Bacteria in the gut. Who needs more of that, right? Even if it’s so-called ‘good’ bacteria. After all, it’s bacteria that’s responsible for infections and giving us stomach complaints and food poisoning, right…? So goes the train of thinking that accompanies the unease and suspicion among many of the uninitiated when it comes to probiotics – and especially probiotic supplements.
But what they’re not aware of is that, should their digestive systems be healthy and they don’t suffer from issues like bloating, excess gas, constipation, diarrhoea or even irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), they have millions upon millions of bacteria in their gut already and have had them there since birth. And the majority of those bacteria are the ‘good’ kind; in fact, the fact it’s the ‘good’ or ‘friendly’ kind outnumbering the ‘bad’ infecting kind is what keeps their intestinal tracts healthy and free from stomach and digestive complaints.
Probiotics – and, by extension, the supplements that contain them – fit into all this in a very positive, very beneficial way because, as ‘friendly’ live bacteria and yeasts themselves, they’re specifically designed to be consumed to boost the levels of intestinal ‘good’ bacteria and restore the important gut flora balance. No wonder then that so many medical studies can be found online testifying of their health benefits and why in excess of 60% of UK households regularly buy them – whether in the form of drinks, yogurts or specific supplements.
Crowding out the bad bacteria
To say then there’s convincing evidence that taking the right probiotic products (especially in targeted supplements) will do you good is putting it mildly. And it’s not just about putting your gut right after travelling abroad, having been left with an icky tummy due to a bug that’s upset your system. The reality is that taking the right probiotics should also aid you if you’re taking antibiotics for a particular ailment, yet have found (or been informed, say, by a medical professional) that the drugs are killing off those all-important ‘good’ gut bacteria as well as the bad ones.
And because probiotics are all about crowding out the bad bacteria, they’re all about prevention too. Not only will they ease IBS-related symptoms and thus minimise the effects of gut infections, but by diminishing the numbers of harmful bacteria in the intestinal tract they can help prevent you developing infections and experiencing unpleasant complaints. Moreover, there are signs that certain probiotics go even further. The latest medical evidence seems to suggest that some can contribute to the stimulation of cells for gut immunity; that’s to say, they encourage the secretion of molecules and the transportation of them into the bloodstream to improve the body’s immune response.
Taking the right probiotics
A win-win all round then? You better believe it! Indeed, the more probiotics you take the better the gut flora balance you ought to achieve and, frankly, as it’s very difficult to overdose on probiotics, even if you take too many or the ‘wrong’ kind for your particular complaint, they’re not going to harm you. That said; how do you know which to take to tackle a specific ailment? Well, that’s where a bit of research comes in. It means popping online and (by visiting websites like The Finchley Clinic) looking up what’s going to fit what you require best.
For instance, you might check out Biocare probiotics; this company produces a number of different probiotic-based supplements, each of which is focused on benefitting your gut health in a different way. Here are a few examples:
- MicroFloraGuard – smartly releases friendly bacteria and antiseptic and antifungal garlic and botanical oils to boost ‘good’ bacteria levels, but at distinctly separate times to avoid the effects cancelling each other out
- Bifidobacterium Bifidum – one of the major friendly bacteria located in the lower intestine, Bifidobacteria are excellent at exerting a controlling influence over the overall balance of gut flora
- Replete Intensive – offers 130 billion probiotic organisms in each sachet, helping to establish gut flora balance quickly; can be used while or immediately after taking antibiotics.