Pro­bi­otics and pre­bi­otics

A fam­ily medicine doc­tor answers your burn­ing ques­tions about pro­bi­otics. Also: What are pre­bi­otics?


HOT IN­GRE­DI­ENT Com­monly known as “friendly bac­te­ria,” pro­bi­otics have ex­ploded in pop­u­lar­ity in re­cent years. How can we get the best that these tiny or­gan­isms have to of­fer? We asked David Hol­land, MD, an in­te­gra­tive physi­cian in El Paso, Texas. Hol­land is board-cer­ti­fied in fam­ily medicine and a diplo­mate of the Amer­i­can Board of Func­tional Medicine, a dis­ci­pline that ad­dresses the un­der­ly­ing causes of dis­ease and in­cludes nu­tri­tional ther­apy.

Who needs pro­bi­otics?

Ev­ery­one who has taken an­tibi­otics at any time—even if it was only when they were in­fants or chil­dren—will ben­e­fit by tak­ing pro­bi­otics. An­tibi­otics kill help­ful bac­te­ria as well as harm­ful ones, and the neg­a­tive ef­fects can linger in­def­i­nitely un­less cor­rected. In­testi­nal symp­toms such as in­di­ges­tion, acid re­flux, bloat­ing, and con­sti­pa­tion stem from an im­bal­ance of gut or­gan­isms.

How do they work?

To main­tain a healthy im­mune sys­tem, it’s vi­tal to keep our in­testi­nal tract healthy be­cause that’s where 70 per­cent of our im­mune cells are. Pro­bi­otics pop­u­late through­out the in­testines, where they aid in di­ges­tion and pro­duce sev­eral ben­e­fi­cial byprod­ucts. These in­clude hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide, which helps con­trol harm­ful in­testi­nal yeast and re­duces dis­ease-caus­ing bac­te­ria in the body. By Vera Tweed

Healthy De­lights Nat­u­rals Pro­bi­otic Soft Chews Just Thrive Pro­bi­otic & An­tiox­i­dant Kura Nutri­tion Start Your Smoothie, which is rich in pro­bi­otics Flora Health Bao­bites Su­per­fruit Snacks Arthur An­drew Med­i­cal Flo­raphage The Vi­ta­min Shoppe Nu­traFlora FOS

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