Digestive Problems That Probiotics Help
Chances are you’ve been hearing a lot about probiotics and the role they play in intestinal health as well as health in general. These “friendly bacteria” that colonize the digestive tract are believed to be beneficial in treating a variety of conditions that affect the digestive tract.
There are more than 100 benefits to supplementing with probiotics, as well as hundreds of studies have shown different species of probiotics offer different health benefits, according to the book, Probiotics by Casey Adam Ph.D.
Over 400 strains of probiotics reside in our bodies, but only 20 strains account for nearly 75%!
Here are some 4 common conditions that can be helped using probiotics.
There’s nothing that can ruin a trip quicker than a case of traveler’s diarrhea. Traveler’s diarrhea generally occurs when you travel to a foreign country where you run the risk of drinking water or other liquids contaminated with fecal bacteria. The abdominal discomfort and diarrhea associated with this condition can sometimes be serious enough to cause dehydration.
If you’d like to prevent this unfortunate occurrence, it may pay to eat probiotic enhanced yogurt or take a probiotic supplement before your trip. A meta-analysis published in the Alternative Medicine Review journal showed that probiotics help to prevent the symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea without significant side effects.
Lactose intolerance prevents the body from digesting the milk protein lactose, and it is quite common. There is some evidence that probiotics help with the digestion of milk by supplying some of the missing enzymes. Whether or not probiotics are effective in treating lactose intolerance may depend upon the strains of bacteria used. You may need to experiment with several different types of probiotic supplements to find the one that works best for you.
Diarrhea Associated with Antibiotic Use
This is one of the most common conditions that probiotics help. When you take antibiotics for a bacterial infection it destroys not only the bad bacteria, but the beneficial ones as well. The result can be abdominal discomfort, bloating, and diarrhea. Popping a probiotic supplement or eating yogurt during the time you’re on the antibiotic can help to re-colonize your intestinal tract with good bacteria which can help reduce your risk for antibiotic-related diarrhea.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
This common functional disturbance of the bowel has been shown to be helped in some cases by the use of probiotics. In fact, there’s some thought that IBS may be caused by an imbalance in the bacterial strains found in the intestines, particularly a deficiency of Lactobacillus. Although this has yet to be proven, studies have shown that the use of probiotic supplements can help relieve some of the intestinal symptoms associated with IBS.
There is also evidence that probiotics help the symptoms of other intestinal conditions including inflammatory bowel disease and even diarrhea associated with viruses and bacteria.
Interestingly enough, our first dose of probiotics occurs during vaginal birth. 60% of vaginal births provide infants with their first probiotic inoculation of Bifidus Infantis, but only 1% of cesarean section births provide this inoculation. Additionally, if a mother opts to breastfeed her colostrum contains up to 40% probiotic content as well.
If you’re prone to digestive problems, you may want to ask your doctor if you have a condition that probiotics might help. It may be a natural way to finally get some relief.