Supplementing with a probiotic is a smart preventative approach, as research evidence shows that certain probiotic strains are able to enhance immune function and help to manufacture certain vitamins, including B and K, and some digestive enzymes that can help reduce various symptoms associated with gastro-intestinal conditions.
“Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host”. There are about 100 trillion “good” bacteria that are in or on the human body. These bacteria are known as “probiotics” (friendly bacteria), because they are essential for human life – they are needed to digest food, synthesize certain vitamins, and to form a barricade against disease-causing bacteria.
With the Human Microbiome Project scientists discovered as many as a thousand bacterial strains on each person. And each person’s collection of microbes, the microbiome, was different from the next person’s.
One way to cause imbalances in our gut flora is by overusing antibiotics. Antibiotics kill off both good and bad bacteria and may be responsible for a number of gastrointestinal disorders. One of those is C. diff — short for Clostridium difficile – these are spore-forming bacteria that cause diarrhea. Taking a probiotic supplement while taking an antibiotic can help recolonize the friendly bacteria in your intestines.
But which probiotic to take?
The Human Microbiome Project showed that we have as much as a thousand bacterial strains and our personal collections differ. So, does one size fit all? At this point, it is not possible to get your own personal probiotic flora. Something to consider is to take probiotic supplements that are very common to most, if not all, people. For instance, Lactobacillus is the prevalent good bacteria in the small intestine, and Bifidobacterium is the most dominant good bacteria in the large intestine
There are a whole host of benefits to taking probiotic supplements as discussed above–to replenish your friendly bacteria lost while on antibiotics, enhance your immune system, and to manufacture vitamins.