Inside our bodies is a delicately-balanced world of bacteria, yeasts, and viruses, which can be easily thrown off by drugs (particularly antibiotics), alcohol, and toxin exposure.
If you’ve ever experienced diarrhea after taking antibiotics, you’ve experienced a significant loss of the beneficial bacteria in your body. Probiotics are used to replace the loss of beneficial bacteria in the body and restore normal bowel function in these instances.
What exactly are probiotics?
They’re live microorganisms, also known as ‘friendly bacteria’, which help to maintain the natural balance of organisms in the human gut. The most common probiotic bacteria groups include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Normally, our GI tract contains several hundred types of friendly bacteria which promote healthy digestion and reduce the growth of harmful bacteria.
Probiotics are vital for a healthy immune system, protection against disease-causing microorganisms, and the proper digestion and absorption of food and nutrients.
There are a few different ways to take probiotics.
Firstly, you can eat foods containing beneficial bacteria such as miso, kimchi, tempeh, sauerkraut, and – mostly commonly – yogurt. These are great sources for the average person to consume probiotics.
Secondly, you can take probiotic supplements. These supplements come in the form of capsules, powder, or liquid, and are quite helpful after a course of antibiotics. Probiotic supplements which are refrigerated tend to be the most potent.
Look on the packaging of the probiotics to confirm that it states ‘contains live cultures’. The packaging should also state a manufacturing date and expiration date. Always read and follow the label instructions for the product, as doses vary with each brand and some strains are to be taken on an empty stomach with water.
To help your body with its delicate balance of bacteria, it’s important that you make friends with the friendly bacteria and learn as much as you can about the correct types, ways, amounts, and times in which to consume it.