If you haven’t given probiotics a try, it’s time to start. You’ve heard that bacteria can do harm to your body, but some bacteria are actually necessary to keep your body healthy. Probiotics help give you healthy bacteria in order to carry out daily functions. Dr. Stephanie Grossman, MD, helps us dissect probiotics down to their core.
Probiotics Can Help in Three Ways
1. Improve digestion
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease, IBD, are well-researched examples of how important probiotics are to the gut improvement of gastrointestinal infections. From Dr. Grossman’s experience, patients taking probiotics has helped decrease bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
2. Strengthen your immune system
Through a process of regulating lymphocytes and antibodies, your immune system will be in better shape according to Dr. Grossman. This can reduce the amount of respiratory infections you tend to get.
3. Enhance bioavailability
Key nutrients such as zinc, iron, calcium, copper, magnesium and all the B vitamins will flourish in your body!
You will see even more improvements as well, thanks to probiotics. You may see rashes and autoimmune processes, such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, improve. You will be less sensitive to foods, and you’ll have fewer yeast infections. Taking a probiotic could help you treat illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome, coronary disease, anxiety, and depression.
How to Begin a Probiotic Regimen
Every person and condition are different, so every treatment is different. Specific strains of bacteria, including lactobacillus, bifiobacteria and sacchcromyes, target certain illnesses. The strain chosen depends on your underlying purpose for taking probiotics. While probiotics are effective for everyone across the board, different dosages are used for specific people due to age and sensitivity. Typically, Dr. Grossman starts patients off with 20 CFU (colony forming units) with four to five strains. However, children should begin with a lower colony count like 5 CFU. For patients with IBS, doses of up to 450 CFU have been effective and shown symptomatic relief.
In addition to the supplement itself, it is also possible to eat probiotic-rich foods. Dr. Grossman enjoys foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and tempeh which are considered probiotic-rich. Including these foods in your diet is a great way to promote wellness and a healthy gut.
How To Get the Treatment You Need with Probiotics
Unfortunately, the NIH, CDC and FDA are not guiding patients to the benefits of probiotics. “I suppose label accuracy and product purity may play a role in appropriately advising the general population,” says Dr. Grossman. However, more and more people are turning to alternative medicine as a means of care and treatment. Patients are drawn to an integrative approach in order to meet their needs and understand the practices and products used to maintain health, according to Dr. Grossman. It’s also easier to obtain these supplements since they are classified as food products for diet enhancement as opposed to drugs regulated by the FDA. “They are not regulated by the stricter standards used for prescription and over-the-counter drugs,” says Dr. Grossman.
Despite the lack of mainstream support, the popularity of probiotics is increasing. Dr. Grossman has seen patients who started using the supplement before even coming to the Center. Based on the patients she has seen, they are effective. Probiotics are helping patients everywhere due to their beneficial properties. “It’s the one supplement that is beneficial for most if not all people to take,” says Dr. Grossman.