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Are probiotics safe?

Should you be taking a probiotic?

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help promote a healthy gut flora. More often than not when people hear the word bacteria they automatically think about nasty germs that can cause infection, diseases, and a myriad of health related problems. Probiotics are “good” bacteria that can be found naturally in the lining of your digestive tract but most people have a deficiency due to the overconsumption of antibiotics. Nearly 80% of the antibiotics consumed are used in the our food supply for raising livestock. Overuse of antibiotics whether it is prescribed from your medical doctor or consumed secondarily through your meat products can drastically reduce and kill-off the probiotic bacteria in your digestive system. This can lead to an imbalance of “good” to “bad” bacteria in your gut.

Probiotic Supplements

More and more health supplements flood the market each year. As a consumer how do you wade through the nonsense and determine what is healthy and what is hype? It is true that not all products are created equal, especially when it comes to natural supplements. Unfortunately, the FDA monitors probiotics in the same manner as they do food instead of the way they regulate medication. This means that the manufacturer isn’t held to the same standards of proving the product is safe and effective. If you are considering taking a probiotic supplement you should consult with your health care practitioner to find a good quality product from a reputable company.

Dietary Source of Probiotics

Sources of probiotics besides a natural supplement can be found in your diet if you include Kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchee. Kefir is similar to yogurt but is in the form of a liquid drink. Kefir is often a fermented dairy product that contains a high amount of beneficial bacteria/yeast. If you are dairy-free there are non-dairy Kefir products available that are based from sources like coconut milk or almond milk. Sauerkraut and kimchee packs a one-two punch with the health benefits of probiotics from the pickled fermentation process combined with the health advantages of cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables have several anticancer properties as well as increasing the natural detoxification process.

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