Sometimes you may ask yourself a question: Do I need a probiotic? How do I take it? When do I take it? Do I need to take it all the time? What probiotics actually do? Which probiotic strain do I take? This blog will answer those questions.
The human microflora or microbiota composition is not stable over the life time of individual. Microflora can even change within 2 days of being on a junk food. If we are really honest with ourselves, our diet is not always up to scratch for many reasons. In the olden times people have obtained probiotics from yoghurt, kefir, sour milk, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha or pickles. Today only few brands of yoghurt actually contain any probiotic. Once sugar, flavourings, emulsifiers and preservatives are added to any yoghurt, the friendly bacteria cannot survive. Also, when was the last time you ate any of those foods containing natural probiotic?
Top up your good bacteria
Your diet and lifestyle play a major role in the balance of bacteria in your body. Amazingly, you are actually a ‘superorganism’ made up of hundreds of microbes living together in and on your body. Your immune system’s job is to monitor the many kinds of bacteria to ensure that healthy bugs are in larger numbers than troublemakers, such as viruses and yeasts. The best way to balance the good with the bad is to ensure you maintain adequate levels of beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract, and maintain a lifestyle that keeps the bad bacteria in check. No matter where the unhealthy bacteria live, you can influence your immune system’s fight by starting with good flora in the gut. If you experience any of the common symptoms below, you may need a top up with good bacteria (also known as probiotics):
- Bloating and/or flatulence
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Frequent colds and the flu
- Eczema or allergies
There are different strains and species of probiotic for each health condition
The most effective way to replenish beneficial bacteria in the gut is by taking probiotics. There are many different types of probiotic bugs, and in many ways they are just like us. We employ them because of their occupation. Different strains do different jobs in the body, so it is important to choose the right strain for the right condition. For example, specific strains have been scientifically proven to help with health problems including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and eczema. To enhance your health and wellbeing, your Practitioner can assist in selecting the probiotic strain that is the most appropriate for you. Some of the most effective therapeutic strains include:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus : General balance
This strain is a great everyday probiotic to maintain bacterial balance, and has been extensively tested and proven to restore levels of healthy bacteria in the colon. It is particularly effective after a course of antibiotics and or following a gut infection. This strain is antimicrobial in nature and inhibits the growth of unfriendly bacteria. This strain is good to take to stimulate your immunity
- Bifidobacterium lactis (Bi-07): Dysbiosis
When there are more bad bugs than good bugs in the gut, it is called dysbiosis. This is the reason we experience many of the symptoms mentioned earlier. Bi-07 has been proven to address dysbiosis, improving overall health. It has also been shown to reduce gastrointestinal disturbances, especially after antibiotic use.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG®): Eczema and allergies.
This probiotic strain has been studied in over 350 clinical trials, and has the ability to enhance immune system function, specifically reducing the occurrence and symptoms of allergies, eczema and other atopic conditions. LGG® may also help to decrease the risk of digestive upsets such as diarrhoea in both adults and children. It can also shorten the time that you experience diarrhoea if you are struck by a gastro bug.
- Lactobacillus plantarum 299v: Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The 299v strain is a specialised strain of Lactobacillus used specifically for gut issues. This probiotic has been proven to assist and manage the symptoms of medically-diagnosed IBS and other inflammatory bowel disorders. It has been clinically shown to improve the key IBS related problems of bloating, flatulence, pain, inflammation, constipation and diarrhoea.
Lifestyle tips to boost your good bacteria
To keep your ‘superorganism’ balanced, you need to include and avoid certain factors in your diet and lifestyle. Here are some easy everyday ideas that maintain your good and bad bugs in harmony:
- Reduce alcohol
Reduce your weekly consumption as excess drinking kills off large proportions of the good bugs.
- Manage stress: Stress can lead to an imbalance of bacteria. Talk to your Practitioner about techniques and supplements to support your response to stress.
- Exercise: Moving your body a little each day assists immune function and keeps your bowel moving too.
- Include fermented food in your diet, like pickles, yoghurt, miso or sauerkraut
- Basic nutrition: Drink plenty of water, a minimum of eight glasses per day, and avoid excessive caffeine, sugar and salt intake to keep your good friendly bacteria flourishing.
Maximise Your Health with Probiotics
Maintaining bacterial balance is one of the key elements of optimal health and vitality. Remember, your immune system doesn’t just control colds. It also regulates your ‘superorganism’ on a daily basis. Together with healthy diet and lifestyle choices, a daily probiotic is one of the best ways to keep your good and bad bugs in check and bring your body back into balance. Whether you have eczema, allergies or IBS, specific probiotics can enhance the success of your treatment. To get started with your unique daily probiotic, talk to your Practitioner so they can match the best formula to meet your needs.
by Danuta Hulajko
About the Author
Danuta Hulajko is a holistic practitioner, international speaker, founder of the DH Natural Medicine Clinic and www.healingremedies.com.au , Sydney. She specialises in anti-aging, autoimmunity, digestive disorders and heavy metals chelation. For more information please go to our website. You can follow Danuta Hulajko work, events, seminars, expos, latest health research, her health tips and advice on Facebook and LinkedIn