Should I Take a Probiotic Every Day?

The human body contains an ecosystem of bacteria that perform essential functions such as digestion and immune system maintenance. Like any ecosystem, it requires a certain amount of give and take to keep it in optimal balance. That is why a probiotic supplement fits into the daily schedule. As friendly bacteria leave the body, probiotics fill the void to keep that critical ecosystem diverse and well proportioned.

Is taking a probiotic each day too much? Well, it’s not just safe to take a probiotic supplement daily, it is recommended for most people. Consider some reasons you might need probiotics every single day.

The Regular Bathroom Detail

Whether you go in the morning or at night, healthy people should be having at least one bowel movement per day. Several things are going on when this happens, but ultimately, this trip to the bathroom is the final stage of digestion. The friendly bacteria that exist in the digestive tract break down food into waste material that exits the body in this final stage.

Part of this fecal matter includes bacteria that leave with the waste material. In fact, bacterial biomass is a major component (25-54% of dry solids) of the organic portion of your stool, undigested carbohydrates, fiber, protein and fat make up most of the rest. It’s the intestinal tract’s way of shedding some of these organisms to make room for new ones. Probiotics replace what is lost daily to keep the system balanced.

Antibiotics and Other Medications

If you have been to the doctor lately for an infection of any kind, the treatment plan most likely included antibiotics. By definition, antibiotics kill bacteria — even the good ones. Antibiotics are quite literally the opposite of probiotics. Taking probiotics helps counteract this potential side effect of a medication you need to combat an illness. In fact, recent studies have indicated that a normal course of many commonly used antibiotics can alter the gut flora balance for up to a year after you’ve taken them!

Other kinds of prescription drugs and even alternative therapies like herbal treatments (ex. cinnamon, garlic, Echinacea, oregano oil, and many more) can change the balance of the gut microbiota, too. Add to the list products we often use daily like mouthwash, antibacterial soaps, and hand sanitizer.

Chlorinated Water

Not all bacteria are good. With that in mind, most water systems use chlorine to kill organisms that might find their way into the water that comes out of the kitchen tap. The downside of this helpful treatment is that chlorine also does not discriminate when killing good bacteria. As you drink water right from the tap, the chlorine will naturally kill some of the necessary bacteria in the digestive tract, too. You can replace what you lose with a daily dose of probiotics. This is also why Natren suggests that you take your probiotics with unchlorinated, filtered water.

Day to Day Stress

Everyone has a little bit of stress in their life and that can change the balance of bacteria in the gut, according to a 2011 study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. Scientists from the University of Ohio found the bacteria levels in the intestine become less diverse when a person is stressed out and this allows harmful bacteria to grow in alarming numbers. Adding more friendly organisms with the help of a daily probiotic will balance the ecosystem once again, keeping dangerous bacteria in check.

Environmental Toxins Found in Everyday Items

Even seemingly safe and healthy items like toothpaste can contain environmental toxins (fluoride) in small amounts. The goal is to kill bacteria to protect you, but, in the process, exposure to these chemicals has a side effect of killing off the good bacteria in your gut. Likewise, alcoholic beverages are known to expose you to acetaldehyde a known Class A Carcinogen. You are regularly exposed to natural carcinogens like UVA light that affects your overall health and gut flora, too.

Aging

Aging like environment can change the gut microbiota. A 2014 study points out that the most noticeable change in the gut flora as a person ages is in the proportions of different organisms, some of which are necessary for good health. Researchers state there is a clear relationship between poor microbial diversity and frailty scores in the elderly.

Medical Interventions

The things medical science recommends to keep you healthy can also take a toll on gut health, like a basic screening test such as a colonoscopy. This invasion of the intestinal tract can lower the number of good bacteria and lead to intestinal problems. Surgery and drug therapies all have an impact on gut health, as well. They add additional stress to the body, along with challenging the immune system and altering the gut microbiota.

Probiotics help battle the daily challenges, so why wouldn’t you take them each day? Probiotics are critical to good health whether you want more energy or are looking to support key systems like your immune health. Your body is a perfectly designed ecosystem, but many things you encounter everyday interfere with that process. It’s up to you to find ways to counter this damage and probiotics combined with smart lifestyle changes might just do the trick. A regular and strategic probiotic supplementation program that is created specifically to address the needs of the individual is useful in maintaining a well-balanced and flourishing gut ecosystem. The trillions of microbes that live in your gut also benefit from the nutritional choices you make, it’s equally important to implement a diet and exercise program customized to your individual needs that will help this internal environment thrive. Natren believes in and encourages everyone to setup his or her own ‘3 Pillars of Health’ (a customized probiotic, diet and exercise program) for improved physical, mental and gut health.