Friday, July 12, 2013

Probiotics



After talking about all the beneficial probiotics in my Shakeology to a few people, I got to thinking….who really knows that much about probiotics? Really, besides Jamie Lee Curtis or Erin Andrews advertising for the large conglomerate probiotic companies, do you think it’s something that’s worthwhile for you?

Personally, probiotics and digestive enzymes have been part of my daily routine for the past year. Through my cousin who fell in love with a supplement and how much it helped her irritable bowel syndrome, I decided that I should give it a shot. Truth be told, I didn’t know much about it either. But it worked for her so it had to work for me! And boy did it help.  I had just moved in with Joe-Joe and was, um, shy about using the restroom and had the age old problem happen. You can’t go when you’re not at your home. My probiotics and digestive enzymes were the only thing that calmed down all that  intestinal turmoil and got me  back into my routine. Sorry, super personal. Haha. But here’s the facts:
-          Probiotics are a bacteria. They help maintain the NATURAL balance of good bacteria in your digestive system (stomach all the way to the end).
-          The largest probiotic group is called lactic acid bacteria and it is found in the intestines. This is where the most well-known probiotic comes from—Lactobacillus acidophilus. Lactobacillus acidophilus is found in products like yogurt.
-          Probiotics are mostly used to treat diarrhea after taking antibiotics for an extended period of time. (Antibiotics kill the bacteria in your intestine as a side effect to what illness it is actually trying to kill).
-          More research is needed, but probiotics may help:
o   Treat IBS
o   Reduce bladder cancer recurrence
o   Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
o   Prevent and treat eczema in children
o   Prevent or reduce the severity of colds or the flu.

Are they safe?
-          Side effects are rare
-          Beware, probiotics are treated as a FOOD and not a DRUG. Therefore, the statements that manufacturers make on the labels are not monitored by the FDA for testing and approval.
-          Be aware that the specific strands of probiotics are noted on the packaging. There is no way to identify the safety of unidentified mixtures of probiotics.

Bottom Line:
-          More research is needed and the clinical effectiveness of probiotics to treat diseases is not proven.
-          MY OPINION FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: If you are at all suffering from digestive issues, talk to your doctor and give probiotics a shot.
Have more questions? Feel free to ask!
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