Probiotics are naturally occurring bacteria found in the intestines. These bacteria help stabilize the growth of both good and bad bacteria and are essential to a healthy functioning intestine. Probiotics have been used to treat intestinal and stomach ailments. Since these bacteria occur naturally, many are found in foods such as yogurt, soft cheeses and pickles. Probiotics are also available as dietary supplements in pill form. Deciding if you should take probiotics requires examination of your lifestyle, eating habits and medical issues as well as consultation with your doctor.
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Evaluate the amount of antibiotics and their strength that you are taking. If you have been on antibiotics for a time or are taking a particularly strong antibiotic, then probiotics might be a good choice for you.
Excessive consumption of alcohol or consuming foods high in carbohydrates and sugars upsets the natural balance of bacteria in the intestines. If you are prone to consuming too much alcohol or high-carb foods and sugars, you might be a candidate for probiotics.
Address the quality of specific types of food that you consume regularly. Improperly cleaned foods or those high in concentrations of herbicides, pesticides or pollutants upset the balance of good and bad bacteria in the colon. Using probiotics also helps strengthen the colon against E. coli infection.
Probiotics can help cleanse the colon and treat other intestinal issues such as lactose intolerance, Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome as well. Minor conditions, such as a case of diarrhea, might also be helped by ingesting probiotics.
Evaluate the amount of stress in your life and how it affects your digestive tract. Probiotics may be able to assist with calming your digestive issues.