What are Probiotics?
We’re familiar with the use of antibiotics, but there’s also been an increasing interest about probiotics. But what exactly are probiotics and why should we know about them? To start off, our bodies are comprised of natural microflora or bacteria and yeasts that are necessary for the normal functioning of our body systems such as digestion. Specifically, the gastrointestinal tract has a community of bacteria living throughout it that serves to prevent pathogens and other bad bacteria from disrupting the normal bacterial and yeast population. These are the probiotic bacteria.
One common bacteria in the intestines that is good for us is the lactic acid producing bacteria Lactobacilli, which is also found in yogurt. This segues into the concept of probiotics which are live bacteria and yeast that can be formulated into many types of products, including foods, drugs, and dietary supplements.
Probiotics are often being recommended by nutritionists and sometimes by doctors to improve intestinal health and stimulating efficient immune function. Depending on the bacteria strain and product, the dose needed for probiotics will vary. Numerous studies have been conducted that document the effects of taking probiotics on a variety of gastrointestinal and extraintestinal disorders such as Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and even vaginal infections.
A variety of other clinical applications have been made about probiotic effects including the prevention and treatment of acute diarrhea, treatment of a subset of patients with atopic eczema, and a reduction in abdominal bloating and flatulence among those who suffer from Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). About one third to half of Americans are unaware that they have some form of a digestive illness. Overtime, if left untreated, the conditions may worsen and become even more detrimental to one’s health.
So why would someone consider taking probiotics? In recent times, there’s a high use of antibiotics among the population. Antibiotics can’t differentiate between the types of bacteria and thus just destroys all of the ones throughout the GI tract including the good bacteria. Having an imbalance in your gut bacteria will inhibit thyroid hormone activation thus slowing down one’s metabolism.
Furthermore, the presence of bad bacteria in the intestines is also on the rise due to diets high in processed foods and in individuals who unaware of food sensitivities that they may have. When this happens, we are at risk of bad bacteria and the yeast candida multiplying and producing a buildup of toxins absorbed into our bodies. This imbalance between good and bad bacteria will create a dysfunctional digestive system that can result in slow metabolism, imbalanced hormones, insulin resistance, weakened immune system, and not getting a good night’s sleep.
The combination of a dysfunctional digestive system and the buildup of toxins on the body may actually be one of the reasons behind not being able to lose weight and reaching ideal body composition goals.
Since beginning my internship at Pure Motion Fitness in February, I was introduced to probiotics and have since been using the product. Before taking probiotics I was always bloated and experienced a lot of abdominal discomfort for the past four years. Last year I was even placed on antibiotics after being diagnosed with a form of the stomach flu. I’ve been taking probiotics for two months now and have definitely noticed a big difference in the way I feel internally. My bowel movements have been more regular and I’ve had less bloating and abdominal discomfort overall throughout the day.
What I like about taking probiotics is that it’s not a medication that only serves to suppress acid reflux or treat the discomforting symptoms. With the help of probiotics I’ve been able to restore the balance of bacterial flora back into my gut and improve my digestive system, which is beneficial for my overall health.