Food for Thought: Should you take probiotic supplements?

Health

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Healthy gut bacteria can help improve health from A, arthritis, to ZZZ’s, getting good sleep. In addition to arthritis and sleep, healthy micro-organisms or probiotics in your gut can control your risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, respiratory illness and even obesity. So should you take a probiotic supplement?

The answer depends on your health. According to experts at the UNC School of Medicine, you could take a probiotic supplement if you are experiencing symptoms of an unhealthy gut… if you have gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn or other gut distress.

Stress can cause these symptoms and change the ratio of good to bad bacteria in the gut. Probiotic supplements can also be helpful if you take antibiotics.

A review of research on probiotic supplements found that they can improve the gut microbes of individuals with certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and diabetes, but did little to improve the gut microbes of healthy people. So, if your gut feels good and you are healthy, there may be no need to supplement.

However, experts say before supplements, try to get healthy bacteria from fermented, probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kimchi, real fermented sauerkraut and fermented pickles and eating these foods is a good idea for all.

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