The one supplement that I find myself recommending a lot in practice are probiotics AKA acidophilus or “friendly” bacteria for our digestive tract.  Why is it so important?  Because our digestive tract is the root cause of many other health problems.  If we can keep our gut with a balanced flora then we can avoid many other health concerns such as: food sensitivities, inflammation, skin problems, recurrent infections, allergies, constipation, diarrhea and of course that awful bloating and gas that can happen after eating.

There are 2 main strains: Lactobacillus acidophilus (the most common one used) and Lactobacillus bifidus (the more common to the baby colon).   However, there other species that are also important for a balanced gut flora and which may also be deficient such as: Basteroides fragilis group, Escherichia coli group, Enterococcus species group.  A comprehensive stool analysis can determine which species you are missing.  This would be especially beneficial if you have been suffering with chronic digestive tract problems or if you have been taking a probiotic for a long time with no or limited improvements.

Why are probiotics important?

  • To re-implant friendly bacteria into the colon after a course of antibiotics.
  • With regular use, it may even replace harmful bacteria in the colon or vaginal tract of women.
  • It helps in the production of some B vitamins and vitamin K
  • It helps to breakdown various foods.

Can I get my probiotics from yogurt?

Yes, you can get some good bacteria from yogurt but it needs to be the plain organic yogurt (with no sugar added).  Most of the typical yogurts bought in the market have sugar added to improve the taste.  The sugar defeats the benefits of the probiotics because sugar increases inflammation and will feed any possible yeast, bad bacteria or parasite that may be present.  In addition, many people are intolerant to dairy in which case yogurt may not be their best choice.

By: Dr. Sandra Miranda, ND