Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Probing probiotics

This is a follow up to yesterdays post that suggested taking a probiotic to support your digestive health.  Many of you came back with the question, "Which one do I choose?". 

Use these probing questions when you are shopping:

How many bacteria strains should it have?
This varies from brand to brand.  I have seen them with as few as 1 strain and as many as 16. I have read that multi strains are best to support general digestive health and I've also read that single strains are better.  When research conflicts itself, I take the middle road.  (Mine has 9 strains)

Does is matter how many live bacteria cells it has? 
This number tends to range from 1-50 billion cells in most brands.  Anything within this number is fine.

Why are some refrigerated and others aren't?
Follow the label on this one.  Refrigerated brands are kept cold to keep the cells more stable.  The ones that are sold at room temperature claim the temperature has no adverse affect on the cells.  Personally, I find that not taking a brand that requires refrigeration is more convenient, especially when on the road. 

Check the "other ingredients"
Always check to make sure it doesn't contain anything that you have an allergy or diet discrepancy with (i.e. gelatin for kosher diets).  You also don't want to be putting a lot of processed or artificial ingredients into your system. 

I started taking a daily supplement 2 yrs ago when I was diagnosed with a stomach ulcer and found that a probiotic helps.  But, whenever possible, real food is best.  In addition to being found in your system naturally, probiotics are abundant in Miso, Yogurt, Kefir and indirectly through dandelion, Spiruina, Chorella, and blue-green algae.  I recommend always using them after being on an antibiotic.  Antibiotics kill all bacteria, the good and the bad.  Taking a probiotic during and after treatment will help restore your system to it's natural levels and help prevent post antibiotic yeast and urinary tract infections.  If you are dealing with digestive distress, try it out and see if offers any relief.  Everyone's body is different so it may or may not be the right choice for you.  

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