Digestive Health and Probiotics
If you are looking towards improving your digestive health, chances are you have looked into using a probiotic. Probiotics, or good bacteria administered in a supplement form, is a common and often helpful way to improve your digestive health. Understanding how exactly taking bacteria can improve your health is key to determining if probiotics are right for you. Here are some ways that probiotics use bacteria to your benefit to help you maintain a healthy colon and digestive tract.
They Occupy Space
The most significant and well understood benefit of probiotics is that they replenish the normal flora that occupies space within your digestive tract. Why exactly you want an organism to take up space in your gut is hard to understand, but it gets easier when you think of your digestive tract like a dorm.
Like a real dormitory, you only have so many spaces to put students into. Now you want to fill the dorm with good students who will help advance the university. If there are not enough of good students to fill all of the beds, you will risk having to let a few rowdy and trouble making students move in.
This perfectly parallels what is happening in your digestive tract. Your normal flora acts like those good students, filling space and benefiting you. When you lose your normal flora, probiotics help to replenish that supply of good students. Without it pathogenic organisms can take up residence in your gut and cause illness.
They Help to Support Your Immune System
It may seem counterintuitive, but taking bacteria in the form of probiotics can help to improve your immune function. They do this by working to enhance your innate, or first line of defense, immune system. Some studies also suggest that they can help to potentially relieve GI inflammation by modulating your T cells to reduce your inflammatory immune response. With this theory, medical professional Dr. Weil suggests that taking a probiotic may possibly attenuate autoimmune inflammatory disorders such as eczema and Crohn’s disease.
They May Do More
Scientists and doctors are still learning more about how probiotics can benefit the body. Studies suggest that good bacteria can help to produce Vitamin K and fatty acids, essential nutrients to our well being. Within the gut, probiotics have been linked to lowering gut pH and forming a mucosal barrier through your intestines and stomach.
There may also be benefits of probiotics with issues dealing with acid reflux in your esophagus, liver complications, or chronic diarrhea. Although the exact mechanism of aid that probiotics provide is not known, there is no doubt that probiotics can be very effective in helping those with a wide array of disorders and illness.
Taking a Probiotic
Taking a probiotic can be beneficial to your digestive health, especially if you are going through periods of high stress or if you recently had surgery or procedures causing you to need a prescription of antibiotics. Although you should consult your doctor about any medication or supplement that you plan to take, probiotics are a relatively safe supplement that can help to improve your digestive health. Doctors may recommend to patients the use of probiotics as a treatment to care for their bowels and potentially relieve symptoms relating to stomach or intestinal acid.
There are many foods that contain probiotics such as yogurt and natural pickles. Although eating these foods can help to replenish your normal flora similar to probiotics, taking an oral probiotic will provide you with a steady income of these bacteria without having to change your diet.
When looking for a probiotic supplement Dr. Weil suggests that you look for brands that contain Bacillus coagulans or Lactobaccilus. Probiotics can be found in most health stores, often in the refrigerator section and online. A good product that contains the major beneficial bacteria is Emuaid’s First Defense Probiotic.
Use bacteria to your benefit by utilizing probiotics to help improve your digestive health.