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What You Should Know About Probiotics

By Sara Butler

Gut health is a hot topic these days. There’s a lot of new information coming out all the time about the importance of the biome that lives in your digestive system and how they may impact chronic disease, obesity, and overall health. You can find an abundance of foods with added probiotics. There’s no doubt that probiotics are important but you have to be able to separate the fact from the fiction.

They’re Just Visiting

When you take a probiotic supplement or eat foods with added probiotics, they’re not moving in for good to be roommates with the bacteria already living there. Nope, they’re just visiting.

What they can do is crowd out the bad bacteria that may be making you ill. However, eventually they will go on their merry way and leave your body. That’s why you can’t take too many probiotics – they’ll eventually find their way out. But if you’re trying to get any health benefits from them, it also means you need to take them daily.

They May Not Be the Best

When probiotics are added to foods, the manufacturer chooses them because they’re safe and also because they can be manufactured easily and cheaply. The strains you’re getting may not be the best for treating disease or maintaining good health. But don’t worry! Researchers are currently working on identifying which strains of probiotics are best to treat specific conditions. Soon, you’ll know what you need.

They’re Sensitive

Probiotics have a shelf life. That means the number of probiotics claimed to be contained in a supplement or food may not all be there when you actually ingest it. You must remember that probiotics are living things. They can die if it’s too warm, they’ve sat too long on a shelf, or if the specific strain just doesn’t have the shelf life to keep going. Make sure when you’re shopping that you find the freshest probiotics you can; if the package says it needs to be refrigerated, be sure to stick it it the fridge!

Some Don’t Do Well in the Stomach

Some strains of probiotics can’t hack it when they come into contact with the acidic environment in your gut. So, make sure if you’re taking a supplement that it’s coated so it can actually reach your intestines. If you have an uncoated version, take it with food for the best success.

You should aim to get probiotics through the foods you eat but it's still important to know what you're getting and to have realistic expectations for what they will do for you and your health.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Long Beach, Calif. 


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