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Probiotics – A new tool to help manage digestive problems

It is generally accepted that as we get older, digestion becomes more of an issue, but have you noticed how many younger people are also having problems with digestion? Through age, stress or poor nutrition or other reason, it seems more of us are struggling with stomach or intestinal discomfort caused by cramping, bloating, acid reflux, constipation, wind or diarrhoea.

How do probiotics work?

Obviously the first sensible step is to talk to a health professional like your pharmacist or GP, but one of the relatively new, non-invasive options in their arsenals are probiotics.

The normal healthy human intestine contains roughly 400 different types of bacteria. Some promote health by digesting food, producing vitamins, preventing infection and regulating the immune system. Others work in reverse. When you are healthy, these are roughly in balance. All sorts of things can throw the balance out: excess stress, too much fat or insufficient fibre in your diet, too much alcohol, gastric infections and some antibiotics.

Probiotics help re-introduce good bacteria back into your gut to balance out the bad guys that antibiotics can sometimes take out. Before they came along, doctors used to suggest eating things like acidolphus yoghurt, on the same principle, to help restore bacterial balance.