Author - Catherine Cole

There is so much talk today about probiotics and gut health. The intricacies of the microbiome are the subject of hundreds, if not thousands, of studies. Probiotics, or good flora, are not only about digestion. They are, in fact, related to the immune system’s complex communication network. 
Probiotics make up our body’s good army, with soldiers standing as sentinels ready to protect and defend our body against intruders. Probiotics are life-affirming bacteria that work to help us maintain good health. Antibiotics, on the other hand, are anti-life, in other words, they kill the bad bacteria. We have two choices - we can kill the bad and we can overwhelm the bad with good. Our bodies naturally produce billions of colonies of these wonderful creatures and it is incumbent upon us to feed the critters and make sure they grow and proliferate. When we have healthy microbiomes, our bodies are able to work in the incredibly beautiful way they most intend to.


How do we choose?

We hear about yogurt having them and needing them if we have been on antibiotics, but really how do we know what kind of probiotics we need. The important thing to remember is that different strains of good bacteria do different things, so it is important to know what you want the probiotics to do for you.
If you have been on antibiotics you need to know that it was important to use the antibiotic, but it is like dropping a nuke on your system. You culled all of the bad bacteria (hopefully) and all of the good too. There may be a few stragglers missed but most importantly there is a need to replace all of the good armies so that the body is again defended. 
Different strains of bacteria do different things and work in different parts of your body. In general, if you have had antibiotics it is important to make sure you choose a probiotic that has multiple strains including Lactobacillus Acidophilus as well as Bifidus bacteria. It is important as well to ensure that you take your probiotic at least 2 hours in between ingesting anything that is anti-bacterial, such as oil of oregano, colloidal silver, grapefruit seed extract or antibiotics. I like to take them before bed because that way they can spend the night colonizing and not working on digestion etc.

To refrigerate or not?

Once upon a time almost all probiotics had to be kept cool but now there are many wonderful products that are shelf stable which makes them so much more user-friendly, especially if you are travelling.
Probiotics have many applications: acne, digestion, stomach problems, IBS and Crohn’s, weight loss, C-difficile, traveller’s diarrhea, constipation, urinary tract infections, candida and yeast infections, skin health, immunity, and mood. There is now considerable evidence to suggest that our guts are where we make our happy hormones like serotonin. Some are even calling it the second brain. 
Whatever your issue, there is a strain of probiotics that is most applicable. It is also very important that any medical conditions are also disclosed so that the probiotics chosen can be compatible. Probiotics are grown on different mediums and for those with yeast problems for example, it is imperative that the bacteria chosen do not help feed the problem. Probiotic development is so advanced now that you can find extraordinarily well-crafted probiotics that are condition-targeted. These products are also now available in varieties that are free-of allergens, gluten, dairy, soy, GMOs, etc.
Ask us about the kind of probiotic that is right for you.