How many of you suffer from digestion woes? How about one or more colds per year? What about yeast infections? Do you take medications? How about antibiotics? If you answered yes to any one of these, then you will reap the benefits that probiotics have to offer. If you answered no to all of the above, you can still obtain the amazing benefits that they have to offer.
What are probiotics? Literally meaning “for life,” probiotics are billions of beneficial bacteria that help to restore balance in your intestines. An ideal ratio of good to bad bacteria in our guts is approximately 85 percent good to 15 percent bad. Stress, poor diet, medications, etc. can upset this delicate balance and lead to a host of health issues in the future (such as the aforementioned).
Obviously we will always face stress, and possibly sabotage our diets (or get sick and have to take prescription drugs), but we don’t have to live in a constant state of worry about it; do your best to take care of your health with sensible eating, decreasing your stress, and exercising of course, but make sure to add a probiotic supplement to your regime as well.
You can find an array at health food stores or even culture your own (but that’s an entirely different article!); look for ones high in lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. Make sure the count is in the billions and is an enteric-coated capsule (preferably of a vegetarian nature).
For the average person looking to maintain their current levels (provided they are in the optimal range), aim for two to four billion cultures daily; if you have health ailments, you may have to increase it to 10-15 billion once to two times per day. The only way to know this of course is to consult with your healthcare provider; they will order you a complete digestive stool analysis to find out if your ratio of good to bad intestinal flora is where it should be.
The biggest question most have is when to take it—before, during, or after meals? Some say taking it during meals can help you digest your food better, while others feel between meals is best (since our stomach acid is the lowest). According to digestion expert Brenda Watson, it’s generally best for “probiotics [to be] taken once or twice daily with a large glass of water, between meals [because it] can help deliver the probiotic to the intestinal tract faster and in higher concentrations.”
As a certified colon hydrotherapist, I can attest to the wonderful benefits that probiotics have to offer; I take my probiotics first thing in the morning before breakfast and later in the day before my next meal. I also recommend that clients consume them prior to and after colonic treatments; this way the good guys stick around while the bad guys (i.e. toxic waste matter) get washed away. By adding in the healthy bacteria after a treatment, it helps to ensure that the bad guys don’t get a chance to over-proliferate first, causing an imbalance in our gut.
This is just a teeny-tiny look at the benefits that probiotics have to offer; the benefits are numerous! If you have any questions, feel free to email me at PinkIslandFitness@Live.com.
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of Pink Island Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio on Marco Island. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Colon Hydrotherapist and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes”. To send in a question, email PinkIslandFitness@Live.com. She can also be reached at www.PinkIslandFitness.com and 239-333-5771.