum, and are often helpful when it comes to treating food allergies and chronic fatigue. We recommend taking probiotics for our patients who are prone to infections, particularly of the urinary tract, as well as to those who have compromised immune systems. 

Recommendations for Taking Probiotics

If you’re suffering from diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome or other GI disorders, yeast overgrowth, recurrent infections especially of the urinary tract or vagina or chronic fatigue, consider adding probiotics to your daily regimen. If you plan to travel outside North America or are exposed to infectious agents, taking probiotics is also recommended. And should you ever need to take antibiotics, these beneficial bacteria are essential for restoring your GI flora. 

The most important probiotics for general replacement are L. acidophilus and B. bifidum. Other bacterial strains, like L. fermentum, release two powerful antioxidants right into your digestive tract. You want to take at least 2 billion CFU of probiotics a day.

Look for a probiotics supplement that not only protects the delicate “good” bacteria, but also ensures they reach your entire intestinal tract. One delivery system that works extremely well is BIOtract. Triple-encapsulated probiotics from manufacturers such as Enzymatic Therapy are also effective. You can find these products online and in your local health-food store.

Now it’s your turn: Are you taking probiotics?

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