The 411 On Probiotics
I was talking to Kimbo last night and she suggested I write a post about Probiotics since I started taking them recently. Since she is one of the few people who reads this blog on a regular basis, I’m obviously going to take her up on it! I broke it down into a few sections so hopefully it’s not too confusing…I’m also not super knowledgeable in probiotics so if anything is unclear, feel free to google or ask me and I can try and look into it!
What are probiotics?
As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, I first heard about probiotic supplements from Kim Synder’s The Beauty Detox Solution. She highly recommends taking a probiotic supplement, digestive enzymes, magnesium-oxygen, and chlorella tablets everyday to help cleanse our systems, aid in digestion, and improve bodily functions. I occasionally take digestive enzymes or magnesium-oxide and rarely take chlorella tablets so I’m just going to talk about probiotics since I take them on a regular basis.
First off, the word “probiotic” comes from the Greek words pro, meaning ‘promoting’ and biotic, meaning ‘life’. Probiotics are the good bacteria that exist in our digestive system and help prevent toxicity in the body. The supplements are relatively new to the food industry so it’s debatable exactly what benefits they have on the digestive system, but it’s believed that they aid in digestion and help support the immune system. It’s safe to say they aren’t dangerous to take, but it seems like there haven’t been many studies done on them yet to strongly support or deny the beneficial claims.
Why Probiotic Supplements are Helpful
There are two general types of bacteria in our digestive system, good and bad. Like I mentioned above, probiotics are the good cultures that prevent harmful bacteria from creating toxicity in the digestive system. Our diet and lifestyle are direct factors in how many good and bad bacteria exist in the body, so the healthier the lifestyle, the more “probiotics” you will have in your system. On the contrary, the unhealthier you are, the more likely you are to have a higher level of unhealthy bacteria which leads to toxicity in the digestive system. Lack of sleep, a poor diet, drug use, frequent use of antibiotics, and alcohol (which I clearly won’t be cutting out of my diet) can all contribute to an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive system.
So what exactly does it mean to have a healthy balance of good/bad bacteria as opposed to toxicity in the digestive system? The role of probiotics in the digestive system is to clean out harmful bacteria, waste, and toxins as well as help the body ingest nutrients from food and water intake. They also help our immune system which ultimately helps ward off infection and disease. When we have a healthy balance of probiotics/bad bacteria in the system, our body is able to ingest the maximum amount of nutrients as well as get rid of any waste we put into our bodies. However, when we have an abundance of bad bacteria in our systems, imbalances arise and side effects like fatigue, diarrhea, allergies, and illness can occur. The probiotic supplement helps prevent these bacterial imbalance and cleanse the body of toxins and waste.
For me, the biggest results I’ve seen from taking probiotics is that I really never get bloated anymore and it’s made my bowel movements more regular…sorry if this is TMI, but it is a supplement that aids digestion! Also, if I end up overeating or have a really crappy meal at night (noone’s perfect!) I’ll take a couple digestive enzymes and magnesium-oxide just to help break everything down. If I’m eating healthy though, I’ll just take a probiotic in the morning or at night.
Kim Snyder also talks about how Probiotics are crucial for healthier, younger looking skin (she’s all about radiance/beauty occurring from the inside out) but to be honest, I don’t really believe that and I don’t feel like my skin looks any different. That’s not why I started taking the supplement so I’m fine with that, but I’m not going to elaborate on the beauty results you might get from taking probiotics so if that is something that interests you then you should pick up a copy of her book and check it out for yourself!
What kind should I buy?
The #1 thing to look for when buying a probiotic is to make sure the packaging specifies that the cultures are active and living. Probiotics are susceptible to death so if you aren’t taking ones that are still active, it’s redundant and ineffective. Also, per Kim’s book, lactobacillus acideophilus and bifidobacterium bifidum are two important strains to look for in a probiotic because they help with immunity and infection, most commonly yeast.
I get these from Whole Foods but after googling them, they are definitely cheaper online. They have live cultures, both of the strains Kim recommends, and seemed like the best option after staring at the probiotic section like an idiot for about 20 minutes. I’ll probably buy them from drugstore.com going forward, although they do need to be refrigerated and I highly doubt they are shipped in one of those special chilled packages.
Click here for a really good article that talks more in depth about probiotics, healthy bowels, and boosting your immune system.
This is the probiotic that Kim Snyder recommends. I didn’t want to spend $50, but she does look amazing so maybe it’s worth the price?
Hope this was helpful! Feel free to let me know if there are any other topics you’d like to see more of!