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Should We All Be Taking Probiotics?

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“Probiotics are defined as live micro organisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a beneficial effect on the health of the host”[1]

Our intestinal mucosa, the layer that coats the insides of our gastrointestinal tract constantly has food and antigens passing through it. We have a lot of different bacteria in there that help with our immunity and digestion.

There are theories that when we take anti-biotics we should have foods high with probiotics (usually in tablet or powder form) and prebiotics foods.

Prebiotic foods help to maintain good bacteria in out gut wall. These are natural yogurt (no sweeteners), fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir[2], miso, tempeh, kombucha tea, raw asparagus, raw chickory root, raw dandelion greens, Raw bananas, raw leeks, and raw wheat bran[3].

Probiotics have been shown to help with different forms of diarrhea – travellers and diarrhea associated with antibiotic use. They also may help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome[4]

Harvard Health Publishing suggest probiotics may be helpful for the following health conditions:

– Diarrhea

– Irritable bowel syndrome

– Ulcerative colitis

Crohn’s disease

– Pylori (the cause of ulcers)

– Vaginal infections

– Urinary tract infections

– Infection of the digestive tract caused by Clostridium difficile

– Pouchitis (a possible side effect of surgery that removes the colon)

– Eczema in children[5]

For healthy individuals’ probiotics are fine to take.

There is evidence for the use of probiotics and against. The main point is that each of us has out own combination of bacteria in out digestive walls, so a probiotic that helps me may not help others.

Studies suggest that people, including infants who are very sick and the adults with very low immune systems should be very careful with probiotics and should talk to their specialist or GP before taking them.

Our Osteopaths’ at Middle Park osteopathic clinic are always happy to chat your overall health during your consultations.


Kate Round

This post was written by Dr Kate Locke.

You can find out more about Kate here or book an appointment here.



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