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Digestive Health

Digestive Health related factors related to maintaining a healthy gut.

What is IBS?

What is IBS? Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be an uncomfortable condition, but it is nowhere near as serious a health problem as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

However, IBS is still far more common, affecting up to 20 percent of the Western world. Symptoms include gas, constipation, diarrhea, cramping and abdominal pain.

Understanding the combination of conditions that trigger this unpredictable health problem can be a mystery due to multiple contributing factors. Among the causes, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House (NDDIC):

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Food sensitivities
  • Hypersensitivity to pain
  • Motor problems that cause irregular movement in the bowels
  • Altered levels of gastrointestinal hormones and body chemicals that transmit nerve signals

The genetic effect

Near the bottom of the list of causes, the NDDIC cites genetics as a common source among family members with a shared history of IBS problems, but is noncommittal about its overall effect. A recent Mayo Clinic study may shed some new light on the genetics of IBS.

Researchers have identified a genetic defect, a mutation of the SCN5A gene that affects the absorption of water and electrolytes. Disruption of this sodium ion channel can lead to constipation or diarrhea.

After comparing the tissues of 584 IBS patients to nearly 1,400 healthy patients, scientists discovered the genetic defect in 2.2 percent of IBS patients.

Is a drug always the best, safest treatment?

Mayo Clinic researchers treated patients with genetic-based IBS successfully by using mexiletine, a drug that improved the sodium ion transport and eased the symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation for this small group of patients.

Mexiletine is part of the antiarrhythmic class of drugs that works by blocking some electrical signals in the heart to stabilize heart rhythms. (It has also been prescribed to treat nerve damage caused by diabetes.)

Unfortunately, medications may come with adverse effects. Antiarrhythmic drugs like mexiletine have been linked to reports of increased risk of heart attack and death, according to MedlinePlus. Those risks are especially elevated among patients who have suffered a heart attack over the past two years.

Taking mexiletine may also increase the chance of experiencing an irregular heartbeat and hasn’t helped people who don’t experience life-threatening arrhythmias to live longer. MedlinePlus warns against using mexiletine unless a patient has suffered life-harming arrhythmias.

Probiotics: The safer, better treatment option

The real problem with taking prescription medications like mexiletine: Too many of them only treat superficial symptoms but neglect to correct the real health problem. However, there is a safer IBS Treatment option that treats the “whole” patient holistically.

Taking a probiotic made from multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic every day not only alleviates symptoms for many IBS sufferers, but corrects the underlying disorder and does it without the risk of any adverse side effects.

What is Colitis?

Often, this kind of infection occurs when certain bacteria, typically C. diff, outgrow and dominate other bacteria in the gut.

Sadly, the over-prescribing of antibiotics — think ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin and amoxicillin — to patients by doctors for unnecessary reasons, especially in hospitals, has created opportunities for drug-resistant infections to harm greater numbers of Americans and trigger C. diff infections. And, this exposure to antibiotics doesn’t include those contained in the flesh foods we eat either. Colitis is an inflammation of the inner lining of the colon, but that’s as simple a definition as you’ll get for this intestinal condition. Its symptoms include cramping, bloating, diarrhea (sometime bloody) and abdominal pain.

Defining it and naming its common symptoms are the easy parts, however.

Unfortunately, people use colitis as a catchall term to describe a lot of different conditions. Plus, colitis comes in many types, including ulcerative colitis, ischemic colitis, microscopic colitis and chemical colitis.

Interestingly, a common kind of colitis that you may already be pretty familiar with — but call it something else like food poisoning — is infectious colitis.

Infectious colitis can come from having person-to-person contact (usually dirty hands), consuming foods and water contaminated with E Coli, Salmonella or parasites or having indirect contact with common items you may handle that are unclean (think toothbrushes, eating utensils and clothing).

Another form of colitis — pseudeomembraneous colitis — has risen greatly in popularity over the last decade or so, but you’ve likely heard it called by the name of the bacteria, specifically Clostridium difficile or C. diff infections.

Other factors cited by the Mayo Clinic that may make you more vulnerable to pseudomembranous colitis apart from too many antibiotics:

  • Receiving chemotherapy
  • Suffering from colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Living in a nursing home
  • Staying in a hospital

Probiotics to the rescue

The good news about these kinds of infections: Studies have shown how probiotics can dramatically reduce the incidence of diarrhea, among of the key symptoms associated with C. diff infections.

In fact, an extensive 2013 review of 31 studies by the Cochrane Library concluded probiotics significantly reduced the risk of diarrhea associated with C. diff infections by an amazing 64 percent.

So, how do you choose the right probiotic? Cheaper brands of probiotics tend to restrict their blends of beneficial bacteria to one or a few, yet small amounts don’t do much to cultivate the diversity your gut needs to reduce your risk of infections or their symptoms and promote better immune health.

If you’ve been looking for a proven probiotic, consider a product that contains multiple species of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic that feeds the good bacteria already living in your gut, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic or EndoMune Junior (for kids).

 

 

Can colon cancer be prevented with a probiotic?

Colon cancer is an equal opportunity killer in America, cutting across all racial and ethnic lines. Out of the nearly 600,000 cancer deaths predicted in 2014, colon cancer is the third leading cause for men and women, according to the American Cancer Society.

Until recently, most of the deaths linked to colon cancer were confined to Americans over age 50. However, recent findings showed a decline in cases among older patients and an alarming rise among younger patients ages 20-49.

If a predictive model holds true over the next two decades, colon cancer cases will rise by 90 percent among patients ages 20-34 and 28 percent among patients ages 35-49.

There are many ways to prevent colon cancer, ranging from the simple — consuming fewer processed meats, getting more exercise and taking a multi-vitamin — to the complex and problematic — taking an aspirin or Celebrex.

A growing number of studies have shown gut health may be the key to avoiding colon cancer altogether, giving rise to the belief that taking a probiotic and fewer antibiotics may be one more way to treat this non-discriminating killer.

Microbial imbalances lead to cancer

A study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan and Baylor College of Medicine may have settled the fact that microbial imbalances contribute to colon cancer once and for all.

Scientists came to this conclusion after exposing healthy mice to fecal matter from cancerous animals. Mice that were exposed to fecal matter from cancerous animals doubled the likelihood they would develop tumors, compared to similar matter from disease-free animals.

Interventions via antibiotics reduced the number and size of tumors in mice significantly, leading scientists to suggest that taking a probiotic may prevent changes in the gut microbiome that trigger the development of colon cancer.

More bad bugs than good bugs

The delicate balance between the good and bad gut bacteria was clearly implicated as a cause for colon cancer in a recent Journal of the National Cancer Institute study.

After comparing the DNA composition of intestinal microbes in stool samples of 94 healthy patients to 47 colon cancer patients, scientists discovered cancer patients had more fusobacteria, organisms found in the mouth and gastrointestional tract that are associated with gut inflammation.

Colon cancer patients were also more likely to be depleted of clostridia, beneficial bacteria that helps your gut digest carbohydrates and dietary fiber better.

Bad bacteria vs. your genes

New research featured in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found the incidence of colon cancer may be dictated by more than genetics.

Although colon cancer can occur when healthy cells undergo genetic alterations, specific kinds of this disease may also happen in specific locations in the intestine, suggesting non-genetic causes.

Researchers came to this conclusion when they stopped the development of polyps in mice, altering their gut bacteria by giving them antibiotics. As we know, however, antibiotics may create as many health problems as they solve.

Although more studies will be needed to identify which bacteria triggered colon cancer, scientists suspect non-genetic factors may contribute too. “In addition to genetic changes, various lifestyle-related factors, such as obesity and diet, have been linked to colorectal cancer,” said lead researcher Dr. Sergio Lira.

“Some of these lifestyle factors appear to affect the types of bacteria present in the gut. Ultimately, understanding the interplay between genetic mutations, gut microbes and inflammation may lead to novel diagnostics and therapies for intestinal cancer.”

Unfortunately, the health complications linked with antibiotics — namely obesity — if you take them too often can create their own set of undesirable problems.

The good news: Improving your gut health is as easy as following a better diet and taking a daily probiotic made from multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

Does your gut health affect obesity? Yes!

You may have heard your doctor describe a health problem as multifactorial, meaning there’s more than a single issue that contributes to a condition.

For example, poor diet habits and low physical activity are two issues strongly linked to obesity. Now, you can add gut health to the list, according to a trio of recent studies.

Too many antibiotics harm your gut inside and outside

If you follow this space regularly, you’re well aware of the problems antibiotics present, especially when you rely on them too often. Exposing your body to multiple rounds of antibiotics may create an imbalance that eliminates the bad and good bacteria in your gut and leaves you susceptible to more health problems.

A Spanish study published in the journal Gut Microbes concluded the composition of gut bacteria, altered by the long-term use of antibiotics, may spur weight gains.

The continued use of antibiotics modifies the gut microbiota by increasing the activity of enzymes that lead to the faster and more imbalanced absorption of carbohydrates that may contribute to a host of food-related disorders including obesity and diabetes, according to the study.

These findings could lead to more research that targets solutions, including specialized diets and probiotic and prebiotic treatments taken along with antibiotics that protect the composition and diversity of a patient’s gut bacteria, according to Gut Microbiota Worldwatch.

Diverse bacteria in your gut may prevent obesity

As shown in previous studies, multi-species probiotics like EndoMune provide patients a more diverse variety of good gut bacteria in higher amounts that are highly effective in treating a host of health problems. That extra richness in gut bacteria may also provide protection from obesity, according to the findings in a recent Nature study.

After comparing the gut health of 169 obese Danish patients to 123 lean patients over nine years, French researchers concluded thinner folks had improved microbial diversity in their guts than did the obese participants. Leaner patients had 40 percent more gut bacteria, too.

The news wasn’t so good for patients with less microbial diversity, however. Those patients, no matter what how much they weighed, displayed more risk factors for serious diseases (cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease).

More to the point, a smaller study also appearing in Nature found the gut health of obese or overweight patients became richer after following a diet for just six weeks.

The good news about these studies: Improving your health inside and outside can be as simple as following a better diet regimen.

Probiotics may help women lose weight

Considering the effect an improved diet can have on gut health by itself, you’d assume taking a probiotic would be even more beneficial. But, you’d be partially correct, depending on your gender.

A Canadian research team monitoring the health of 125 overweight men and women were assigned to a 12-week diet, and half of the patients were prescribed a probiotic containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus (also contained in EndoMune), during that time.

At the end of the three-month study period, women in the probiotic group enjoyed the most success, losing nearly 10 pounds, compared to the placebo group who lost almost 6 pounds. Also, after a 12-week maintenance period, women who took a probiotic continued to lose weight while the non-probiotic women leveled off. What’s more, women in the probiotic group experienced a noticeable drop in the appetite hormone leptin.

Surprisingly, neither group of males lost much weight. “We don’t know why the probiotics didn’t have any effect on men,” says Professor Angelo Tremblay, who headed the study. “It may have been a question of dosage, or the study period may have been too short.”

One difference that may explain partly why overweight Canadian men didn’t lose much weight: The probiotic contained a single strain of beneficial bacteria versus a proven, multi-species product like EndoMune.

How Probiotics Protect Your Heart Health

You may already read studies showing that probiotics can provide beneficial treatment for common health conditions like acne, hay fever and even your emotions.

Did you know that maintaining a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut also protects your heart?

A pair of recent studies demonstrates how the health of your gut may provide easy-to-spot clues that can identify cardiovascular problems like heart disease, diabetes and chronic inflammation.

Probiotics vs. obesity

The bacterial diversity of your gut may be linked to your risks of obesity-related disorders, according to a Danish study that compared the health of 123 non-obese patients to 169 obese patients.

No surprise, researchers concluded the greater the amount of beneficial bacteria and the diversity of those species, the greater the protection to cardiovascular diseases, including diabetes and chronic inflammation.

On the other hand, patients with lower bacterial richness had more adipose tissue (fat), and were more vulnerable to diabetes, chronic inflammation and cardiovascular diseases.

Approximately 25 percent of the patients tested had a lower richness of gut bacteria and about 40 percent less gut bacteria genes and bacteria overall than the average patient.

These smaller amounts of bacteria found in this Danish patient group were also indicative of low-level but chronic inflammation present in the digestive tract as well as the entire body.

This low-level but persistent inflammation can also contribute to metabolic changes and boost a patient’s risks cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, according to the study.

Too much TMAO hurts your heart!

The lack of diversity of gut bacteria isn’t the only factor that affects your heart health. What foods you eat are also connected to how your gut creates chemicals that can harm your heart.

A Cleveland Clinic study uncovered a link between eating too many choline-rich foods (egg yolks and fatty meats) and the production of TMAO (trimethylene n-oxide), an natural gut byproduct and heart disease trigger that promotes the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, by gut flora.

For the first phase of the study, patients were instructed to eat two hard-boiled eggs, then take a choline capsule to show how gut flora raise TMAO levels in the blood. When the same patients were given a broad-spectrum antibiotic to suppress gut flora, TMAO levels dropped, even after taking a dose of choline pill.

During the final phase encompassing more than 4,000 patients and three years, higher TMAO levels in the blood were responsible with greater risks of death and non-fatal incidents of stroke or heart attack in patients.

Choline isn’t the substance that triggers gut flora problems. Carnitine, a similar nutrient contained in red meat, dairy products, fish, avocados and peanut butter, has also been linked to elevated TMAO production and heart attack risks.

With more health data accumulating about the ways your gut plays a bigger role in your heart health, there’s one proven and completely safe way to protect your microbiome: Take a probiotic made from multiple strains of beneficial bacteria like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic every day.

If you want to safeguard the gut health of your kids too, EndoMune Advanced Junior will help their gut health and immune systems.

Protect your heart and gut health for those you care about the most this Valentine’s Day weekend.

Going or Not Going: Relieve Constipation Safely

Constipation is an uncomfortable health problem that can make for painfully awkward conversations. This is why Americans often turn to family physicians or gastroenterologists when constipation becomes a concern.

Constipation is responsible for some 2.5 million visits to a doctor or specialist annually in America, according to the American College of Gastroenterology.

There is no hard-and-fast definition for constipation, but it’s often described as the inability to have more than three bowel movements per week. However, some people who experience only three bowel movements weekly are still healthy, depending on their age, diet and daily physical activity.

Telltale signals you may want to see your doctor about a constipation problem include straining, hard stools and incomplete evacuation occurring in more than 25 percent of bowel movements, according to WebMD.

Common, less serious causes of constipation:

  • Living a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Forgetting to drink enough water.
  • Not eating enough fiber-rich foods.
  • Postponing a necessary trip to the bathroom.
  • Failing to deal with life’s stressors.

A more serious problem

Constipation can be a more costly and serious health problem than you assume, according to a 2009 report published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Some 63 million people living in America suffer from constipation every year, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, and spend $235 million annually to treat it. Researchers also found links between constipation and a number of painful health problems:

Hemorrhoids: Straining during a bowel movement may cause veins in lower rectum to swell or become inflamed.

Anal fissure: These small tears in thin, moist tissue may happen when you pass large or hard stools during a bowel movement.

Fecal incontinence: Constipation, along with diarrhea and muscle or nerve damage, may cause an inability to control bowel movements.

Colon cancer risks increase with chronic constipation

The health outcomes become even more serious if you experience chronic constipation, according to a 2012 study that compared the health of nearly 29,000 patients suffering from persistent constipation to some 87,000 healthy patients. The risk of colon cancer nearly doubled among patients with chronic constipation while the incidence of benign tumors (neoplasms) increased nearly threefold.

Colon cancer is nothing to ignore, as it’s the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of death among all cancer types in the U.S.

“Although chronic constipation is considered a relatively benign disease, practitioners should be aware of this potential association to monitor and treat accordingly,” said Dr. Nicholas Talley of the University of Newcastle and co-investigator of this study. “We encourage anyone with questions related to their condition to talk to their health care professional so that the specific health needs of each patient can be balanced with the risks and benefits of medications.”

Relieve constipation

One of the popular medications people use to treat constipation — sodium phosphate laxatives — was the subject of a recent FDA warning, based on patients exceeding the recommended daily dosage of this over-the-counter remedy.

The FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System showed a single dose of sodium phosphate per day was associated with rare, but serious damage to a person’s lungs and heart.

Children under age 5, baby boomers over age 55 and people diagnosed with or taking medications for kidney disease are among the patient groups who are at the greatest risk of serious complications when laxative dosage is exceeded. (Children under age 2 should not be given the rectal form of sodium phosphate.)

Taking a probiotic with multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, like EndoMune, is a safer treatment for constipation that has the added advantage of boosting your immune system, reducing your risks of colon cancer and maintaining normal intestinal motility.

That “gut feeling” linked to psychobiotics of the gut-brain axis

Probiotics do wonders to preserve, protect and enhance the balance of the gut-brain axis, the proven connection between your brain, emotions and intestines. A recent report is shedding light on the role of gut microbes play on those proverbial gut feelings and our overall state of mind.

A review article, recently featured in the medical journal Biological Psychiatry, referred to a probiotic as a psychobiotic, “a live organism that, when ingested in adequate amounts, produces a health benefit in patients suffering from psychiatric illness.

As a class of probiotic, these bacteria are capable of producing and delivering neuroactive substances such as gamma-aminobutyric acid and serotonin, which act on the brain-gut axis.”

While the psychobiotic appears to be no more than a superficial name-change, apparently, researchers looked at this as a way to expand how science looks at probiotics.

Works like a probiotic

Out of all of the studies reviewed by researchers from University College Cork in Ireland, one that stood out measured the potential benefits from B. infantis in young rats displaying depressive behaviors due to maternal separation.

Early life stressors, like maternal separation, have been found to affect the microbiomes of animals for the long term. No surprise, giving those test animals a probiotic improved their compromised immune systems as well as normalized their behaviors.

The report also cited the anti-inflammatory properties of psychobiotics/probiotics, a key benefit since inflammation in the body is linked to stress and depression.

“The intestinal microbial balance may alter the regulation of inflammatory responses and, in so doing, may be involved in the modulation of mood and behavior,” researchers said.

Acts like a probiotic

Cork researchers concluded emotional problems linked to the dysfunction of the gut-brain axis could affect other health problems linked to immune deficiencies ranging from syphilis to Lyme disease. What’s more, they believe, as a growing number of health professionals do, improving immune functioning with the help of probiotics/psychobiotics may alleviate them.

In fact, Dr. Mark Lyte, director of translational research at Texas Tech University, says probiotics/psychobiotics may do much more than modulate the immune system. Gut microbes could be producing microtransmitters than communicate with the brain.

“I’m actually seeing new neurochemicals that have not been described before being produced by certain bacteria,” Dr. Lyte told NPR. “These bacteria are, in effect, mind-altering microorganisms.”

Are probiotics/psychobiotics the ultimate anti-stress pill? No matter what you call them, the surge of interest and data being generated in medical research certainly demonstrates their benefits in protecting and improving the gut-brain axis safely, without a drug. And, the benefits of probiotics or psychobiotics could go far beyond that axis, and may be a gentler replacement down the road for depression medication.

5 GMO facts you need to know

With all the serious attention being paid to America’s food supply, many of us have become concerned, if not skeptical, about where and how your foods are grown, made and processed.

Because of this, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have attracted interests all over the world, including agriculture and medicine, and much of it centers on the labeling of products to better inform and protect the health of consumers.

The Center for Food Safety reports 50 countries have some kind of labeling in place, ranging from outright bans of all GMO products to vague mandatory labeling of some products.

Although America has no GMO laws in place nationwide, lawmakers in Maine and Connecticut have passed legislation requiring such labeling and at least 20 additional state legislatures are considering it.

Here are the answers to five basic GMO questions you need to know.

1. What are GMO foods?

According to the Non-GMO Project, genetically modified organisms are animals or plants created via the gene-splitting techniques of biotechnology.

Crops considered by the organization to be in the high-risk category—those in which the vast majority is derived from biotechnology—include corn (88 percent of U.S. crops), canola (90 percent), cotton (90 percent), soy (94 percent) and sugar beets (95 percent).

2. Why do GMO-derived ingredients matter?

This subject generates the most debate among scientists and the public. Those who support GMOs argue costs of labeling foods could be prohibitive and see no significant differences between crops grown conventionally or via genetic modification.

Conversely, the subject of GMOs has provoked a growing curiosity among consumers about where their foods come from—farms or laboratories—and why they aren’t clearly identified via labeling.

Not to mention, many very common additives used in processed foods are derived from GMO crops. Among them:

  • Vitamin C
  • Citric Acid
  • Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
  • Molasses
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup

3. What are some of the negative effects of GMOs?

GMOs were created, in part, to avoid saturating crops with herbicides and insecticides. However, a 2012 Washington State University study estimated a jump in herbicide use (more than 500 million pounds) offset by a fractional, temporary drop in insecticide use during the 16-year span GMO crops have been planted in America.

The rampant use of herbicides presents all sorts of complications for human health, expanding risks to several diseases, from infant leukemia to allergic reactions to some cancers. Those risks don’t include the harm extra pesticides floating around the atmosphere do to the honey bee population that might trigger an agricultural crisis one day, according to health experts.

4. How can I avoid GMO products?

Avoiding GMO products will require some effort on your end, since they are now so pervasive. Fortunately, the most important things you can do to avoid GMO products are among the simplest:

  • Seek out natural whole foods as often as you can.
  • Read the food labels of every processed food product before purchasing them to identify any chemicals in your foods. A simple rule of thumb: If you can’t pronounce a chemical or additive, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.
  • Look for foods that have the Non-GMO Project seal, North America’s only third-party standard for avoiding GMO foods.

5. Are probiotics GMO-free?

For the most part, no. Although the microorganisms contained in probiotics are genetically modified, the substrates (a surface or material upon which these microorganisms live) in the probiotic are largely made of corn. Changing substrates can create research and development problems related to product quality.

The good news: If you’ve been looking for a completely safe and healthy probiotic, both EndoMune Advanced and EndoMune Junior are completely GMO-free. In addition, EndoMune products contain no dairy products, preservatives, artificial coloring, sugar or gluten, and the Junior version has been certified with the parent tested parent approved (PTPA) seal of approval.

Probiotics can improve hypertension

Study after study shows that probiotics help treat gastrointestinal issues including IBS, diarrhea, gas and constipation. However, the benefits aren’t confined to digestive health.

Recent studies are also proving that probiotics can improve hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure. Primarily caused by environmental factors such as salt intake, minimal exercise, weight gain and high cholesterol due to bad diet, high blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke, heart attacks and heart failure.

The International Journal of Molecular Science published a review on various studies conducted on how probiotics improved hypertension, particularly the effects on cholesterol and diabetes. Among their conclusions, researchers proved that probiotics could reduce the amount of cholesterol, thus decreasing the chance of high blood pressure. Additionally, probiotics provide a safe alternative treatment to drugs or hormone therapy, with milder or no known side effects.

Probiotics not only treat digestion problems, but they also help lower your risk for hypertension. Add a daily probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic to your diet to improve your chances for a healthier life.

10 Reasons Everyone Should Take a Probiotic

With 100 trillion bacteria and many different species of microflora floating around in our intestinal tract, a balance of good and bad bacteria is necessary to maintain the normal functioning of our immune system and intestines, as well as to promote optimal health.

Considering the recent attention being paid to probiotics—many positive medical studies have been reported in the mainstream media—more people are asking why they need to take a probiotic to protect and improve their overall health.

Here are 10 reasons to take a probiotic for your good health:

1. Your body is under constant attack externally (from exposure to bad bacteria) and internally (our go-go lifestyles hinder our eating habits). Taking a good probiotic, ideally with multiple strains of good bacteria, is the safest, easiest and most effective way to maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in your body.

2. The human body cannot replenish the various strains of live and beneficial bacteria your body needs every day to stay healthy just by eating foods like yogurt, miso soup, pickles and sauerkraut that usually contain limited amounts of a single strain of bacteria. This is especially true if you’re using probiotics to treat a specific health problem.

3. Probiotics containing multiple strains of beneficial bacteria are more effective in treating a range of health-based problems, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhea, immune function and respiratory tract infections, according to a 2011 analysis of studies.

4. A growing number of studies are showing how taking a probiotic can be beneficial for patients when they are prescribed a broad spectrum antibiotic. Antibiotics can often disrupt the balance of good and bad bacteria in patients’ bodies, causing unwelcome side effects like diarrhea.

5. Taking a good probiotic boosts patients’ natural defenses, protecting them from traveler’s diarrhea, too.

6. New moms can sidestep the prolonged crying and discomfort from their babies suffering infantile colic by giving them a high-quality probiotic.

7. Recent studies have been linked with taking a high-quality probiotic to beneficial effects on the gut-brain axis that may positively affect your emotions and help you beat depression.

8. The healthy bacteria contained in a good probiotic help maintain normal intestinal motility and lessen the problems of constipation.

9. Reducing your risks of colon cancer is as simple as taking a good probiotic.

10. Probiotics are a newfound weapon that may assist in lowering elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels that contribute to cardiovascular disease.

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