The Power of Probiotics

With all the nonsense we’re seeing now with yogurt companies developing their own strains of supposedly “healthy” bacteria, I thought it was time to clear the air and give you the goods. I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials from yogurt companies with their bacteria called “B.L Regularis” and “Casei Defensis.”

Just look at the name of these probiotics. Do you think anything in nature would exist with such ridiculous names – “regularis” implying that it will make you regular and “defensis” implying that it will keep you from getting sick!

I mean it’s absolutely criminal! Remember, if it doesn’t occur in nature, your body is better off without it. Probiotic supplements are simply supplements that contain “friendly” bacteria that you want in the digestive tract in large numbers.

Prebiotics [ie. fructo-oligossacharides (FOS), short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, and inulin] contain the nutrients that these bacteria need to grow and thrive.

There are over 400 different types of these friendly bacteria in your colon that serve to complete the digestion of undigested foods, keep pathogenic bacteria and yeasts in check, add bulk to your stool, and produce vitamin K and some of the B vitamins. Until recently, the importance of a healthy and balanced gut flora (bacteria) has been neglected, but thankfully much research has shown its importance not only to the health of your colon, but to your overall health.

Dysbiosis, the imbalance between healthy and unhealthy flora in the colon, is very common in today’s society considering how much we abuse our digestive system. If you ever experience intestinal gas, bloating, stomach upset, allergies, or constipation, then you will definitely benefit from probiotics.

The key probiotic bacteria that you want to look for are bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. Within these categories are many strains but the most helpful for the health of your colon are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Streptococcus faecium.

Naturally, yogurts and kefir are good sources of probiotics. However, since I don’t endorse the consumption of dairy, the best alternative is to find a high quality probiotic oral supplement. A good probiotic supplement should contain a wide array of bacterial strains, with the 3 mentioned above being the most prominent. Most importantly, ensure that your probiotic supplement contains a suitable number of microorganisms.

In general, choose a probiotic supplement that contains anywhere from 6 to 10 billion microorganisms and take the dosage once per day. Good probiotic supplements will also often contain adequate amounts of prebiotics to promote the proliferation of healthy bacteria. In most cases, it’s best to take your probiotic on an empty stomach. I find just before bed works best for me.

Incorporating probiotics into your diet will make marked improvements in your digestion, elimination, and overall health. You will notice your bowel movements improve in consistency and regularity, you will help lessen the risk for the development of allergies, and you will dramatically improve the health of your colon and the rest of your body.

These friendly bacteria are truly amazing!