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What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics job is to help move food through your gut.

Probiotics are Microorganisms

Bacteria is usually thought of as something that is the cause of disease and something from which we need protection. However our bodies are full of both bad and good bacteria. Probiotics are microorganisms that may help with digestion and offer protection from destructive bacteria. They are considered “healthy” bacteria that keep your gut health in balance. Probiotics job is to help move food through your gut.

Probiotics Are Found in Many Foods

Probiotics are naturally occurring in your body. Doctors often suggest taking the supplements for people with digestive problems or after a course of antibiotics. Probiotics are also found in many foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha tea, kimchi and dark chocolate.

There are many types of Probiotics or classifications of bacteria. They come from two groups which have different benefits. The most common type of probiotic is Lactobacillius and is the one found in yogurt and fermented foods. This one is usually prescribed to help with diarrhea or help with the digestion of lactose.

The second type is Bifidobacterium. You can find this one in dairy products as well. However this type is generally used to help with the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Researchers are still trying to figure out which bacteria is best for which health problem.

Probiotics May Prevent or Reduce the Severity of Colds and Flu

Although more research is needed, there’s encouraging evidence that probiotics may help treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics. It can prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections. and, as previously stated, treat irritable bowel syndrome and speed up the treatment of certain intestinal infections. Current studies also show they may prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu.

Generally, probiotic supplements are considered safe to use. Side effects are usually mild and include upset stomach, diarrhea, gas, and bloating for the first couple of days after commencing use. They could trigger an allergic reactions. Stop taking them immediately and see your physician if you experience any side effects.

Health Canada treats probiotics like a food, not a medication. Natural Health Products are a class of health products which include: vitamin, mineral, herbal preparations, homeopathic medicines, probiotics and enzymes.The level of evidence required to demonstrate safety of health products require them to be labelled with required cautionary statements. Ask your doctor for more information about the correct product and dose for you.

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