This time of the year is notorious for poor health… and once one member of the family comes home with a cold, flu or stomach bug… the rest fall like flies!
This year I’m doing something different in an attempt to keep us all as healthy as possible… (Is there anything more stressful than a sick child?? Oh yes, having a sick child while you too are sick… No “sickies” for us moms, is there?!)
Anyway, I’m trying a new tactic… Probiotics!
Probiotics are often suggested by doctors prescribing antibiotics (or in marketing blurbs for yoghurt), but there is a lot more to them and I recently spent some time finding out a bit more about what the real benefits of probiotics are. What I discovered is that they are a great way to boost the general health of my family and improve all of our immune systems during winter…
What are Probiotics?
Your intestinal tract is home to billions of bacteria, both good and bad. An estimated 100 trillion microorganisms, representing more than 500 different species, inhabit every healthy bowel (weighing up to 2 kg!)
The root of the word probiotic comes from the Greek word pro, meaning “promoting,” and biotic, meaning “life.”
The World Health Organisation defines a Probiotic as any living microorganism that has a health benefit when ingested.
Many northern Europeans consume a lot of these beneficial microorganisms because of their tradition of eating fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and live-cultured yoghurt.
Why do we need Probiotics?
Unfortunately when the balance between good and bad gut flora is disturbed by factors such as stress, poor diet, travel, illness, antibiotics etc, our gut reacts and causes various symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and, subsequently, a weakened immune system.
So now we know what they are and why we need them… here are a few of The Benefits of Probiotics
- Probiotics encourage the good bacteria living in your intestines to take care of your gut by balancing the intestinal flora.
- These microflora don’t make us sick, but rather keep in check gut-dwelling pathogens (that do make us sick).
- Probiotics help to move food through your gut to maintain the balance of gut microflora and aid in digestion and nutrient absorption.
- One of the main functions of healthy bacteria is to stimulate immune response and by maintaining good intestinal flora, a person can help to maintain a healthy immune system. (Some studies have been shown that they prevent colds!)
- Probiotic therapy may help people digestive diseases such as Irritable bowel syndrome, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) & Crohn’s disease.
- Probiotics are known to treat infectious diarrhoea (caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites) and controlled trials have shown that Probiotics can shorten the course of infectious diarrhoea in infants and children.
- Unfortunately when we take antibiotics – medicine that is designed to kill destructive, illness-causing bacteria – the drugs can also kill the healthy intestinal flora that helps us digest. About 30 percent of the patients who take antibiotics report suffering from diarrhoea or some other form of gastrointestinal distress and Probiotics are able to “repopulate” the digestive tract with healthy bacteria after a bout of antibiotics.
- There is some research to show that Probiotics may help to delay the development of allergies and eczema in children when taken by pregnant moms. One large, high quality study found a relationship between women taking probiotics during pregnancy and a 30 percent reduction in the instance of childhood eczema (an early sign of allergies) in their infants.
- Probiotics can prevent vaginal yeast infections in women. Like the intestinal tract, the vagina is a finely balanced ecosystem. The dominant Lactobacilli strains normally make it too acidic for harmful microorganisms to survive, but the system can be thrown out of balance by a number of factors, including antibiotics, spermicides, and birth control pills. Probiotic treatment that restores the balance of microflora may be helpful for treating problems such as bacterial vaginosis & yeast infections.
- Probiotics help to prevent urinary tract infections, according to the research.
- Probiotics can improve oral health.
- A study run in 2006 by Stanford University found that obese people had different gut bacteria to normal-weighted people and some preliminary research showed that probiotics could help obese people who have had weight loss surgery maintain their weight loss although it’s still unclear how probiotics play a role in weight loss!
As you can see the right balance of microflora is important to our overall health all the time, not just when we are on antibiotics!
With all these health benefits you can see why I’m giving Probiotics a try… and fortunately I’ve found a Probiotic that my whole family can take daily….
entiro comes in capsule or chewable form and can be used with antibiotics or as a daily probiotic supplement – from age 2 up.
Probiotics are generally considered safe — they’re already present in a normal digestive system — although there’s a theoretical risk for people with impaired immune function. Please contact your healthcare practitioner for any medical conditions and / or treatment related queries. entiro™ is not indicated for the treatment of specific conditions.