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Probiotics: What are the Benefits and How To Select the Right One?

Jul 11, 2008
For most of us, when we hear the word 'bacteria,' we think of bad things. It conjures up thoughts of infections and food poisoning and tomatoes pulled from grocery stores and restaurants. For those of us who are not health professionals, we may not be aware that some bacteria can fall in the beneficial category.

There are many types of bacteria that are beneficial to humans. Trillions of these beneficial bacteria live in the average human body and are welcomed residents. They aid in a variety of biological functions. They help us digest food, fight off harmful bacteria, and keep our immune systems working properly. Think of them as our built in army. They are the good guys.

Unfortunately, many things can happen to destroy our army of good bacteria. High sugar consumption, taking antibiotics, birth control pills, alcoholic beverages, chlorine in water all contribute to the demise of our healthy flora (good bacteria). As such, taking a probiotic supplement can help bring in troop replacements. Probiotics are live bacteria that are included in food and supplements.

What Are The Benefits of Taking Probiotics?

Probiotics have been studied for use in a number of ways. One of the areas where they have been found to be of the most assistance is in the digestive tract. Doctors have used them to treat diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, irritable bowel syndrome, and yeast infections. But according to many experts, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Studies have also shown promise in treating and preventing urinary and genital tract infections in women with probiotics, and in managing eczema in children. It is also believed that probiotics may have the potential to boost the immune system. And studies have been conducted regarding the potential to reduce the recurrence of bladder cancer with probiotics.

Selecting a Good Probiotics Supplement

The single most important thing you need to remember is that it does pay to buy a good probiotic. Not all live up to their claims. Find one that is in a glass bottle. Plastic bottles allow moisture in which destroys acidophilus. Look for a daily dose of 3 billion living cells.

My health food store recommends a brand called Kyo-Dophilus. Their formulation is stable at room temperature and doesn't need refrigeration like most. This makes it suitable for travel. It is also made from a human strain making it more adaptable to the human body than a non-human, dairy strain. They also offer various formulas including a chewable one for children.

Be sure to take a probiotic at the end of a meal. This is because the stomach is an acidic environment and has been designed to kill off bugs - the good ones along with the bad. After a meal, the acid is diluted, so the probiotic can survive and make it's way to the intestinal tract.

It is important to constantly replenish your friendly intestinal bacteria to maintain a good flora balance. Adding probiotics to your diet is simple and it has the potential to greatly improve your health and strengthen your immunity.
About the Author
Deb Hoeve publishes a daily coaching newsletter offering unique approaches to weight loss and health restoration using the healing power of the body. Designed especially for people who have tried everything. Find out how you can finally achieve weight loss success and renewed health at http://www.MakeYourBodyLast.com . Also visit her blog for other health insights at Make Your Body Last Blog
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