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The Everyday Guide to Probiotics - How to pick the one for you

Probiotics contain live bacteria that aid your digestive health and improve your gut flora which have a whole host benefits for your health. Bacteria can be both good and bad for your body and probiotics are especially beneficial during and after a course of antibiotics which rid your body of both good and bad bacteria. This can leave you feeling run down and weakened.

Probiotics occur naturally in fermented foods such as buttermilk and are added to others such as yoghurt and some cheeses.

Types of Probiotics:

Different strains of probiotics exist which can aid specific parts of the body. Due to lack of research, there’s no clear, unequivocal answer what strain affects which part of the body. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and Saccharomyces boulardii are some of the more common probiotic strains.

Lactobacillus:

  • Found in fermented foods such as yoghurts.
  • Used for treating and preventing diarrhoea linked with antibiotic use and infections.
  • Lactobacillus is also often used for general digestion issues such as IBS and colic (in babies).
  • It is also used for treating infections from ulcer-causing bacteria and has been also used for other types of infections such as UTIs and vaginal yeast infections.
  • Eczema and other skin issues have been seen to improve after taking lactobacillus.

Bifidobacterium:

  • Bifidobacterium has been used to treat intestinal disorders such as IBS and prevent diarrhoea from infections and courses of antibiotics.
  • It has been shown to prevent constipation also and is helpful against ulcer-causing bacteria such as H. pylori, like Lactobacillus.
  • A combination of Lactobacilla and Bifidobacteria can be very effective for getting rid of H. pylori infections.

Saccharomyces boulardii:

  • Different from the previous two, Saccharomyces boulardii is a type of yeast instead of a bacterium.
  • Its main benefit is in treating diarrhoea in children caused by the rotavirus and diarrhoea caused by antibiotic use.

Benefits:

  • As mentioned above, antibiotics can remove helpful bacteria from your gut. Probiotics work to replenish these bacteria and being you back to your former self.
  • Probiotics work wonders for your gut flora, allowing food to travel through your system efficiently and without problems. This can prevent problems such as:
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
    • Diarrhoea
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Probiotics are also known to aid eczema and urinary and vaginal health while also helping to prevent colds and flus.

Probiotics for Children:

Probiotics can work wonders for your kid’s healthy by improving the microbiome (the collection of bacteria in your body) and limiting the risk of illnesses and infections. However, probiotics can cause side effects for very sick children, therefore we advise mentioning it to their paediatrician before starting them on a course of probiotics.

Probiotics in children have been seen to prevent acute constipation and colic while also relieving secondary illnesses such as diarrhoea caused by antibiotics.

For most children probiotics can work wonders for your child’s health and here at Stratus Healthcare we have suggestions for which ones to use:

  • Udo’s Choice – With products for infants and children, they contain child-specific strains to support your kid’s wellbeing.
  • BioKult Infantis – Allowing for the normal function of your child’s immune system with seven specific strains formulated just for infants.

Our Range of Probiotics:

  • Udo’s Choice – Available in caps or lozenges, Udo’s Choice’s range of probiotics and microbiotics have some of the highest counts of bacteria while also being refrigerated to maintain their freshness. Contains both lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains.
  • Optibac – They have a huge range of probiotics for all issues. Whether you’re on a course of antibiotics, travelling abroad or in search of a specific strain of bacteria, Optibac have just what you want.
  • BioKult – Whether it’s for your digestive or urinary tract BioKult probiotics is a range for the whole family. Probiotics especially for women and children available also with a mix of strains.
  • Alflorex – The only product in Ireland to contain the unique 35624 bacterial culture and proven to remain active and intact right through your digestive tract to your bowel.

For those who have autoimmune diseases or other serious health problems we would advise checking with your doctor before starting a course of probiotics.

N.B. Remember that probiotics are not meant to substitute food and are only meant to be additives to an already healthy, balanced diet.

For more advice on probiotics and more recommendations call into one of our pharmacies or contact us using our PharmaChat service.

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