What are probiotics and what do they do?
The medical communities answer to so many illnesses is to introduce a pill or treatment into the body’s systems that will rid it of unfriendly and dangerous organisms of either the bacterial, viral or cancerous variety. Antibiotics, radiation, chemotherapy and others have been effective and life saving for years. There is a dark side however that should not be discounted. Our bodies (the intestinal tract in particular) play host to thousands of beneficial organisms known collectively as probiotics.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics populate the intestinal tract from its entrance at the mouth all the way through to its exit at the hind quarters. The presence of these bacterial colonies is not cause for alarm, but gratitude. Probiotics are one of the body’s main line defense against illness and disease.
The list of maladies cured, prevented or beneficially treated by probiotics is lengthy and growing. Research in this area is exciting with discoveries being made regularly. One of the most exciting benefits associated with probiotics is that of reduction in the occurrence of certain types of cancer. Simple prevention is not all probiotics are good for; they also reduce relapse and help the body heal after surgery.
Other Benefits of Probiotics
The benefits of probiotics extend far beyond cancer, however. A healthy body has anywhere from 100 to 1,000 billion probiotic organisms in 1/5 of one teaspoon in the intestinal tract. These organisms literally eat harmful disease-causing bacteria for lunch, breakfast, and dinner too. They protect against yeast infections. Diarrhea, stomach cramps, constipation, and gassy stomachs are all associated with a dip in the healthy probiotic population.
One way these helpers function is by colonizing every possible area and thereby leaving no space for harmful bugs to get a toehold. Every living thing needs and adequate supply of elbow room not only to thrive but to live at all. With any and all available inner body real estate occupied the bad bugs haven’t got a change and just keep moving along and eventually out.
Eating and evicting bad cells is not the end of probiotic function. These little critters build health by aiding in digestion, and the synthesis and absorption of vitamins. The extra nutrients go a long way to keeping the body’s own defenses running at peak capacity.
The problem, if there is one, with probiotics is that like all living creatures their life is somewhat fragile. When the doctor says take two of these and call me in the morning what is really happening is a whole sale slaughter of all biotins, good and bad, within the body. Probiotics are also negatively affected by meats and other food sources that are full of antibiotics that are in high use on farms, dairies and ranches that produce our food supply.
To keep your inner body’s flora and fauna flourishing it is wise to look into a probiotic supplement. The most commonly known is yogurt, but there are other more potent and desirable probiotic products available. To get a quality probiotic supplement ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Signs of Probiotic Deficiency
Probiotic deficiency is no laughing matter! There are some signs to look out for that can indicate you need more probiotics in your diet. Of course, always make sure to consult with a medical professional before firmly deciding that you need more probiotics in your diet.
One of the most tell-tale signs of probiotic deficiency is issues with your digestive system. This can manifest in a variety of ways, but symptoms often include diarrhea and constipation. Make sure your diet includes enough fiber, as this is also crucial for the healthy operation of your gut.
Interestingly, sleep problems may be linked to a probiotic deficiency. If you've been having trouble sleeping lately, try eating yogurt more regularly and see if that helps. Sleep isn't the only area that probiotics can affect; they can also affect your mood and mental health. If you've been unusually anxious or depressed lately, a lack of probiotics could be the reason.
Finally, being deficient in probiotics can also cause weight gain. Probiotics aid the body in breaking down fat, so not having enough of them can be a recipe for disaster. If you're currently trying to lose or maintain weight, talk to a nutritional specialist about whether consuming more probiotics makes sense for you.
The content of this article should not be taken as professional medical advice. Always consult a medical professional before making decisions pertaining to your or your family's health.