Probiotics: Get the Facts

What are Probiotics? A probiotic is a live microbial food that is used to improve intestinal micro balance.

The most widely studied and used organisms are Lactobacillusacidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidus, Saccharomyces boulardii, and Lactobacillusbulgaricus.

Which foods contain probiotics?

These beneficial intestinal bacteria can be found in foods as naturally occurringpreservatives such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, tempeh and kim chee. Please note that live cultures need to be present for the above foods to be effective.

Is it better to eat foods that contain probiotics or to take a probiotic supplement?

Incorporating probiotics into your diet is an excellent way to receive amaintenance dose. However, a therapeutic dose of probiotics is most easily obtained via supplementation. Your naturopath can help determine which will beof greater benefit to you, a maintenance or therapeutic dose probiotics.

There are so many different brands and forms of probiotics. How do I choose?

Not all probiotics are created equal. To insure that you are receiving a qualityproduct, consult with your naturopath.

Are there studies that show the benefit of probiotics?Yes, there are numerous studies that have repeatedly found probiotics to bebeneficial for a wide range of ailments.

What types of conditions are probiotics useful for?

Almost any condition can benefit from probiotic consumption, for example constipation, diarrhea or any bowel disorder like irritable bowel syndrome, Chrohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and also vaginitis, food allergies andintolerances, immune support, cancer and even stress.

What do probiotics do?The exact mechanism of action is not clear, however there are a number of postulations. Probiotics are thought to secrete vitamins and anti-cancer compounds, protect the intestines against pathogens, maintain the integrity of the lining of the intestines, improve immune function, and compete with non-beneficial bacteria.

I am traveling and will not be able to refrigerate my probiotics. What should I do?

Refrigeration of probiotics is optimal, but not necessary. Probiotics can beextremely beneficial for ailments that often accompany traveling, including traveler's diarrhea, food poisoning and increased stress.