Probiotics 101: FIVE Questions Everyone Should Know About Probiotics
1. What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that allow both the good and bad bacteria in our body to cohabitate respectively.
Our body is full of both good and bad bacteria. Taking a probiotic regularly provides our digestive tract with the balance that it needs. When good bacteria is lost (for example when taking antibiotics), Probiotics can help to replace the good bacteria in our body.
2. What are the different types?
Lactobacillus may be the most common probiotic. It’s the one you’ll find in yogurt and other fermented foods. Different strains can help with diarrhea and may help with people who can’t digest lactose, the sugar in milk.
Bifidobacterium can be found in some dairy products. It may help ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and some other conditions.
Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast found in probiotics. It appears to help fight diarrhea and other digestive problems.
3. What does CFU mean?
CFU stands for Colony Forming Units. The numbers that are followed by CFU represent the amount of bacteria in the probiotic that would be able to divide and form their own colonies.
4. How do I choose what amount of CFU is best for me?
The jury is out on the exact amount of CFU's for those who are just trying to keep their ratio of good and bad bacteria equal
Anywhere from 1 to 5 billion for the younger and/or healthier individuals is suggested.
For a daily dose to maintain a good digestive track 5 to 10 billion would be suggested.
For individuals on antibiotics 10 to 15 billion would be suggested to allow your digestive system to heal. Once you have completed the antibiotics and you feel that your system has been replenished you can decrease back down to the daily dose you normally take.
For those with digestive tract issues, other health issues and for those older in age, a larger amount 15-45 billion would be recommended.
5. What are some of the benefits of taking a daily probiotic?
- Improve and regulate proper digestive health
- Improve overall immune health
- Relief of symptoms of Irritated Bowel Disease
- Helps to enhance mood: Almost 95% of your body’s serotonin—the happiness chemical also found in the brain—is manufactured by your gut bacteria!
- Decrease inflammation
- Improves overall skin health and aids in treating various skin diseases