Are Probiotics Necessary For Optimal Health?

One of the most interesting health trends that has emerged in the 21st century is the ingestion of live bacteria for health purposes.

Our ancestors would be baffled. Did you say, bacteria? As in, germs? Those creatures that hide in public toilets… You…

No, gran.

We’re talking about the good guys, namely bifidobacterium and lactobacillus. Both can be found in yogurts and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi. More recently, they have become available in supplement form. They aid the body in digesting foods (especially sugars – bacteria loves sugar) and in maintaining a healthy gut flora by starving out excess bad germs and candida.

The question is whether it’s necessary to supplement with probiotics if you are already eating a balanced diet. Let’s remember that these critters occur naturally in the gut and are only ever depleted by the use of antibiotics. Let us remember that they live and thrive, and reproduce in the gut. Overburdening your body with probiotics could do more harm than good, and could cause gas, bloating, diarrhoea, and gastrointestinal discomfort. They will not, however, cause a yeast infection (those are caused by candida overgrowth, which probiotics assist in controlling).

It’s always necessary to consult your GP before going ahead and adding a new supplement to your daily regimen, but probiotics are fairly safe, provided you follow the instructions on the packaging. I would recommend taking a probiotic if you have been on antibiotics in the last six weeks or suffer from:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Gas
  • Flatulence
  • Sluggish digestion
  • Hormonal problems
  • Eczema
  • Oral ulcers

Takeaway message

Probiotics can assist in managing a variety of health problems and there’s no harm in adding them to your supplement regimen, but please pay close attention to the changes which occur in your body after proceeding with them and if you suffer any kind of allergic reaction, stop immediately and consult your GP.