Taking Charge of Your Health

Did you know that inside of our guts there
are approximately 100 trillion living bacteria that make up what is known as our intestinal
flora? Some of these bacteria have beneficial health effects, while others might have detrimental
effects. I’m Dr. Jeremy Wolf, and in this episode of Ask The ND I wanted to spend some
time talking to you about probiotics. Probiotics are the live organisms that make up the good
bacteria, that help you to keep the harmful bacteria in check. Probiotics are found throughout
the entire length of the digestive tract. This means they’re found from our mouths all
the way down to the colon and rectum. You’ll find them in foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut,
fermented or unfermented milk, juices, miso, and tempeh. A normal digestive tract has roughly
400 types of probiotics. The most common group of bacteria found in the human digestive tract
include lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. When this intestinal flora becomes out of
balance, the result can be varying degrees of health effects. Let’s take a further look
into how probiotics function in the body. Here’s the rundown. A health and functional
GI tract is important to maintaining good health. In the GI tract, probiotics may help
to fight off acute diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, and may even help
with inflammatory bowel diseases like Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s. Probiotic use during
a course of antibiotics may reduce the adverse effects such as diarrhea and cramping. Just
make sure you take the probiotic away from the antibiotic. Probiotics may help stimulate
the development of certain aspects of the immune system. This may help with immune regulation,
as well as helping to prevent certain immune-related conditions such as eczema. These beneficial
bacteria also help to maintain and build the lining of the gut wall, which may help decrease
food allergies and sensitivities. New research is also beginning to look at probiotics’ role
in obesity, as individuals who are overweight have show alterations in the gut flora. Lastly,
probiotics help to make other vitamins such as B12, folate, biotin, riboflavin, and vitamin
K. When it comes to choosing a probiotic supplement, it’s first important to take note of the full
name of the bacteria that’s being used. In the case of lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus
is the species, and acidophilus is the strain. Research has shown, not all strains are created
equal, and each strain may have its own health benefit. Next, because probiotics are living
organisms, it’s important to pay attention to the expiration date contained on the product.
Lastly, pay attention to the number of probiotics contained in each supplement. You can tell
this by the CFUs, which is the colony forming units. There are many considerations to think
about when it comes to choosing the right dosage for a probiotic. You may want to consider
the last time you took an antibiotic, how many courses of antibiotics you have taken,
the severity of your gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, constipation, pain, etc.
A daily dose of 1 billion – 10 or 15 billion organisms can constitute a good dose. Other
research states that 20 – 25 billion can constitute a good daily dose for an individual with a
healthy digestive tract. Every person is different, and therefore it’s important to consult with
a medical professional when it comes to considering a proper dosage. It’s important not to confuse
probiotics with prebiotics. Prebiotics are essentially a group of sugars that feed probiotics
and stimulate their growth and activity. Take probiotics with food, as it helps to raise
the stomach’s pH. This makes sure that the bacteria gets through the stomach and into
the intestines where we want them. I always recommend storing your probiotics in the refrigerator,
as this will help to prolong their shelf life. Lastly, children and infants gut flora vary
from that of adults, so it’s important to make sure they’re getting the right bacteria
needed for their guts. Bifidobacterium is the most common strain of bacteria in infants.
Thanks for checking out this edition of Ask The ND. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel
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at LuckyVitamin, spread the wellness!

One thought on “What Are Probiotics? | Ask the ND with Dr. Jeremy Wolf

  1. Hi. I take probiotics by dr Wolf last winter 2 month. Can I repeat this winter? Have the probiotics side effects? Thanks

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