Take a shopping trip to the grocery store and you are bound to see probiotics.

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You can find them in items such as yogurt, kimichi and also as stand-alone supplements. But why all the excitement? What exactly are probiotics and why are they so ubiquitous?

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization of the United Nations, “probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.”

It is estimated that the human digestive tract contains approximately 400 different probiotic microorganisms. Among the organisms of the gut flora are members of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria groups and various yeasts such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae or Saccharomyces boulardii.

But what are some of the health benefits of probiotics that make them so interesting and important?

Probiotics Can–
Increases absorption of minerals and vitamins
Relieves constipation and irritable bowel syndrome
Reduces urinary and vaginal tract infections
Inhibits the bacterial cause of stomach ulcers
Prevents intestinal tract infections caused by bacteria, viruses or yeast
Improves kidney and liver function by eliminating toxins
Reduces allergic reactions
Reduces blood cholesterol
Stimulates the immune system
Alleviates bloating
Increases resistance to infectious disease
Improves lactose digestion
Reduces blood pressure
Prevents osteoporosis

To give a specific example, Saccharomyces boulardii is a probiotic yeast which is resistant to stomach acid. In 2006, Harvard researchers noted that S.boulardii modulates host signaling pathways involved in intestinal inflammatory responses. They found that as a result of the signal modulation this yeast blocked activation of key inflammatory molecules.

After seeing the benefits that these special microorganisms offer, the message is clear – get your probiotics daily!

At Universal Wellness Associates we have a couple of excellent probiotics supplements that have worked wonderfully for so many of our clients!

Flora Myces from Designs for Health contains Saccharomyces boulardii, good yeast to fight the bad yeast. Apex Energetics’ Strengtia is another top-notch supplement (also with S.boulardii)–it combines pre and probiotics. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth and/or activity of bacteria in the digestive system, food for probiotics in other words. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are common prebiotics.

Drop by the office and get your Vibrant Health on today!