Probiotics for gut health

If you’ve ever take a round of antibiotic therapy, or perhaps have intermittent diarrhea, probiotics may be able to help. What kind of probiotics should you get? And once you find a good one, is there ever a reason to change? These are some of the questions I hope to answer. If I don’t answer your question, message me!

Probiotics can help digest and absorb food as well as prevent absorption of antigens and toxins. In this way probiotics help to control pathogenic populations of bugs in your tummy. Plus probiotics have a beneficial effect on your tummy’s immune system.

Your gut flora encompasses the billion microbes that live in your digestive tract. When your gut flora is thriving, you digest food well, you absorb all your nutrients, you have a strong gut immune system, regular bowel movements, and so on. When your gut flora has been knocked down by a round of antibiotics or disease processes such as Crohn’s disease, you experience varying degrees of gastrointestinal discomfort.

The imbalance in your gut flor is called dysbiosis (dys– “bad, difficult” and the Greek biōsis “mode of life”) and it is a problem you can easily manage.

If you wanted to, you could go to your primary care provider (PCP) and request a comprehensive stool analysis which will give you information about your flora balance, pathogenic microorganisms (including yeast, parasites, bacteria), intestinal immune function, overall intestinal health and inflammation markers. On the day that I am writing this, I don’t have suggestions about where and how you can do this analysis. However, I hope to offer this service for my future patients so feel free to contact me to get an update.

You can skip the stool analysis and go straight for the probiotics which will benefit your GI health regardless of your stool analysis. Here are some criteria for selecting your probiotic from the hundreds of choices on the shelf:

  • At least one species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria
  • 5 billion+ organisms per dose
  • contains fructose-oligosaccarides (pre-biopics)
  • clearly labeled shelf life
  • enteric coated
Label example of a probiotic that meets the requirements.