Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Probiotic Prevention

Should I be Taking Probiotics?

Great question! and one I field often in my practice.  Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that normally colonize the human gastrointestinal system - in particular the colon or large intestine. In the gut, probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis, help to prevent and treat a variety of conditions through several mechanisms:

  • aid digestive processes to allow for absorption of nutrients;
  • support breakdown of excreted toxins and help to prevent their reabsorption into the body;
  • compete with pathogenic or "bad" bacteria, yeasts and parasites for nutrients and space, preventing infections;
  • promote elimination of wastes by normalizing bowel movements (not too hard, not too soft!);
  • balance immune system functions through complex mechanisms of "teaching" mechanism to produce more healthful (symptom-reducing) profiles of antibodies and signalling molecules.
Yes, probiotics do a LOT for us. We can support them by enjoying a healthy diet, eliminating foods that irritate our gastrointestinal systems, stress, and antibiotic use.

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