Anyone who comes to Exhale will hear the word Probiotic.  I find they are extremely valuable to not only the health of our intestinal system but to our general wellbeing, and here is why…

Probiotics are the friendly bacteria that reside in the gastrointestinal tract (GI).  They make the conditions of the bowel extremely inhospitable for bad bacteria, they inhibit the growth of the bad and making room for more good bacteria to grow. Probiotics can help reduce inflammation, create certain vitamins/minerals, kill bad bacteria, help digest food, help breakdown food, and they also can help cancel out the effects of toxins and environmental pollutants that we cannot avoid.

5 good points about probiotics:

1. Probiotics decrease the incidence of colds, allergies and eczema.

Probiotics are not a magic bullet, but those that contain live organisms may provide health benefits, like shortening the duration of a cold. They can also help with common intestinal symptoms and decrease urinary tract infections in women.

2. Probiotics can relieve everything from irritable bowel syndrome to high cholesterol.

Since probiotics are live microorganisms, when taken in large enough quantities, they can help improve and maintain the health of your gastrointestinal tract. If you boost the populations of good bacteria in your gut, it makes sense that you’re not only improving your gut health, but also benefiting other aspects of your health linked to the gut –- including your immune system. This is because the gut encounters foreign substances every day in the food we eat, making it a major line of defense against potentially harmful pathogens.

Irritable bowel syndrome, (IBS), with its range of unpleasant symptoms including bloating, flatulence and diarrhea, is a condition often treated over the counter with probiotics. The link between the gut and our immune system has also prompted great interest in the benefits of probiotics in treating a range of allergic and auto-immune conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease. There is growing evidence that gut flora plays a significant part in these diseases.

3. There are 10 times more bacterial cells in the body than human cells.

They could all fit into a half-gallon jug because they are much smaller in size. Intestinal bacteria boost the immune system by regulating the population and density of intestinal immune cells.

4. Probiotics have a direct relationship to the Central Nervous System.

Research has also connected the gut’s probiotics to the brain via a conduit between the central nervous system and the enteric nervous system. The enteric nervous system is located in the abdominal region around the digestive tract. Many of our neurotransmitters are produced in this region and the neurons relay mind-body responses between the gut and the brain stem.

5. There are numerous strains of probiotics, the main four are:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus, this is the best known one and its job is to guard the large intestine
  • Lactobacillus bifudus protects the small intestine
  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus travels through the entire digestive system and gives the other two a helping hand.
  • Saccharomyces boulardi, this is also known as S. boulardii and is the only yeast probiotic and studies have shown it can ease the symptoms of traveller’s diarrhea and can also be helpful in treating acne.

There are several other strains of probiotics, but the main thing to remember is that each of us is different, on the outside and especially on the inside.  I personally believe that each of us should be taking a probiotic as we live in a society that has pollutants all around us.  Our bodies work so hard so why not put something good in to help our gut work at its best?