Let’s talk about some of the most common questions we get asked about probiotics. What are probiotics? Probiotics are living microorganisms that are beneficial bacteria that help to promote overall gut health. Good bacteria play an important role in digestion and immune function. Here are a few of the ways that probiotics can improve gut health:
- Suppress the growth of harmful bacteria
- Enhance the protective barrier of the digestive tract
- Improve immune function
- Help to produce Vitamin K to aid in clotting
- Increase absorption of certain nutrients and minerals
- Produce B vitamins which are important to produce neurotransmitters
Should everyone take a probiotic? Stress and poor dietary choices can impact the function of the digestion tract. Antibiotics can destroy healthy gut flora because the medication decreases good and bad bacteria. A decrease in healthy gut flora can create an imbalance in the gut or colon called dysbiosis. Probiotics help restore the proper balance in our digestive tract by containing the most common strains of bacteria. Two of the most common strains of bacteria are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and need to be in your probiotic.
It is estimated that 70 million people suffer from common digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, gas and bloating, Crohn’s disease, diarrhea and constipation. These common digestive disorders can cause pain and discomfort. Probiotics can help promote healing and decrease inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. While many foods like yogurt and fermented foods contain probiotics, it is difficult to use food as a regular source of probiotics whish is why supplementation can be so important.
Are all probiotics alike? The short answer is no. Our digestive tract needs a certain strain of bacteria at different times in our lives. A newborn’s digestive tract is composed of different strains of bacteria. Did you know that our digestive tract is formed at birth? Babies face backwards during birth because as they pass through the birth canal they are exposed to Mom’s bacteria in her intestines. Probiotics are vital nutrients that need to be taken at any age.
Ask one of our doctors for recommendations on which probiotics your family should be taking daily.