Do you need a probiotic? Well, do you drink caffeine? What about alcohol? Do you have any skin irritations such as rashes or eczema? Have you ever taken an antibiotic? And yes, the one you took 5 years ago still counts.
If you answered yes to any of the above (and I’m sure you did) then yes, you could benefit from taking a probiotic.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help us digest our food, produce neurotransmitters and vitamins and protect our immune system. They help reduce gas and bloating, keep yeast counts in our gut in check and reduce inflammation.
Did you know, our bodies have more bacteria in our digestive tract than we do cells in our body! Literally. There is about 2 lbs of bacteria in your gut. This is why probiotics have such a huge impact for our health.
Our immune system lies within the gut. About 75-80% (depends where you’re reading) of our immune system is in the gut. If your gut health is poor, your immune system is not working optimally and not only do we end up sick but we end up with inflammation or food allergies or gastritis. Supplemental probiotics are available in capsule or powders.
You might be wondering if children can take probiotics and the answer is yes, absolutely. When a baby is born, their first exposure to good bacteria comes from passing through the birth canal. When a baby is born via C-section, they miss this opportunity and so it’s even more important to supplement them with probiotics. Despite the way a baby is brought into this world, probiotics will support their developing immune system. Children, adults and seniors benefit the most from probiotics that support their specific life stage or condition. As we age, our gut bacteria change. A baby does not have the same bacteria as someone who is 35 and someone who is 35 does not have the same bacteria as someone who is 70. Keep reading to find out how to select the right probiotic.
There are also many fermented foods you can consume to support your gut health. These foods include Kefir, Kimchi, Sauerkraut and brine fermented pickles (not ones soaked in vinegar and sugar). You might be most familiar with yogurt as a probiotic. While it’s true yogurt is fermented with good bacteria, ultimately there’s just not enough bacteria in the final product to support our gut. In fact, “you would need to consume dozens of canisters of yogurt daily to obtain the amount of beneficial probiotics in a single high-potency probiotic supplement”. In addition, many yogurts contain unnecessary added sugars.
“you would need to consume dozens of canisters of yogurt daily to obtain the amount of beneficial probiotics in a single high-potency probiotic supplement”Caroline Farquhar, RHN http://www.renewlife.ca/blog/probiotics-yogurt/
When taking a supplemental probiotic, there are a few key things to look for:
- Types of bacteria strains
- How many bacteria are in each dose
- Type of formula
- Guaranteed potency
- Delivery system (is the probiotic protected from your stomach acid)
To read more about how to select the right probitoic for you and your family check out this blog post by Caroline Farquhar, RHN on Renew Life Canada’s website.