advertisement



Vitamin Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Probiotics

yogurt berries

What are probiotics?
Probiotics are edible products containing the helpful or "friendly" bacteria (usually Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium) that normally inhabit the human digestive tract. In the intestinal tract, these beneficial microbes help complete the digestive process, and some assist in the production of vitamins.

Why are they necessary?
Probiotics are used to increase the number of beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. They can help to keep the digestive system in balance and functioning optimally, restore normal flora, and may support immune system function, especially when a person is taking antibiotics, which can wipe out intestinal bacteria indiscriminately, including those that help keep the intestinal tract healthy. Probiotics are an effective treatment for diarrhea, lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, vaginal yeast infections, oral thrush, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis. When there's a family history of allergy or eczema, babies receiving probiotics in their first six months of life (and whose mothers took probiotics during the last trimester of pregnancy) are less prone to eczema. Children with autism can also benefit from probiotics, possibly because they decrease leakage of large molecules from the gut that can trigger immune reactions with effects on brain function.

What are the signs of a deficiency?
There's evidence that without adequate normal flora, the immune system can't work properly, lessening resistance to infection.

How much, and what kind, does an adult need?
As soon as you start taking antibiotics, start taking probiotics in liquid or capsule form twice a day with meals and continue for a few days after you finish your prescribed therapy. Look for brands containing Bacillus coagulans (BC-30) or Lactobacillus GG. The dose is one tablespoon of the liquid culture or one to two capsules with meals unless the label directs otherwise. Always check the expiration date to make sure that the bacteria these products contain are alive and in good condition and look for probiotics with "colony forming units" (CFUs) in the billions. After you buy, be sure to protect your supply from heat, moisture, and air.

How much does a child need?
Many experts suggest one-quarter teaspoon or one-quarter capsule of commercially available probiotics. Consult with your pediatrician for more information.

How do you get enough from foods?
Most probiotic organisms occur naturally in cultured milk products, such as yogurt with active cultures, acidophilus milk and kefir, as well as natural pickles and sauerkraut. Many traditional cultures around the world value these fermented food products highly, and incorporate them in meals daily for both health and flavor.

Are there any risks associated with too much?
No.

Are there any other special considerations?
You should not take probiotics if you have had an allergic reaction to lactobacillus, acidophilus, bifidobacterium, or streptococcus thermophilus.


advertisement

Are you getting the supplements you need?
Everyone's dietary needs are different based on a number of factors including lifestyle, diet, medications and more. To find out which supplements are right for you, take the Weil Vitamin Advisor. This 3-step questionnaire requires just minutes to complete, and generates a free, no-obligation vitamin and nutritional supplement recommendation that is personalized to meet your unique nutritional needs.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here