Ideally each of us would include a small amount of naturally fermented food in our diet each day. When I’m home that’s exactly what I do. But when I’m traveling or away from home, that isn’t always convenient or possible. That’s when I feel a probiotic supplement like the one I’ve found becomes important. Stress, changes in the diet, contaminated food, chlorinated water, and numerous other factors can start to alter the bacterial flora in the intestinal tract. Just to play it safe, and so I’ll stay in the habit, I now take a probiotic every day, even on the days I’m able to eat fermented foods.
A good probiotic can be especially important if you routinely take prescription or over-the-counter medications. While there’s no doubt that many of these drugs reach the intestinal tract and influence bacteria growth, few, if any, studies have focused on any detrimental effects they might have on the immune system or the natural bacterial flora. Additionally, if you still drink chlorinated water, a probiotic supplement and fermented foods are two things you should be taking, because chlorine kills beneficial bacteria.
If you’ve never taken a probiotic, it’s possible that you may experience a few changes when you start. It’s not uncommon to temporarily experience a little bloating, flatulence, or intestinal gas or rumbling. This is normal, temporary, and nothing to be alarmed about. When these symptoms do occur it is a sign that the pH of your bowel is undergoing a change. As the intestinal flora become established they will begin to eliminate undesirable strains of bacteria, which naturally changes the pH in the colon, resulting in a more healthy environment. It’s not uncommon for the change to take a couple of weeks.
You may also find that bowel movements become easier and more frequent, which is one of the greatest side benefits of probiotics. Chronic constipation problems, and the resulting toxicity, often become a thing of the past.
Most individuals also seem to experience an increase in overall energy. This may not happen overnight, but as the colon gradually becomes more efficient at removing waste material and toxins, producing vitamins, and keeping pathogenic bacteria in check, an increase in energy is a natural consequence.
Regardless of whether you suffer from food allergies or any of the other problems I’ve mentioned, if you neglect the health of your colon, you’re setting yourself up for future problems. Even the earliest pioneers in natural health stressed the importance of a healthy colon, but until now it has been largely overlooked by conventional medicine. I think you’ll see that change in the very near future. At least in this one area maybe some of the experts are beginning to see the light. But don’t wait on the blessings from the gurus or experts. Nurturing and continuously repopulating the beneficial bacteria in your colon is practicing preventive medicine at the most basic level.