Pros and Cons of Probiotics

When you think of probiotics you might be inclined to think of yogurt. While yogurt is a good source of probiotic cultures, it has a limited amount of beneficial bacteria per serving. These days, there are many brands of probiotic supplements available on the market, and they are worth considering. When taken in supplement form, you are more likely to receive an adequate amount of the beneficial culture. Those who are concerned about digestive health and overall immune support, might want to consult with a health care provider to see if probiotics are a good choice.

What are Probiotics and What Do They offer?

For those who are not sure exactly what probiotics are and what they have to offer, the answer is quite simple. Probiotics are laboratory grown strains of the “good” or beneficial bacteria that live in the digestive tract. The good bacteria not only helps keep digestion running smoothly, but can actually help the body ward off the harmful bacteria that tries to enter the system. By taking a probiotic supplement daily, one can strengthen the immune system and help prevent digestive problems from occurring frequently.

There are many individuals that take probiotic supplements to help regulate the digestive system. Many health and nutrition experts believe that probiotics may prevent constipation and travelers’ diarrhea. Probiotics may also be used for children and infants suffering from colic. Generally, probiotics are considered to be safe and not cause any harmful or adverse reaction in most people. As with any nutritional supplement, it is best to consult with a physician before beginning a regimen.


Are All Probiotic Supplements Created Equal?

Just as not every nutritional supplement is created equal, some forms of probiotics may offer better protection than others. For example, a probiotic supplement that is exposed to light and air may lose potency by the time it is consumed. It is best to choose a probiotic supplement that is foil wrapped to ensure light and air do not pass through. The microorganisms that are present in probiotic supplements that are not individually wrapped may diminish due to exposure to air, light and moisture. In addition, it may be best to look for supplements that are manufactured by a well known pharmaceutical company.


Probiotic Strains May Also Differ

When shopping for probiotic supplements there are specific strains to look for. According to some experts, there are several strains of probiotics that have been safely used with proven results. Lactobacillus is one of the proven strains of probiotics that seem to have a positive effect on the digestive tract. Acidophillus is another proven strain of probiotic to look for. You may also want to choose a strain of probiotic supplement known as bifidobacterium lactis. There are some probiotic supplements that combine several strains and these may offer benefits not found in others.


Other Considerations While Using Antibiotics

Many individuals use probiotic supplements while taking a course of antibiotic therapy. Although antibiotics are prescribed to destroy harmful bacterial infections or prevent them from spreading, these medications may also destroy the beneficial bacteria that is present in the human body. Some women may be prone to yeast infections while taking antibiotics, which is why the use of probiotic supplements may be encouraged by physicians.

Consuming yogurt that contains live and active probiotic cultures is often beneficial while on antibiotics. When taking probiotics while on antibiotic medication however, it is important not to take both together. Spacing the antibiotic and probiotic supplement one hour apart is typically recommended.


Trust Your Gut

In conclusion, if your physician feels it might be worthwhile to give probiotic supplements a try, you might want to consider checking out various forms at your local pharmacy. Whether you hope to boost your digestive health or counteract the negative aspect of taking antibiotics, you have many choices. If you have further questions, ask your local pharmacist which probiotic supplements might work best for you.

Tom White  is an Independent Associate with Isagenix International, a company who provide celluar nutrition and cleansing solutions to people in 7 countries around the world. You can order Isagenix products online.

Dominic Tiberio

View posts by Dominic Tiberio
Dominic Tiberio is a 2019 Summer intern for Men's Health Network. Dominic is pursuing a bachelors in Health Services Administration at James Madison University.

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