How do I know if I need to be taking a probiotic?
Updated: Apr 13
Probiotics are all the buzz right now. If you go to the store, you will see many brands and choices of probiotics. But how do you know if you need to be taking a probiotic?
Sometimes defining and understanding exactly what something is can help to answer the question. Probiotics are the good bacteria naturally found in the gut. The human body has trillions of bacteria which are a necessary part of our overall health. Our good gut bacteria produce vitamins, help with our immune function, aid digestion, provide a crucial barrier for toxins in food, and help to recognize dangerous bacteria.
There are many things that can deplete the healthy balance of good bacteria in our gut. Some of these include overuse of antibiotics, sugar, long-term antacid use, stress, and not eating a balanced diet.
When your gut is unhealthy, it can show up as a variety of symptoms. Common signs include:
Skin conditions such as eczema or acne
Stomach upset including diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, or excessive gas
Unintentional weight gain or loss
Other symptoms that can occur that you may not associate with gut health may include:
If you are experiencing any one or more of these symptoms, probiotics may be helpful. All pro-biotics are not created equally, though. It is important to know the number and type of strains, the number of CFU’s (colony forming units), and other ingredients, as well as if the product is inde-pendent lab tested. If you do not purchase a quality supplement, you may be flushing your money down the drain.
I recommend that if you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should consult a health care provider that is educated in gut health and supplements. They can help you determine if your symptoms may be related to an imbalance in your gut microbiome, and if probiotics may be helpful.
~Lynn M. Randall, D.C.