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Probiotics are the Answer to Many Digestive Problems

By Expert HERWriter
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In my last blog I wrote about dysbiosis, an imbalance of the digestive flora that causes pain and discomfort in the digestive area. In the treatment plan I briefly mentioned probiotics as one part of the solution. Today I would like to take a more indepth look at probiotics because they are beginning to get more exposure in the media.

Probiotic is a generic term used to describe the beneficial micro-organisms that live in our digestive tract. The term includes several different species that live and populate our colon. Traditionally these micro organisms, or beneficial flora, would continually be repopulated by the foods that we ate as part of our normal diet.

The beneficial flora was obtained through eating fermented foods. Most cultures have daily foods that are fermented. For example, Italians eat antipasto, Japanese eat miso or tempeh, eastern Europeans eat kiefer or yogurt, Koreans eat kymchee, Germans eat sauerkraut.

Eating these foods as part of a balanced diet helped to maintain the normal digestive process for the culture. Unfortunately the Standard American Diet (SAD) does not have any elements of a fermented foods as a staple part of it’s foundation. This highly processed highly refined diet actually tends to create an ideal environment for harmful micro-organisms.

If you watch TV you will see yogurt commercials explaining the benefits of probiotics. They talk about one of the beneficial strains call Lactobacillus Bifidus but there are other strains like Lactobacillus acidolphilus, L. fermentum, L. casea, L. salivores, L. brevis and L. plantarum. All of these in combination are important to have the good flora in the digestive tract.

I feel that it is also important to mention that infants under one year have different but specific flora necessary to help digest their milk based diets as well. Again these beneficial bacteria are maintained by eating fermented foods along with a whole food, high fiber diet. When patient come into my office for treatment of dysbiosis, I sometimes have to give them supplementation of probiotics to help rebalance the flora.

Add a Comment5 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Any published cites, please? - I've been looking and haven't found any studies that show any conclusive evidence of efficacy of probiotics.

January 21, 2010 - 2:00pm
(reply to Anonymous)

I'm a big believer in probiotics. A great site for information is the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: nccam.nih.gov. Search for probiotics and you'll find a number of articles and a lot of references. Hope this helps.

April 14, 2012 - 4:37pm

Thank Dr. Dae for an interesting article. My diet in Australia would be similar to an American diet with not a lot of probiotics consumed. I take supplements but am wondering what other foods would be good to eat to increase probiotics in my diet. Do you have any suggestions of foods not supplements? Thanks! Kellie

September 15, 2009 - 6:49pm

Hey ladies! i was browsing around the website and this article caught my eye. have y'all heard of Ritter Pharmaceuticals? they have these two, great products that contain probiotics. if y'all are interested in learning more about their products, you should definitely check out their website.


September 15, 2009 - 3:18pm

Thanks for talking more about probiotics. I've been a fan of these beneficial bacteria for a while now, and it's great to see the public getting more interested in this and other natural health alternatives. I'm a big fan of Sedona Labs probiotics. They manufacture a great product called iFlora Multi-Probiotic that contains 16 different probiotic strains. Different strains offer different health benefits because they focus on different areas of the digestive tract. For me a diverse and potent probiotic supplement is the way to go. Sedona Labs even carries a Professional line available to Health Care Professionals for use in their practice (www.sedonalabspro.com).
- Anna M

August 26, 2009 - 7:33am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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