Probiotics are live microorganisms that are naturally present in the body. Here we focus on probiotics mainly in the digestive tract and vagina lining.
Probiotics are the “good bugs” that live in your body, and are considered beneficial to the body. They exist in a symbiotic relationship with our bodies, performing duties that we need to maintain good health. Some of the ways they help us are by suppressing the growth of bad bugs, improving immune function, helping to produce Vitamin K, and aiding in digestion.
In the digestive tract alone, there are over 400 species of probiotics, the most common being lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. These bugs perform a whole host of duties, and most of the time, live quietly with you your whole life. When the balance between probiotics (good bugs) and bad bugs is disturbed, the bad bugs increase in number and this can lead to health issues. This is called dysbiosis, and most commonly results in digestive disturbances and vaginal yeast infections. Dysbiosis can be caused by many ways, but the most common are oral antibiotics, inadequate dietary fiber, and ingestion of environmental toxins. If you experience dysbiosis either in the vaginal or digestive tract, it is beneficial to use probiotic supplements to restore the balance between good bugs and bad.
Probiotic supplements come in many forms - capsule, liquid, powder, or tablets. Whatever form you choose, make sure they are of good quality. You get no benefit by eating dead probiotics!
An easy way to consume probiotics is in cultured dairy products, such as yogurt or kefir. The number of live organisms in each product varies greatly, depending on processing. For maximum benefits, it is beneficial to choose organic and low sugar products. The dosage varies by the probiotic. Read the product instructions and consult with a holistic and integrative medicine doctor for the probiotics that best fit your needs.