9 Reasons To Take Probiotics And Why It’s So Good For You

9 Reasons To Take Probiotics And Why It's So Good For You
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Not long ago my friend was taking antibiotics, and during the treatment instead of feeling better, she actually started feeling really unwell. She had abdominal pain, diarrhea and after the treatment she developed vaginal infection. She was recommended to consume more foods that contain probiotics, like yogurt, kefir or vinegar (see more about fermented foods in my previous article), but since she is not fond of these kinds of foods, and consumes small quantities of them, she was introduces to probiotic supplements.

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Taking probiotic supplements can help in a variety of conditions such as abdominal pain, infections, and even allergies. This article will explain you all you need to know about probiotics and why it is so important to take them after taking antibiotics.

Probiotic bacteria help our health: some 400 different strains of “friendly” bacteria living in the digestive system help our body to function healthily on a daily basis. Probiotics provide the body protection against harmful pathogenic bacteria that try constantly to settle in our body.

The population of this friendly bacteria in the body changes due to various reasons, including the use of medications, infections, poor nutrition and stress. Antibiotic treatment does not distinguish between” friendly” bacteria to “bad” bacteria, and during the treatment we lose also the “friendly” bacteria, thus damaging the balance in the body in favor of the harmful bacteria. Taking probiotics significantly reduces the side effects of antibiotics by restoring friendly bacteria lost during the antibiotic treatment.

How to Consume Probiotics

1. Proper nutrition: eating yogurt bio or other fermented foods on a regular basis can help maintain balanced intestinal flora. Yogurt is also featured in my superfoods e-book which is part of the Natural Health Revolution Program, a program that will help you to achieve your health, nutrition or weight loss goals.

2. Nutritional supplements: probiotic supplements contain different types of bacteria, but the bacteria concentration in the supplement can vary. In acute situations, such as when using antibiotics, you should take supplements with high concentration, and upon completion you can move to supplements with lower concentration. It is often recommended not to take the antibiotics and probiotic supplements together, but to wait 1 to 2 hours after taking your antibiotics.

Probiotic supplements are usually divided according to the target audience: adults, women and children. The division between men and women is very significant since women suffer from vaginal infections that require unique probiotics. The probiotics help to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections and vaginal candidiasis. In any case, you can take probiotic supplements on a regular basis as they are not harmful and there is no situation of excess probiotics in the body.

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When to Take Probiotics – Before, With or After Meals?

This is an important question as the labeling on probiotic supplements is often confusing. Sometimes the instruction are to take the probiotics with meals, sometimes before or after meals, and sometimes on an empty stomach.

It is quite surprising not to find enough actual data in the scientific literature about this topic. The lack of information on when to take probiotics has led to serious confusion, both for the industry and the consumer.

Care2 website speaks about a study that found that probiotic bacterial survival was best when consumed within 30 minutes before or simultaneously with a meal or beverage that contained some fat content.

Dr. Weil recommends taking probiotic supplements after antibiotic treatment with meals. However if you are unable to take probiotics at these times, Livestrong website claims that taking probiotics at a “less ideal” time is better than taking none at all.

Situations Probiotics Can Help:

1. Preventing and treating of diarrhea

Studies in adults and children showed that probiotic bacteria reduced significantly the duration of the disease, especially among children (25 hours less when taking probiotics), and there were no side effects after the use of probiotics.

2. Diarrhea as a result of antibiotics

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One of the problems of antibiotic treatments is that they cause damage to the intestinal flora. The problem is very common and it is believed that approximately 30% of patients develop diarrhea due to taking antibiotics. In some studies children and adults were given probiotics and the results showed that the probiotics can significantly prevent diarrhea resulting from antibiotics. This is probably due to strengthening the flora in the gut, thus preventing the ability of pathogenic bacteria to grow.

3. Disease prevention in hospitals

One of the known issues in hospitals is increased infection risk. This is a common phenomenon especially in infants and young children despite hand washing and general hygiene. Many studies suggest that giving probiotics can significantly reduce such infections.

4. Allergy prevention

Many studies have shown that giving probiotics to the mother during the pregnancy and then to the baby, can reduce by half the risk of developing an allergic skin rash in babies. Also those who have already got the rash can significantly reduce the symptoms, thus avoiding treatments that may cause serious side effects.

It is believed that probiotic bacteria can prevent the penetration of different antigens that contribute to allergic reactions or have the ability to improve the immune system that fights allergic symptoms. It is important to note that the beneficial effect is probably more effective in severe cases. Read more in my previous article Scientists Identified Probiotics That Protects Against Food Allergies.

5. Inflammatory bowel diseases

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One of the main causes of these diseases is the intestinal flora composition. Giving probiotics cause a change to the flora composition that could theoretically reduce the length of the disease and/or extend its intervals.

6. Preventing inflammation of the colon in premature infants

Premature babies, especially very small ones, lack the maturity of all body systems, including the digestive system which may develop gangrenous inflammation of the colon. This disease can be very difficult and many attempts are made to try and reduce it in different ways, not always successfully.

One hypothesis is that the disease is caused as flora in premature infants is not fully developed and is affected by different treatments the baby gets including antibiotics. Some studies showed that probiotics as a preventative treatment for premature infants can significantly reduce having this disease.

7. Colic in babies

Studies in recent years show the effectiveness of probiotic therapy for infants with colic. In any case, you should consult your pediatrician.

8. Treatment of vaginal infections

Probiotics designed for women contain a special bacteria that boost the immune system and increase the resistance for infection. This is a maintenance treatment that is used against repeated vaginal infections. For more natural treatments for vaginal yeast infection click here.

9. Digestive problems

* Treating Helicobacter pylori infections
* Treating irritable bowel syndrome
* Treating constipation in infants
* Treating lactose intolerance (some probiotic bacteria are able to secrete the enzyme that breaks down milk sugar)

What Type of Probiotics to Take

There is a consensus about the safety of probiotics even for babies. However one significant problem in probiotic treatments is the fact that there are many types of probiotic bacteria hence it is very important to know each type and its role in the body and how to use it wisely and safely.

Therefore when choosing probiotics, you need to check whether the product indicates the sub-type of the bacteria and what it is best for. Precise and accurate description as well as choosing a reliable company will ensure the effectiveness of the supplement and whether it can benefit you. If you have any doubt, it’s always good to consult with your doctor for further information about the right type of probiotics for you.

Read my other related articles:

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22 Responses to 9 Reasons To Take Probiotics And Why It’s So Good For You

  1. Teresa says:

    The best probiotic I have come across so far is Plexus ProBio5. It is an all-natural probiotic which features five extra strength probiotics, added enzymes,
    intestinal flora,B6 and Grape Seed extract all in one effective delivery system that supports the breaking down of hostile organisms that negatively impact your health.

    • I have been taking a probiotic I obtained from my Natural Medicine Doctor. From a company called “Innate” Flora 20-14. I used to have issues constantly with my intestines, it got so bad I couldn’t go the day without using at least 3-4 Immodium. Now, 10 months or so later I rarely, if ever, have any issues like that anymore. Is there a significant difference in the types or brands. Mine are refrigerated, that is the only drawback when I travel, to keep them cold. Thank you in advance for any replies!

  2. Barara says:

    Your vaginal yeast infection link doesn’t work. Can you please fix it?

  3. Also, which Probiotic is best for children 6 and under to 1 year old? My daughter has 3 children ages 5-1/2, 3 and 1-1/2. The baby has constant diarrhea and also had a lot of spitting up since birth. He still does it, her doctor prescribed Zantac and I just wonder if a probiotic would be better than using drugs for this seemingly on-going problem? Thanks!

  4. Peach says:

    Thank you for all that information. I have taken antibiotics in the past for yeast infections that keep coming back. Can I start taking probiotics instead of antibiotics or do I have to go through an antibiotic regimen prior to probiotics?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Peach, many women who have repetitive cases of yeast infection see improvement or reduction in the occurrence of yeast infection once they start taking probiotics (after consulting with their doctor of course). However if there is a persistent yeast infection that doesn’t improve, you need to consult with your doctor about antibiotics.

    • Cynthia says:

      Peach, Antibiotics DO NOT cure a yeast infection. They cause them! You need a cream from the drug store to get rid of it, and if you are married your husband needs to rub some on him or you will keep getting it!

  5. cathrin says:

    my son a cardiac patient now he s age 14 for the past7 (seven )yrs he has been taking –penicillin ..propranolol tab and phenytoin everyday morning -evening .can anyone tell me taking probiotic good for him.thanks

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Cathrine, this is something that your doctor needs to recommend, especially that your son has a special condition.

  6. Y.N. says:

    How do we pick a Probiotic? What should we look for?

    • Jenny says:

      Finding the right type of probiotics for you is not as easy task because there are thousands of different probiotic options on the market and every option is more useful for a certain condition. You can get more information here: “How to Choose the Right Probiotic for You” – http://dailyburn.com/life/health/choose-best-probiotic/ – and of course talk to your doctor to see what he/she recommends for your specific condition.

  7. keke says:

    I have seasonal allergy , do you think probiotic can help me, I am desperate to use anything, I get very bothersome to the point I go nights without sleep, Claritin is not helping me, I get very constipated which is one of the side effects, please reply

  8. Hitu says:

    I am problem of dry eyes. How can probiotic help me?. Any specific probiotic for dry eyes?. I have used V bact,, but this causes excessive gassing.

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Hitu, I don’t know the answer but looking at major medical websites (such as Mayo Clinic, WebMD and NHS) none of them mentioned probiotics but other treatments like eye drops or ointments given by your doctor. Sometimes there is a need to find the underlying cause of the problem.

  9. brenda spirito says:

    I have been quite poorly for 6weeks. had the 100 day cough.also tummy upset .I have s
    tarted probio7.wonderful!!!

  10. Vicky Carrera says:

    I heard this Probiotic from my daughter and tried it when l had a terrible bad stomach because of what i ate. It worked. After reading this article, learned more about it banefits. Thank you.

  11. erin says:

    I.have had a problem with my lower abdomen or gut area being swollen. I eat healthy.or so I think. Walk if not once or 2x a day. Started an ab challenge and nothing is helping. Should I start a probiotic and what kind

    • Jenny says:

      I believe probiotics can help. If you take it as a supplement, you will need to consult with your doctor about dosage and type. If you consume it from food, good food sources include fermented foods (see more information here).

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