Most people are aware that their bodies are continually covered in other living organisms including bacteria and funguses. In fact, the number of these micro-organisms outnumbers our human cells by a factor of 3-10 times! The right organisms in the right place confer health benefits, while the wrong ones in the wrong place can cause disease. An imbalance of these organisms is linked to inflammatory bowel disease, irritable colon, celiac disease, chronic fatigue, thyroid issues, and other autoimmune conditions. Age, genetics, and diet all influence the balance of bacteria in the body. So, of course, would a prescription for antibiotics, as they kill off not only the harmful bacteria but also many helpful bacteria as “collateral damage”.
Probiotics are living microorganisms which can be ingested to help promote a healthy balance. These are friendly, good, healthy bacteria which help restore a healthy digestive tract and a healthy immune system. Did you know that 60-80% of our immune system is lining our digestive tract? This is why the regulation of gut activity and the maintenance of gut barrier function is so important. Healthy bacteria will help to filter out and eliminate harmful influences.
We can get probiotics either through certain foods or through supplements. A typical serving of yoghurt, sauerkraut, or kefir contains about one billion healthy bacteriae. Probiotics are also found in miso soup and soft cheeses. A typical probiotic supplement can contain as many as 15-50 billion! Look for the following strains:
Lactobacillus acidophilus: a staple in maintaining balance of good vs bad bacteria and aids in curbing the growth of Candida
Bifidobacterium animalis: prevents digestive ailments and supports immunity
Bifidobacterium bifidum: critical for the healthy digestion of dairy products
Remember to keep probiotic supplements refrigerated as they have a limited shelf-life.
Below is a listing of the retail outlets for this month’s Pick, where you can enter to win a three-month supply of probiotics. Just look for the bright green box at one of the following locations:
- Lakeside Medicine Centre (Gordon at Guisachan)
- Remedy’s Rx (KLO at Lakeshore)
- Prescription Health Studio (540 West Ave, just off Pandosy)
- Abaco Health (Gordon at Cook Rd)
- Thrive Naturals (97N and Brown Rd, West Kelowna)
- Nolan’s Pharmasave (Vernon)
- Summerland Pharmasave
Your Partner in Living Longer Better,
Dr. Grant Pagdin, MD
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