Carolyn Young

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What are probiotics?


Probiotics are good bacteria that are either the same as or very similar to the bacteria that are already in your body. In fact, there are a greater number of bacteria in your intestines than there are cells in your body.

Not all of the bacteria in your body are good for you. Having too many of the "bad" and not enough of the "good" bacteria — caused in part by an unhealthy diet — can wreak all sorts of havoc on your body's systems. This imbalance, known as dysbiosis, can lead to weight gain, skin conditions, constipation or diarrhea, and various chronic health conditions.

Probiotics can be found in:

-Fermented foods: such as Sauerkraut, Kimchi, kombucha, water kefir
-Some yogurts, (look for live and active cultures)
-Some cheeses (look for live and active cultures)
-Lactobacillus milk or milk kefir
-Probiotic dietary supplement

Not all probiotics are the same, nor do they all have the same effect in the body. Which strains of bacteria are most helpful or which doses are best isn't always known and may take a few trials.

Lactobacillus species, Bifidobacteria, Saccharomyces boulardii and Bacillus are the most common beneficial bacteria used in probiotic dietary supplement products.

Finding the right type and adequate dose of a probiotic can help you in several ways:
-Promotes a healthy immune system
-Supports a weight management program
-Prevents occasional diarrhea or constipation.

Probiotics are safe in the amounts you normally find in food. In general, most healthy adults can safely add fermented foods or probiotic dietary supplements to their diets.

You should not take probiotics if you have:

  • extreme dysbiosis

  • SIBO

  • IBS

  • low FODMAP diet

If you have a health condition, check with your health care professional before taking a probiotic dietary supplement.

Do you consume fermented foods? Or take a probiotic supplement? Have you seen an improvement in your digestion, weight or immune system? Comment below