26 Sep Taking Care of Your Core
Any personal trainer will stress the importance of the strength of your core. They are referring to the abdominal, back and upper thigh muscles that support our bodies and support our balance. Your body also has an “internal” core and that is your gut. Probiotics are beneficial, friendly bacteria that reside in our intestinal tract. There are approximately 500 different strains of this bacteria – and in fact, there are several times more bacteria in our intestinal tract than there are cells in our body! In all, there are three to four pounds of bacteria growing in our intestinal tract daily. These bacteria are essential for healthy living and the core of our total wellness.
Lactobacillus bacteria are the primary bacterial strain living in our small intestine, while the Bifidobacterium are the main bacteria in residence in our large intestine. Depending on the strain, gut bacteria and probiotics perform many important functions in our bodies. First, they are an essential part of our immune system and work to increase the production of immune cells in the intestinal tract. It has been stated that 70 percent of our immune function lies within the gut. This gut flora serves another function by helping to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Probiotics have been shown to assist in helping to lower cholesterol. The major role of gut flora, and ultimately probiotics in the gut, is to assist in the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients such as calcium and other minerals.
Finally, gut bacteria have been shown to produce certain vitamins in our intestinal tract.
A healthy bacterial flora is essential for good health. However, there are several ways that the population of these essential bacteria can be diminished. Taking an antibiotic will eliminate the good bacteria as well as those causing an infection. Episodes of diarrhea, extended periods of stress, drinking chlorinated water, eating excessive amounts of processed sugars, poor sleep, and alcohol consumption can all disrupt the intestinal flora.
Probiotics have been shown to be helpful for a wide range of health issues:
- Using probiotics while on antibiotics helps to reduce diarrhea and prevent yeast infections
- Relieving diarrhea by re-establishing normal gut flora
- Improving digestion and minimizing acid reflux
- Managing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Enhancing recovery in compromised immune systems
- Aid in the prevention of recurrent yeast infections
With the many probiotic formulas, how does one choose? We normally look at the strength of the probiotic, listed as CFUs, and the number of bacterial species in the product. Florajen® contains 15 billion live cultures per capsule of both lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species to cover both the large and small intestine.
Because of the importance healthy intestinal flora, we also now carry two additional high quality, high potency, multi-strain probiotics, Probiotic Megablend and Extra Strength Probiotic. They both contain 8 strains of beneficial bacteria and are recommended for intensive support when taking antibiotics, fighting vaginal yeast infections and other related conditions. They also contain FOS which is a “prebiotic” that provides food for the good bacteria so they can thrive.
Please contact us if you have questions or think that a high-quality probiotic may be right for you or your family.