Probiotics Influence on Good Digestive Health

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Filed Under: Probiotics, Digestive Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Probiotics Influence on Good Digestive Health

Learn how these beneficial bacteria promote optimal digestion

Every day, there is a constant battle going on in your bowels as beneficial bacteria try to create a healthy environment and "bad" bacteria try to establish dominance. Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract is vulnerable to a massive number of harmful bacteria that can enter your body through food and water. And if these toxic invaders are left to multiply unchecked, they can create a bacterial imbalance that can disrupt your digestive health. This is why millions of people continually have a host of digestive concerns, including belching, bloating, gas pains, and constipation, or diarrhea.

There's no way to eliminate all bad bacteria from your digestive system. But improving the environment of your GI tract can ease many types of digestive discomfort and also support your immune system function, energy levels, and overall health. That's where probiotics come in. Probiotics are good bacteria that not only balance the bad bacteria in your digestive system, but also coat your intestinal wall, defend your GI tract from free radicals, and help neutralize toxins. All of this can help you achieve optimal digestive health.

Probiotics and Science

Numerous studies and decades of clinical use have proven that the use of probiotics alone will often result in significant improvement or even resolution of many bowel problems. In one clinical trial, probiotics provided relief in 77 percent of patients with ulcerative colitis. Of the 34 individuals treated, 26 experienced improvement, with most of those experiencing complete remission. Only three patients found their condition worsened.

Probiotics and Sources

While commercial supplements often come to mind when people mention probiotics, traditional fermented foods are teeming with these beneficial bacteria. Fermented vegetables, fermented milk products (clabber, yogurt, cheese, buttermilk), kefir, fermented soy products (natto, miso, tempeh, soy sauce, fermented tofu), and even naturally fermented, unpasteurized beers are some of the most complete probiotics available. My favorite fermented food (besides unpasteurized beer, of course) is homemade sauerkraut. I highly recommend you include foods like these regularly in your diet.

Yet, while eating traditional fermented foods is the most natural way to get probiotic benefits, many people find it difficult to do on a consistent basis. An effective alternative is to take a probiotic supplement. But—and this is a big one—you must get the right probiotic supplement. Learn more about choosing the right probiotic supplement.

More Dr. Williams Advice on Digestive Health and Probiotics

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