The benefits of probiotics

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Every day there is a war going on in your body between the “good” bacteria and the “bad” bacteria. Probiotics may be the additional soldiers your body needs to help the “good” bacteria win the war.

Our bodies are full of naturally occurring good bacteria that help keep us healthy by killing any harmful bacteria that tries to invade our bodies.  Every time we eat/drink, potentially harmful bacteria enter our bodies.  The good bacteria in our GI system are recruited to destroy all of these potentially bad bacteria to keep us well.

Probiotics are bacteria that help maintain our naturally occurring “good” bacteria in your intestine.

Interest in probiotics is on the rise. Scientists are learning more and more each day about the health benefits associated with probiotics.

Lactobacillus bacteria is an example of a probiotic. It is the largest group of bacteria in our intestine, it is also found in yogurt.

What are the benefits of probiotics, watch out because the list is long!!!

Probiotics have been shown to help improve digestive function.  They help in treating diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome by decreasing inflammation in your body.  They help speed the treatment of certain intestinal infections. Probiotics help boost your immune system. They can treat and prevent yeast infections and bladder infections. And some studies have shown that probiotics prevent and treat eczema in children.

Probiotics are available in foods, such as yogurt or milk and now some snack foods are being supplemented with probiotics.  Or you can take a probiotic supplement.

Probiotics are label with their scientific name such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. When you pick your probiotic, make sure the label states live bacteria with the number of colonies. The label should also say what the probiotic does and proof that it works.  Do not take a supplement that has gone beyond the package expiration date because the bacteria are probably dead and not effective anymore. Since they are not medications, they are not regulated by the FDA so ask your doctor before starting a probiotic.

(Bacterial genera that are common in the probiotic supplements are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces, Bacillus and Enterococcus.)

If you think you are battling the war between good bacteria and the bad bacteria, a probiotic may be the additional soldier you need in your war to be victorious.