By Dr. Derrick DeSilva, Internal Medicine
Q: What is the function of good bacteria?
A: There are 4 things:
Immune Health: 60% of our immune system lies in our intestines, and the “good bacteria” provides the optimal environment for our Immune system to do what it does best.
Digestion: We all know the cliché, “we are what we eat”, but it really comes down to “we are what we absorb”. Without good bacteria in our gut, our body does not have the ability to absorb the nutrients from our food.
Elimination: The good bacteria in our bodies aid in the elimination and breakdown of nutrients, and are also responsible for getting rid of the” junk” in our systems. There are many potential causes of constipation, and a good probiotic along with staying hydrated may help to ease this uncomfortable problem that many seniors often experience.
Vitamin Production: Good bacteria make most, if not all of our body’s B vitamins. The B Vitamins are not only good for “energy” but are also important for heart health, specifically Vitamin B6, B12 and Folic acid. The “good bacteria” also makes our vitamin K2, which is critical for our bones and heart.
Q: Who needs to take a probiotic?
A: Everyone! If you’re breathing, you should be taking a probiotic.
Q: How do you use Probiotics in your clinical practice?
A: I use it in people who have any kind of digestive problem, such as GERD, gastritis, IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome), Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease or Diabetes. I also recommend it to any patient with skin problems or autoimmune issues, such as Psoriasis, Lupus, Scleroderma or Rheumatoid Arthritis to name a few.
Q: What if I don’t have any pre-existing conditions? Can I still benefit from a probiotic?
A: Absolutely! A probiotic boosts the immune system and also aids in digestion, elimination and helps the body to produce the necessary B vitamins as discussed above. All of these things are very important to our overall good health. This is why taking a daily probiotic is so important.
Q: Are there any side effects to taking a probiotic?
A: There are absolutely no contraindications to taking a probiotic. It is even safe to take a probiotic during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Q: When should I take my probiotic?
A: Don’t make it into a science project. Just take it twice a day with meals so it’s simple and easy.