DIGESTION 101: Part 1: PROBIOTICS (acidophilus, bifidus, etc.) - The Basics

I wouldn't be doing my job if I wasn't going the extra distance here to make sure you were educated on some basics and know why you are taking the supplements you are taking. I know many of you have heard some or all of this from me but I also know I give you a lot of information in our visits and sometimes hearing it a second time doesn't hurt and helps in understanding.

What are probiotics?

The beneficial (good) bacteria that make up your line of defense in your digestive tract. 

There are so many brands out there - which is the best for me?

My favorite brands are HMF (Seroyal) and Ultra Flora(Metagenics) - I've seen great results from these and try to keep them in stock. I like them because of their strength, the quality control from the companies and the efficacy of the strains they use. The company I like that is carried by health food stores is Natren.

 What do they do for me/when do I need them?

1. Great for immune health. As many of you know, over 70% of our immune system lies in our gut ...in our digestive system. So anytime someone is getting a lot of colds or  flus, has allergies or has an autoimmune disease recommending  probiotics is a no brainer.

2. We lose our good bacteria when we have diarrhea so that's another good time to take it.

3. Studies show that babies really benefit from a good probiotic  in the first 2 years of life and I have seen many babies get a whole lot more comfortable with their tummy from taking it. The HMF Natogen is my favorite. 

4. Helps absorption of food. As you can imagine, a healthy balanced digestive tract affects your overall health enormously for you are not simply what you eat but what you are absorb. 

5. Produces certain vitamins (Bs, K)

How do I know for sure if I am deficient in my levels of good bacteria? Can I find out where my levels are at?

Yes you can. Testing is available from one of the companies I work with (Doctor's Data).The test analyzes the levels of all the necessary strains of probiotic present in your stool.  It runs for $150.00 and tests for the presence of high levels of candida as well. What's nice about this is that you can get really specific with the supplements/strains you take to get things back into balance.  In my office I have access to the REBA device which assesses compatibility of supplements and allows a custom-fit of supplements for my clients - I can test various strains/products on the client to determine which to use - this is a simple way to check.