Many of us have heard about the health benefits of probiotics, but we have a hard time deciding which one to purchase and why. There are a ton of different options out there on store shelves, so it definitely can be hard to choose! I’m going to help you out by giving you an overview of probiotics and what they do in your body, as well as what to look for when you are ready to purchase one.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are the “good” live bacteria and yeast that are found in your gut. There are a number of different strains of these good bugs including:
- Lactobacillus (there are 18 different strains)
- Bifidobacterium (there are 8 strains)
- Streptococcus (the beneficial form of this bacteria (there are very harmful forms as well) is involved in oral health, but I’m not going to focus on it in this post).
What Do Probiotics Do Inside Your Body?
Probiotics play a number of very important roles in your body, from gut health to boosting your immune health. Research is ongoing into the many beneficial things that probiotics can do, including improvements in mental health! Here is a sampling of conditions or symptoms that these good bacteria may help with:
- improve skin conditions, including eczema
- relieve irritable bowel symptoms
- oral health
- vaginal and urinary health
- improving immunity, including allergy relief and prevention of colds.
- re-populate good gut bacteria during and after a course of antibiotics. While antibiotics are good at fighting infection, they can also kill off the good bacteria in your digestive tract.
Because our “good” gut bacteria can help us stay healthy in so many ways, I take one every day in my Vitalizer strip (it’s Optiflora). I give my kids probiotics too!
How to Choose the Right Probiotic
Because of all the great benefits associated with probiotics, there are a number of different choices from which to choose. Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting one:
- Make sure it has the right bacteria strains– like L.acidophilus, B. Longum and B.bifidum
- Look for products with high quality control standards that you can trust (why I use Shaklee for me and the fam!).
- Delivery system. You want to make sure that the probiotic you choose actually gets absorbed in your intestines where it can go to work. Some probiotics are digested fully in the stomach and never make it to where they are needed most!
Do you take a probiotic daily?
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