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Probiotics: Good Health Begins in Your Gut

Probiotics support gut health after antibiotics, protect against infection and reduce painful bloating.

Our gastrointestinal tract is filled with trillions of microscopic living organisms that enable us to fight infection and invasive organisms. They also keep our immune systems strong and perform essential functions all the way along the gut. The colony of bacteria is like an internal garden filled with thousands of different plants, and when it’s thriving and healthy, so are we. If our bodies are disrupted by things like infection, stress, etc. other types of bacteria can populate the gut and cause health problems.

I’ve had great results with OptiBac ‘s range of probiotics and I now recommend them professionally.

Probiotics with Antibiotics

Antibiotics can interfere with the natural balance in the gut, and many people experience the uncomfortable effects of diarrhoea or thrush during antibiotic use. The side effects occur because antibiotics do exactly what they describe: they wipe out bacteria in the entire intestinal tract. Thankfully, these symptoms can be avoided by taking specific types of probiotics along with antibiotics. These robust strains of friendly bacteria have been shown to reach the gut alive in clinical trials, and also repopulate the gut after the antibiotics are finished.

The advantages of taking probiotics with penicillin and other medication is just the start. Our gut is home for a wide variety of beneficial bacteria: around 1.5kg of living micro-organisms that assist with digestion, keep our immune systems strong and have a vital role in promoting health. Damage to the colony can cause problems in the way the gut functions, so it’s wise to continue to take probiotics for 6 to 8 weeks after the medication is finished.

Naturopath and herbalist Megan Crowch from OptiBac specialises in gut health, and makes an important point on the potential role of probiotics in helping to tackle antibiotic resistance.  Megan says, “Antibiotic resistance (the ability for a bacteria to prevent antibiotics from working against it) poses a dangerous threat on a global level. One of the ways in which pathogens are thought to gain antibiotic resistance is when people start a course of antibiotics as prescribed, but fail to finish it – often due to side effects experienced.  Stopping a course of antibiotics half way through means that not all the pathogens are killed, indeed those which are most resistant survive. This means the infection can re-occur, but the same antibiotics may not work the second time round. And worse, this resistant bacteria can easily spread from person to person.  Taking probiotics with antibiotics has been shown in clinical trials to help prevent common side effects of antibiotics such as thrush and diarrhoea – and essentially this could mean that if people took a probiotic with their antibiotic, they’d be less likely to stop halfway through a course, and less likely to allow bacteria to develop an antibiotic resistance”. Try OptiBac’s For those on antibiotics to significantly reduce antibiotic associated side effects.

Probiotics for Holidays

Who doesn’t love a holiday? Foreign shores and foreign food bring a two-fold challenge: the potential for bugs, and local delicacies that our digestive systems just aren’t used to. Gut bacteria is our first line of defence against bugs:  they attack and destroy invading pathogens to stop them spreading.  They also provide a physical barrier to infection, preventing organisms from latching on to the intestinal mucosa -the surface lining of the gut.

A change of diet and time zone can cause havoc with digestion. Probiotics maintain regularity to keep things moving smoothly and can reliably reduce both constipation and ‘traveller’s tummy’. And if the worst does happen and you’re hit by ‘Montezuma’s revenge’, the soothing qualities of probiotics help to ease inflammation and neutralise toxins to settle things down and return your system to normal quickly.

Children and adults benefit from taking probiotics up to 2 weeks before going away to ensure maximum protection from infection. Try OptiBac’s For Travelling Abroad.

Probiotics for Bloating

Gut problems often manifest with bloating: an uncomfortable distension of the stomach. It is an incredibly common problem and women are thought to suffer most. Some bloating can be attributed to changes in hormones during the menstrual cycle. If you experience bloating after eating or when your stomach is empty, your gut may benefit from some help to get things back to normal.

It’s currently popular to blame food sensitivity and to eliminate foods such as wheat or dairy; but it’s unwise to cut foods out of your diet without expert advice, and it is often unnecessary. The friendly bacteria actually assist with digestion in the small intestine, helping the breakdown and assimilation of food. Low gut bacteria can cause digestion to slow down, which increases the production of intestinal gas and bloating.

Worry, stress, unhealthy food, excess alcohol- even our emotions affect the delicate balance of bacteria and disrupt the ecosystem. Topping up with probiotics to re-establish the right balance reduces bloating, improves digestion and helps to guard against long term digestive problems.

Try OptiBac’s One Week Flat

Enjoy feeling great!

Elaine Bartlett, Dip.ITEC, Kinesiologist and Natural Health Therapist.

Health, Beauty and Wellness Blog

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