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The Probiotic Predicament: Week #2

Upon exploring research based on the benefits of probiotics, the most prominent information one might come across is that the use of probiotics work to relieve any apparent digestive disorders, affirmed or suspected. The claim the probiotic movement makes is one of balance. It seems as though, like it or not, our bodies thrive on the good and bad bacteria that are created or consumed. Those bacteria, according to multiple sources, is what fuels the entire gastrointestinal tract, thus if balance is attained a sort of digestive nirvana is achieved.
Most research also touts that the specific balance of good and bad bacteria are also responsible for things like a strengthened immune system due to more effective assimilation of vitamins and minerals ingested. Furthermore, the same research claims that when you’re immune system is at its peak, the body can use its energy resources on other systems like cell growth. So, when your cells are free to grow in a balanced environment, one is apt to heal from injuries faster or become more prone to fighting other skin infections or affects such as psoriasis, acne or eczema. Studies are also mentioning the strengthening of hair and nail growth through a balanced gut flora. After all, the name nails it, “pro” is a Latin variation for “promoting” or “support,” while “biotic” translates to “life”.
So at the very core, if the cultures are active, a probiotic supplement should offer its consumer a bit of relief when it comes to any discomforts the typical American diet can inflict on a person and here after just a week, I wanted to report to you (in the least graphic and most educational way possible) the effects of supplementing my diet thus far with a probiotic.
The instructions for the product I chose is one capsule daily. Now, I have a hard time with routine. The only things I do on a routine basis are eat, sleep and shower. All of my extraneous activities such as the time I work, the order in which I get ready for work, the route I take walking the dogs etc. are all subject to change each week and that means sometimes I miss something and usually it’s my vitamins. The bottle of capsules had to be kept refrigerated though, which helps because heading to the fridge for the coffee every morning is pretty much the first thing I do (and yes, I keep my coffee beans in the fridge). So, every time I reached for that bag of beans, I was able to see the bottle, ultimately being reminded that I was working on restoring that balance in my body—and therefore remembering to take the capsule daily. The routine was so much easier to keep that I eventually moved my enzymes and multivitamin to the fridge too!
Knowing that I had now tricked myself into a failsafe way of getting the 15 billion strains of probiotics in these capsules, I felt better about the idea for a blog entry about it. What I report is from an entire week of taking them without fail.
On day one I didn’t feel much of a difference. I ate a typical diet that day and didn’t feel any better or worse for taking the probiotic, which is normal according to articles and firsthand accounts posted in some discussion forums on a popular health information website. The consensus is that within a week, the consumer will begin to feel some effects.
When day three rolled around, I suspected the first change from ingesting probiotics. After lunch on day three, I clocked back in and a whole hour passed before I realized that I hadn’t yet experienced any bloating, which is typical for me even eating sensible and portion conscious items for lunch, such as a small portion of tuna with cucumber slices and a handful of almonds. When I say that even the smallest things can randomly upset my stomach, I kid you not. But on this particular day I didn’t feel that bloat and continued not to miss it much during the week. I had one not so great morning, but other than that—my belly doesn’t have that hollow round feel to it that tends to happen with me. I could feel my body kind of falling into line with itself. Because my gut didn’t feel so huge, I started feeling a bit more energetic, like I had taken a weight off of myself.
Some consumers do not feel any effects within the first week of taking a probiotic according to these message boards I have delved into, but no one is naming the brand or strains in their probiotic, which makes me wonder if they are consuming a lifeless combination of bacteria or maybe not enough of the combinations of bacteria they are taking.
After week number one, I find myself wondering if I should increase the number of strains I consume, though I am a minimalist—and if 15 billion continues to show improvements, why mess with a good thing? So far, there have been no adverse or unwanted side effects. Let’s see what week three brings!