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Are Probiotics Overrated?

Are Probiotics Overrated?

If you’ve noticed probiotics getting a lot of media attention, you aren’t alone. Hyped as a cure-all for everything from psoriasis to ulcers, people often wonder if they really work. Since the price of a bottle of probiotics can be fairly steep depending on the brand, we decided to look at what research shows.

What Are Probiotics?

According to the experts at the Cleveland Clinic, probiotics are made up of good bacteria and yeast that occur naturally in the body. They are part of the microbes that keep the body healthy. Most of these beneficial bacteria live in the gut, but can also be found in other areas of the body. These include the mouth, urinary tract, skin, and lungs.

Contrary to popular belief, probiotics aren’t just supplements you buy at the health food store. They can also be found naturally in foods. Most experts agree probiotic-rich foods are better than supplements. But if you’ve been seriously ill and the bad bacteria in your gut has taken over, food choices might not be enough. Supplements, at least on a short-term basis, might be necessary.

Other medical conditions that may be moderated by probiotics include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diarrhea
  • Ulcers caused by H. pylori
  • Constipation
  • Yeast infection
  • Urinary tract infection

As is true of any health concern, it’s best to talk with your primary care physician before making any changes.

Foods That Contain Probiotics

What foods can you include in your diet to increase the good bacteria in your body? A few to consider include:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Kombucha
  • Buttermilk
  • Sourdough bread
  • Sauerkraut
  • Miso
  • Kimchi
  • Pickles

Choosing a Supplement

If you and your physician decide a probiotic supplement might be the best course of action, it may help to match the health condition you are experiencing to the right supplement. Bacteria and yeast are different and targeting the right ones may help improve your outcome. “How to Choose the Best Probiotic Supplement” can help.

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