Improve your gut defense with probiotics!

Improve Your Gut Defense with Probiotics

Despite their bad-guy reputation, bacteria aren’t all evil. In fact, your digestive tract contains ten times more bacteria—the good kind—than all the rest of the body’s cells combined. Also called intestinal flora, these beneficial bugs help you digest food, keep your bowels regular, and make tiny amounts of some vitamins. “Probiotics should be considered indispensable essential nutrients,” says Marcus Laux, ND, of San Francisco.

For routine maintenance and to prevent illness, many integrative physicians recommend probiotics daily from supplements or food, such as active-culture yogurt. In particular, lactobacillus and bifidobacteria probiotics essentially function as microbial “anchors” in the gut, supporting populations of other good bacteria; supplement with 1 billion CFU lactobacillus and bifidobacteria species daily. (CFU stands for colony forming units, or the number of living and reproducing bacteria.)

Unfortunately, most people don’t think about probiotics until they’ve developed a problem. “Intestinal dysfunctions, whether from prescribed antibiotics or traveler’s diarrhea, demand probiotic supplementation to promote healing and to support a faster, full recovery,” Laux says. But these gut helpers can be confusing because there are so many different types. Here’s how to use friendly flora to keep your gut and its tiny residents happy.

-Delicious Living Magazine

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