Staying healthy isn’t just about training and working out. Eating right and getting enough sleep have a lot to do with overall health. Sometimes, though, no matter how much effort is put into the good things, the body just needs some help. One subject that hasn’t been talked about much until lately, is digestive health. The human body is made up of different systems. Cardiovascular system is frequently talked about in regards to heart health. The Skeletal system and what keeps bones strong is important. The Muscular system is frequently brought up at the gym. The digestive system just has not received the attention that the others have. It is unfortunate because what happens in your digestive system can affect all areas of the body. So what can you do to improve your digestive health? Drinking water, eating right and now, adding a probiotic to your daily routine.
Probiotics have recently popped up on the radar of the average person through TV and ads in magazines. The quick 30 second run down of how they are good for the body, leaves a lot of important information out. What exactly are probiotics and how can you benefit from them?
What are probiotics?
The name probiotic sounds like a cross between robot and antibiotic. Probiotics are neither – they are simply, good bacteria. That may sound like an oxymoron, but it isn’t. Although bacteria have always been associated with negative words like “infection” and “bacterial illness” or “germs”, there are actually good and bad bacteria. The bad just get more attention due to their destructive nature. The good bacteria, or probiotics, actually help rid your body, specifically your digestive tract, of the bad bacteria. They protect your body from harmful bacteria and assist in digestion. There are two basic forms of good bacteria: Lactobacillus and Bifidobactorium.
How can you benefit from probiotics?
Probiotics main objective takes place in the lower digestive and colon area. This is a bad bacteria playground and probiotics can help greatly here. Ever been on antibiotics and had the lovely side effect of diarrhea? The antibiotics are bacteria killing machines and they are not particular. They will run through the body killing infection and bad bacteria for a particular illness but they also rip through the lower digestive system slaying all bacteria – good and bad. When this happens, you get diarrhea as a side effect. Taking probiotics can help to replace the lost good bacteria and lessen or cease the bouts of diarrhea. Probiotics keep a balance in your digestive tract that keeps your body’s digestive system regular but also aids in those with chronic digestive disorders. IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease both have shown to be greatly improved by taking probiotics. Probiotics has been shown to help fight UTI’s and even yeast infections in women. There have also been some indications that probiotics have helped improve skin conditions, such as eczema and are even showing promise in fighting off the bacteria in your gums for improved oral health. Probiotics have also been shown to lower the H.pylori levels and cholesterol levels. They still have a lot of research to be done, but, they show a lot of promise in many areas.
So, probiotics can really make a huge difference in the digestive system – especially for those who have digestive problems on a regular basis. Getting these probiotics into your system can happen through foods or supplements. However, it is hard to get the needed amount from foods as most of the foods containing probiotics may not be items you would eat every day. The one exception would be Yoghurt. Yoghurt is a great source of good bacteria. Other foods that contain probiotics are buttermilk, sauerkraut, Miso and sourdough bread. Other dairy products may contain trace amounts but not enough to make a big difference.
Probiotic supplements are available in pharmacies and even grocery stores and online. Probiotics are even available in specialty drink supplements, though these may be harder to find. So, in the world of probiotic supplements, what are the keys to look for?
CFU’s or colony forming units are most important. You want tons of these in your supplement. Again, as with all supplements, the scammers have seen a new way to take your money and give you low quality or no quality products. It is a buyer beware type market – the manufacturer has to be a reputable company. The bacteria are living and must remain so to be effective in your system. There are many good ones out there but three that are proven to really have the goods are:
Keybiotics from Whole Body Research. High, high, high levels of CFU’s and proven to work.
New Chapter Probiotics All-Flora. Not quite as high in CFU’s as Keybiotics and has to be refrigerated but still a high quality probiotic.
GNC Ultra 25 Probiotic Complex w/ Enzymes. The same amount of CFU’s as New Chapter but a bit higher in price.
These all contain 9 million or more CFU’s, both types of probiotics and all three have been tested by people and shown to really work. These would be safe and effective probiotics.
If you are being treated by a physician for digestive diseases or disorders, check with them before starting a probiotic supplement. Although no negative side effects have raised any red flags, it is always best to be sure they will not interact negatively or increase the potency of other medications.
On the whole, probiotics are a safe way to assist your body in keeping your digestive health on track. A poorly functioning digestive system can cause all kinds of havoc for the rest of your body and it makes a person irritable, fatigued and even depressed. It can affect all areas of your life. Simply supplementing with a proven probiotic and increasing your intake of foods containing probiotics can help combat the problems lurking in your digestive tract, increase your energy and help your digestive system function better.