Probiotics and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Medicine is finally recognizing the value of friendly bacteria. Learn how you can benefit.

Probiotics, Intestinal Bacteria, Good Bacteria, Intestinal Health, iflora, TruFlora or Theralac

It’s amazing. Food manufactures have realized the health benefits of probiotics and your medical doctor may even be advising you to take acidophilus and other friendly bacteria when you’re taking antibiotics.

If you’ve been a long time practice member, at the Digestion Relief Center, you know that I’ve been advocating the use of probiotics for over 18 years. Why? Probiotics such as Acidophilus and Bifidobacteria have a beneficial effect on digestion, elimination, and protect the bowel from harmful bacteria and fungi that can cause infections. Many recent studies also show that probiotics can help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS. A high number of people have found that probiotics for IBS can be part of the solution to reducing the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome as well as reducing bloating after meals. Probiotics tend to work best with IBS where the patient’s symptoms are mainly loose stools or diarrhea. Probiotics also help in some cases of colitis (inflammation of the colon). Probiotics can also assist in reducing bloating after eating, indigestion constipation and a number of digestive complaints. 

Why does taking bacteria sometimes help IBS?

We have more bacteria in our bodies than we have cells. About 1000 different types of bacteria that call our bodies’ home and studies show that up to 40,000 different types of bacteria may inhibit the human digestive tract. Adding probiotics to your daily diet helps you handle undigested starches, sugars and fibers better. That’s why people often report improvement in bloating indigestion and constipation when they take probiotics. It also promotes healthier elimination, which in turn reduces stress on the liver and immune system. 

Are All Probiotics Created Equally?

Unfortunately no. Despite the claims on commercials, and the claims by manufactures of supplements, many probiotic formulas do not work. 

When buying foods such as yogurt, look for the words “live and active cultures” and avoid ones that say, “made with active cultures”. It’s a subtle distinction in words, but may indicate that those made with active cultures may not have any active live cultures left after heat treatments and processing. Also avoid products with sweeteners mixed with bacteria. as Sugar and sweeteners kill the bacteria, thats why sugar is such a good way of preserving fruit in jams. Plain yogurt is your best choice.

In our practice we only recommend certain products.  Why only certain brands? Because we have tested them, and cultured them to verify that they actually work.  Sadly many products, some of which are at premium prices don’t have live active cultures and do not work!

Who Can Benefit from Probiotics?

With today’s industrialized processing of foods, pasteurization, frequent use of pesticides and herbicides, our foods no longer contain beneficial soil based organisms. Hence most of us can benefit by supplementing with a probiotic. If you are taking antibiotics, you definitely should be adding back beneficial bacteria to prevent yeast and fungal problems later.  Antibiotics often kill your friendly bacteria as well as bad bacteria, and this sets the stage for fungal overgrowth. Some people get notable relief with probiotics for IBS.  Those over 60 may benefit most from taking a probiotic on a regular basis, because studies show people over age 60 have 1000 times fewer good bacteria than younger adults in their twenties. 

While probiotics may not entirely eliminate IBS, and bloating after meals, they can be helpful, and using a good one can be a great start . If you want to learn more on how we can help  with irritable bowel, call Dr. Patrick at 530-899-8741.

Dr. Patrick Giammarise D.C., Internal Health Specialist, Founder of the Digestion Relief Center in Chico California, specializes in effective, natural relief for food sensitivities and digestion problems. Dr. Patrick can be reached at 530-899-8741.

2010, © Dr. Patrick Giammarise, DC. All Rights Reserved.

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