This is one of the most common questions I get asked in practice. Generally, I respond first with a definition.
‘Probiotics refer to the billions of bacteria that live in your gastrointestinal tract.’
Here are some reasons why I recommend their use:
1) Digestive disorders (symptoms of gas/bloating)
2) Poor dietary intake
3) Antibiotic use
4) Prolonged periods of illness and/or stress
5) Travel abroad
With the above conditions/factors, there could be a potential imbalance in the bacteria flora in an individual. If this is present, various symptoms may present or worsen in time.
In addition, I often recommend probiotic supplementation during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy to assist with increasing the beneficial bacteria prior to birth. This may be helpful in promoting healthy vaginal flora and in preventing some conditions that could affect breastfeeding.
Thankfully, many companies produce a variety of products. My son loves the Children’s Chewable form. My husband prefers a powdered form in his smoothie. When choosing a brand, and which form or strains, talk to your Naturopathic Doctor to find the most appropriate formula for you. Some other factors to consider are your age, current health status and any existing health concerns. For example, there are different probiotics that are used for breastfed babies and those that are designed for formula-fed babies.
With more researching emerging every year about probiotics and their positive benefits on health, this will continue to be a regular prescription of mine.