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Probiotics are becoming a more and more popular word in modern society as more information is learned about the importance of controlling the bacteria in our stomach and intestines. Antibiotics are a great treatment option that has changed the way we are able to treat patients in the last 50 years but one of the main drawbacks of this class of mediation is that patients often have gastrointestinal side effects from the treatment. Patients may be healthier compared to when they were first suffering from their ailment but GI distress can lower the quality of life for additional weeks because of the microfloral changes. 

Enter probiotics, these supplements who are touted as a treatment to resort the normal intestinal bacteria that promote the health of a patient. The way they are able to do this varies based on the specific type of supplement that you have bought. Some target altering the pH of the stomach to allow natural bacteria from the intestines to grow once again in a more hospitable environment while others act as a catalyst for the growth of larger colonies of healthy bacteria. 

Science supports this narrative and various meta-analyses have been conducted to determine what diseases are actually improved when patients are given probiotic supplementation. It was determined that probiotics can reduce the symptoms of GI distress like bloating, gas, diarrhea or bowel pain in diseases like infectious diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, H. pylori infections, C. difficile infections, and diarrhea post-antibiotic therapy by up to 50 percent. It was also shown, however, that there was no benefit of probiotic therapy in GI disorders like Traveler's Diarrhea or Necrotizing Enterocolitis. [1]

Patients can realize the benefits of probiotics in a number of different ways from possible supplementation to ingesting yogurts and other dairy products that are high in these types of organisms. Greek yogurts or yogurts with added probiotic strains are some of the most potent foods that are loaded with a number of beneficial probiotic strains. 

If a prepared supplement is more of what you are looking for, it really depends on the type of pathology you are suffering from when it comes to what probiotic is best for you to ingest. Your intestinal flora is comprised of a number of different types of helpful bacteria so any type of inflammation or irritation can lead to these bacteria from either being reduced, or even killed. 

Bacteria that are found in the highest concentrations in the intestinal tract would be from strains like Streptococcus thermophilus, Bacillus laterosporus, Pediococcus acidilacticillis and Bifidobacterium brevemYou will be able to find strains of probiotics that are high in these types of bacteria which will give you the best benefit. 

Although probiotics are beneficial to improve your digestion, they should only be considered as a supplement to more important lifestyle modifications that can have a more pronounced effect on your health. Diets high in carbohydrates, sugars, and fats can dramatically alter the composition of your intestinal tract so even taking supplements of probiotics will provide only temporary relief. Eating a balance of fruits, vegetables and dairy products like yogurt can help you handle GI distress more permanently. 

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