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What is a dietary supplement?

A dietary supplement, also known as food supplement or nutritional supplement, is a preparation intended to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as probiotics, vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or may not be consumed in sufficient quantities in a person’s diet. Some countries define dietary supplement as food, while in others they are defined as drugs or natural health products.

What is the intestinal microflora?

The intestinal microflora of every individual consists of various microorganisms that live in the intestinal tract. This microflora has a symbiotic relationship with the host organism and protects the body against infections, assists digestion, produces nutrients, and plays an important role in the immune system. A good microflora balance in the intestine is essential for these functions and for the health of the host. When the intestinal flora is in balance, both beneficial and other microorganisms are present. This balance can be disturbed by factors such as the use of antibiotics, stress or an unbalanced diet. Disturbing the balance creates a risk that the beneficial intestinal bacteria will be suppressed and that the pathogenic bacteria will become dominant.

What is a probiotic?

The World Health Organization defines probiotics as “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit to the host.”. These microorganisms include both bacteria and yeast-based cells, which interact with the body differently.

What are the benefits of probiotics?

Probiotics provide multiple benefit for the whole body. By helping to maintain a balanced intestinal environment, they enhance digestion and help prevent occasional irritable bowel, diarrhea, constipation and other digestive issues. They also help to ferment soluble fiber in the gut, which in turn produces a short-chain fatty acid called butyric acid that helps to nourish healthy colon cells and promote bowel regularity.

Vital to a healthy immune system, probiotics produce antibacterial compounds and acids that help support the growth of good bacteria in the gut and inhibit the growth of potentially harmful bacteria. As a result, they help to improve overall immune function.

Probiotics also help your body absorb valuable nutrients from food during the digestive process. In addition, they play a key role in the manufacturing of needed vitamins (including B12 and K) and provide nourishment for healthy intestinal cells.

What should I look for in an effective probiotic supplement?

One of the most important things to look for is high colony count (i.e. the number of “active” or “live” cultures in a formula). Choose a supplement with high count for advanced digestive and immune support.

It is also important that your supplement contain multiple strains of probiotic bacteria, as this will provide a wide range of benefits throughout the entire digestive system. Finally, your probiotic supplement should have an effective delivery system. This refers to how effectively the capsule or caplet is protected as it travels through the digestive system.

What is a probiotic supplement ?

A probiotic supplement is a product that is used to introduce beneficial, “friendly” bacteria into your body.

What should be the right time to take probiotics?

First time in the morning in an empty stomach.

Are there other ways to get friendly bacteria ?

There are two popular ways to get your probiotics: through food or taking supplements. Yogurt is the most common food that contains live, friendly bacteria. While it’s a healthy choice, it most likely contains only 1 or 2 strains and since yogurt usually does not contain prebiotics, the friendly bacteria in yogurt may not survive all the way to the gut.

What are prebiotics ?

Prebiotics are nondigestible nutrients that are used as an energy source by certain beneficial bacteria. Prebiotics are sometimes known as fermentable fiber.

Probiotics, in contrast, are the beneficial, or friendly, bacteria themselves. By acting as a food source, prebiotics help sustain the probiotic bacteria.

How often should probiotic be consumed to get the optimum effect?

Studies indicate that the best results occur when the product is used daily. A serving a day will provide the greatest benefit, since consistent use is crucial.

Are all probiotics the same?

No. Recent research has revealed that different strains of probiotics are unique in their effects on the body. Some provide a natural defense against pathogens, while others can help reduce inflammation that may be triggered by a microflora imbalance. Experts believe the benefits of probiotics depend on the type and dose of strain.

Why do I hear so much about Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria?

In a healthy intestinal tract, Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli make up the majority of the healthy bacterial cells residing there. Bifidobacteria are the most prevalent good bacteria in the large intestine (colon), and they account for up to 25 percent of the total probiotics in your body. Lactobacilli are the most prevalent good bacteria in the small intestine as well as the vaginal tract. They are especially important for women because they produce beneficial compounds that help to balance the vaginal pH and fight the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast.

Are probiotics safe for children?

Yes. Infants actually receive their first beneficial bacteria during the birthing process, and supplying additional probiotics throughout the early years has been shown to provide significant benefits for overall digestive and immune health. Powdered formulas and chewable tablets are available for infants and toddlers