Probiotics have become big business and are touted as the panacea for just about everything. Clever marketing means that nearly every patient that I see for the first time is taking a probiotic daily, and when I ask them, most are unsure why.
The World Health Organisation defines probiotics as "live micro-organisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host".
Probiotics include supplements and fermented foods such as kim chi, kefir, yoghurt and sauerkraut.
The role of probiotics in my treatment plans is to improve the health of my clients by promoting immune health, reducing inflammation and intestinal permeability and improving the gut microflora.
There are a number of conditions in which probiotics are a useful clinical tool. Some of these conditions include:
- Vaginal Candidiasis
- Atopic conditions such as eczema
- Prevention of urinary tract infections
-Depression and anxiety
- Gut infections and parasites
- IBS and IBD
- Alongside or following a course of antibiotics
The benefits of probiotics are only derived by the ensuring that the correct strain is administered. Buying over the counter or via the internet often means that you are wasting your money on a product that while it will probably not do you harm, is not doing any benefit either.