I worked in the vitamin industry for a total of 8 years. When I started, I did not take vitamins. When I was a little kid my mom gave us horrible, chalky kids vitamins but when I went out into the world on my own, I didn't take a vitamin. As I worked in the vitamin industry, I started reading about the health benefits of specific ingredients, especially those with clinical studies behind them, such as Probiotics.
I began a vitamin regimen and it has morphed over the years. I take a lot of vitamins but one of the most valuable supplements I take every day are probiotics. Why? Probiotics offer a variety of benefits. No other vitamin or supplement can deliver a healthy gut, support the immune system, provide regularity, banish bloating and support a healthy mood, all in one capsule. How does it do all of this? By supporting the good bacteria that already exist in your gut.
Before we learn about how probiotics help our overall health, let me dispel one myth about vitamins. They are regulated! Many times in the news you will hear vitamins are not regulated but that is not true. Vitamins are regulated under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). While the regulation could use some updates, the industry is regulated. The companies I worked for were reputable and had frequent unannounced audits by the FDA in the manufacturing facility. We never had an infraction. When buying vitamins, it is worth it to contact the company you are going to buy from and ask them about their FDA record.
Back to probiotics. Our body relies on the good bacteria in our gut to fight pathogens. The pathogens can be viruses, bacteria or fungus. The pathogens enter our bodies through the mouth, eyes, nose, or urogenital openings, or through wounds or bites that breach the skin barrier. You can't avoid pathogens. They exist on things like door knobs, a faucet handle, contaminated food and water, dogs, mosquito and dust particles. (Source: NIH) You can't hide from pathogens. But you can build up your body to defend itself from pathogens.
The amount of clinical research on probiotics is phenomenal. The world of probiotics is very confusing because the studies that link to health benefits are always on a specific strain. And there are MILLIONS of probiotic strains! This is when it is time to turn to a professional to help you find the right probiotic if you are looking to solve a very specific health concern. Some studies show:
A healthy gut may help with obesity. Since the gut is involved in the control of energy balance, food intake, and satiety via gut peptide signaling, through hormonal effects in the blood or by modulating the nervous system directly. The appropriate balance of these regulatory peptides may be disrupted if the bacteria in the gut is altered. (Source: NIH)
A healthy gut may help reduce bone loss. In 2017, a study concluded the effect of probiotics in animal models suggests that oral probiotic supplementation could be a safe and effective alternative for preventing bone loss in various conditions in humans including menopause and may enhance bone density under healthy or modestly inflamed conditions. (Source: NIH)
With so many great health benefits you may be wondering what type of probiotic can you take to support general health. The most plentiful bacteria in your gut are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genus. These genus will help support the natural good bacteria in your system for overall good health. They will help promote regularity, reduce gas and bloating and make you feel good. It takes about 2 weeks of regular usage before you will notice a difference. But I promise you, you will feel a difference.
As far as dosage goes, start off with a product that has at least 10 Billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units). The CFU is simply the measurement estimate of the viable bacteria in the capsule. I am sure you are used to seeing Vitamin D 1,000 IU and Vitamin C 500 mg in stores. The IU (international units) and mg (milligrams) are how those ingredients are measured. CFUs are simply how probiotic strains are measured. See, nothing fancy about CFUs!
There are plenty of products out there to try. Culturelle, TruNature (found at Costco), Spring Valley (found at Walmart) and Renew Life, can all be purchased online or in national retailers. I hope you give probiotics a try! Even if you don't have a vitamin regimen, probiotics are the one supplement that your body can get many benefits from!
Now, you may also be thinking, "Why not just eat foods containing probiotics?" You can, but you would have to eat a lot of them every day to get the benefits. Plus, you may not be able to digest some products like dairy, which contain a high dose of probiotics. There are non-dairy options but how many people drink kombucha or eat miso on a daily basis? For me, the ability to carry a probiotic supplement with me is so much more convenient than to carry a kombucha everywhere I go.
Probiotics are the foundation for good gut health. If you have gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain or are constantly looking for a bathroom, a probiotic may be one step you can take to help relieve some of your symptoms. Whether you are formally diagnosed with a gut health disease such as IBS, Chron's, Colitis or you just know something is not right with your gut, I work with people to find healthy solutions that fits their lifestyle.
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If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now.
If it is a fit, we can take the next step and get you started on the path to healing your gut.
I hope you found this post on why you need to take probiotics every day informative. Do you think you will try a probiotic? Leave me a comment below.
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