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Articles by: Michele Sevier  M.Ed, DNM, 
Education Director, nutrition house
April 2017 NH Newsletter
When it comes time to choose a  probiotic supplement, consider what is best for your individual needs.
LEARN
Who is pulling the strings when it comes to your health? Mini puppet masters - friends and foe are involved in your dietary journey. With each bite, tens of trillions of unseen gut microbes eat with you, influencing whole health, your general well-being and mood.

The gut consists of these microbes often referred to as bad or good bacteria. Good bacteria or probiotics help keep the bad bacteria in check. Probiotics are responsible for a host of influences that control our quality of life and health from the inside out. For starters, they are responsible for extracting energy from the food we eat, while continually building the body's immune system and protecting the body against infection.

It is prudent to pay close attention to that "gut feeling". Science shows us that the gut microbiota (flora) can mediate the propensity to develop harmful general health conditions. Increasing evidence is showing this delicate balance within us may affect a person's psychological state (e.g. mood, anxiety level, etc.). Science shows that abnormally high concentrations of specific microorganisms (the bad guys) in the gut are now linked to major depression, whereas others (the good guys) are associated with better moods and improved immunity.

It is becoming more clear the bacteria naturally growing in the intestinal tract aid in the body's nourishment and defense - not only of the digestive tract but of the entire body. And that's not all.

Many experts speculate that supplementation with single and/or multi-strain probiotics may attenuate symptoms of depression and anxiety, while simultaneously improving general health.

"We are covered in microbes and our human cells are outnumbered by bacterial cells eight to one. In fact, we are more microbe than human. This microbiome has been shown to regulate, not just the digestion and breakdown of food, but many different processes, too. Alterations to the gut microbiome can lead to susceptibility to conditions such as diabetes, neurological conditions, cancer and
asthma."

Robbie Rae, Genetics Lecturer, Liverpool John Moores University
When it comes time to choose a probiotic supplement, consider what is best for your individual needs. Let's have a look at what to recognize when considering a probiotic supplement for yourself.

Targeted Formulas
Most people would benefit from a high potency, multiple strain formula. If needed, you can also choose formulas that are specific to certain areas of concern including colon health or vaginal support.

While you should choose a child-specific formula for kids, adults do not need age-specific formulas. Instead, if you are middle-aged, choose a multi-strain formula with at least 30 billion bifidobacteria. After the age of 50, the levels of probiotics (specifically bifidobacteria) begin to decline in number so probiotics are an important daily supplement.

When reading labels, look for the culture counts. This refers to the total number of bacteria per serving. They can widely vary from product to product. A probiotic suited for general health, is a lower potency containing anywhere from 2-6 billion bacteria per serving. If you are treating a health condition, or have just finished a round of antibiotic therapy a therapeutic strength with a high culture count (between 50 and 100 billion bacteria per capsule) is better suited.

Speak with your local nutrition house Natural Health Product Advisor to help you choose the right probiotic.

EAT
Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce image
Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and contains minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Best of all live strains for probiotics are present in some products. This Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce can be served as a dip or a topping over baked potatoes. 

Ingredients:
1 cup plain or Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, 
   coarsely chopped
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh chopped dill





Directions
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until well mixed.


Photo courtesy of Chowhound - Sweet & Savory Sauce Recipes
ASK

Have a Natural Health Question?
Q
I am 29 years old and consider myself to be very fit. I work out at my gym 3 times per week and I jog on some weekends. I can't always seem to eat right and I know I probably don't drink enough water. It is embarrassing to talk about but I can't seem to regulate my bowel movements. One week I am very loose and the next I am constipated.  I often experience gas and bloating. Can you give me some advice that can help with a long-term solution? 

A
It sounds as if you may be experiencing Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Alternating diarrhea and constipation as well as gas and bloating are symptoms of this disorder. Lack of water and fibre may be part of the issue, as well as "bad" gut bacteria and/or allergies.

Water intake is important. The trick to getting enough water begins with starting your day out first thing with a large glass of water. That will give a boost to your system by hydrating early. Trying it with a touch of lemon juice gives some balance to your system.

Supplementing with l-glutamine, golden seal and marshmallow root can help ease symptoms as can the addition of a probiotic. Don't forget to increase fibre in your diet either through vegetables, legumes and beans, or through a fibre supplement.

Stop by your local nutrition house store and speak with one of the Natural Health Product Advisors and they will find the best solution for you.


To visit the nutrition house 
home page click here 

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