Probiotic FAQ with Dr. Sara Celik, ND
Question: I enjoy summer BBQs, but usually get digestive issues and feel bloated. Are there any supplements that can help?
ANSWER: You may have dysbiosis – a condition that often causes digestive symptoms, such as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and/or heartburn. Dysbiosis refers to an imbalance of ‘good’ to ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut and may be caused by poor diet, high levels of stress, the overuse of alcohol, or certain medications. Although it easily develops, the condition is often undiagnosed.Our typical fast-paced lifestyle can affect the microbial environment in the gut and probiotic supplements help restore the imbalance of gut flora. You can find probiotics where natural health products are sold.
QUESTION: I find shopping for probiotics confusing. What should I look for?
ANSWER: For best results, look for a high potency probiotic. You also want to make sure the formula contains multiple strains and a delivery system. For my patients, I typically recommend a probiotic that contains at least 50 billion active bacterial cultures per capsule. With digestive issues such as gas and bloating, it’s important to choose a probiotic that contains various strains of Bifi dobacterium. These strains of bacteria populate the large intestine and may reduce uncomfortable digestive symptoms. When it comes to the delivery system, read the non-medicinal ingredients and check to see if the capsules are enteric coated. This specialized coating ensures the live bacteria survive the harsh stomach acid and make it to the intestines alive.
QUESTION: Are probiotics safe to take?
ANSWER: I have never seen any adverse reactions to probiotics in my 10 years of clinical practice. Additionally, there are twenty-three studies that have been done to evaluate adverse outcomes with the use of probiotics. To date, none have been found.
QUESTION: I take a daily multivitamin. Should I also take a probiotic along with it?
ANSWER: Yes, probiotics are like a multivitamin for the gut. You take a multivitamin every day to ensure you are getting adequate nutrients and need probiotics daily for a healthy digestive tract. Since the average gut lacks ‘friendly’ bacteria, there is a need to continuously replenish the intestines with ‘good’ bacteria. There is plenty of scientific evidence to support the use of probiotics for a stronger immune system and healthier digestion. A daily probiotic can offer many health benefits and help you enjoy summer BBQs without uncomfortable symptoms!
1.Blake Rodgers, MD, corresponding author Kate Kirley, MD, and Anne Mounsey, MD. (2013). Prescribing an antibiotic? Pair it with probiotics. J Fam Pract. 62(3),148-150.
Dr. Sara Celik is a Naturopathic Doctor and Homeopathic Master Clinician with over 15 years of experience. With her extensive clinical and educational background, she is a sought-after national authority on natural health.