Go pro: all about probiotics

Head to the chilled section in any supermarket and you’ll be faced with shelves of yoghurts and other products carrying labels like ‘good bacteria’, ‘probiotic’ and ‘friendly bacteria’. They might sound like a healthy choice – but just what are probiotics, and what can they do for you?

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts which can be added to dairy products or taken as a supplement. We all have them naturally in a healthy digestive system, but when your internal balance is a bit out of whack, for example after an illness or course of antibiotics, levels of these friendly bacteria are lowered. Different probiotics can help in different ways, either by attaching themselves to the surface of the bowel and boosting our immune system, or by helping to suppress the growth of unfriendly bacteria.

Some people find probiotics really useful, but if you’re thinking of giving them a try remember they’re classed as food rather than medicine. This means that they’re not tested in the same way, and aren’t subject to the same restrictions. That doesn’t mean that some probiotics you can buy will do you any harm, just that they might not do you any good! Some probiotics don’t contain enough of the live bacteria to have any effect, so stick to a reputable brand.

The best supplements contain a variety of different, well researched strains such as lactobacillus acidophllus, and should also tell you the family and species of the bacteria. A good supplement should also contain high numbers of bacteria (aim for at least 10 million per dose), as stomach acid means a lot of bacteria is killed before it actually makes it the system. Some of the yoghurts and drinks on the market just don’t contain enough bacteria, and some are also packed with sugar – so you may not be doing your body as big a favour as you think you are!

As you know, at the Complete Health Clinic, we like to look after you from top to …. er…..bottom. We’re big fans of Optibac probiotics, as their products are carefully researched and contain bacteria at levels that really work – you can find out more at www.optibacprobiotics.co.uk. As well as supplements, we offer Optibac implants following a colonic hydrotherapy treatment. This involves inserting billions of live beneficial bacteria into your colon to restore the natural balance. It’s completely safe, and only takes a few seconds.

To find out more, just get in touch on 0161 207 4034.

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