The term “probiotic” comes from the Greek word meaning “for life”. Antibiotic therefore means the opposite and although as a drug they can literally save lives by killing of bacteria that is making the body unwell, they can also devastate the good bacteria living happily inside our guts.
Good intestinal health is one of the critical factors determining optimal health. 80% of your immune system lives in your gastrointestinal tract. Approximately one hundred trillion bacteria live inside us, weighing approximately 2 – 3 pounds. Some of these bacteria are referred to as “good” bacteria the others offer no benefit and live undisturbed inside us being kept in check by the large number of good bacteria present.
However, this is the crucial point. If the ratio of good to other bacteria is about 80% to 20% then all is well. Once this starts to deteriorate then the body starts to have problems and ill health is likely to ensue. The immune system will become impaired and it will become increasingly difficult to improve the numbers of good bacteria. This is where probiotic supplements can be invaluable.
In the case of antibiotic treatment, as I said earlier, the good bacteria are killed off with the invading bacteria, it is therefore vital that the body is replenished with good bacteria either in the form of probiotic supplements or probiotic foods such as live unsweetened yoghurt. The main benefit if the probiotic supplement is that the live bacteria are present in their millions. It is a much more concentrated form of live bacteria than the yoghurt and will repopulate the gut far more effectively.
Probiotic supplements come in many shapes and sizes and as with all nutritional supplements it is wise to purchase from a reputable company. Probiotics are only as effective as the method used for making them and storing them. So make sure you know as much as possible about the way they are manufactured before you purchase them.
If you decide to stick with the yoghurt, then make sure again that the yoghurt is live and if possible made with organic milk.
Probiotic supplements can also be useful for anybody suffering from the symptoms of Candida Albicans. This is a condition where the gut has been over populated with this particular fungus and therefore is very lacking in good bacteria. This condition is also known as dysbiosis, which means that the 80 % to 20% I mentioned earlier has not been maintained and the position may even be a complete reversal of 20% good to 80% other/candida albicans. In this scenario the probiotics will help to replenish the good bacteria in the gut