Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gut Check - Probiotics?

My tummy and I are not always on speaking terms.  I don't know about you, but life has a way of dealing my stomach fits.  Some of it is being too busy to really pay attention to what I'm putting in it.  Some of it is stress.  And some of it, I believe, is just my body chemistry. 

Digestive health is very important; however, most of us tend to just take it for granted.  Unless you have issues with lactose intollerance or are allergic to glutens, etc., the tummy doesn't get a lot of think time unless we are simply trying to reduce its size.

As you know, I've been working on many aspects of health lately.  It started out as a journey to lose weight, morphed into an exploration of how to cleanse the body and has finally landed at being physically fit.  It's not as frenetic a journey as it sounds.

One popular dietary supplement we hear about today is probiotics.  What exactly are probiotics?  Well...  My understanding is this - there are microflora living in the intestine.  This symbiotic bacteria is necessary to aid in digestion and other aspects of the intestinal tract.  Age, stress, diet, etc. can all lead to a decrease in the numbers of helpful microflora in our intestines.  Ingesting a supplement that contains strains of this helpful bacteria helps to balance our digestive process.  Those strains include bifidobacterium infantis, bifidobacterium lactis, bifidobacterium longum, and bifidobacterium bifidum.  Several probiotic supplements I find in the stores have one of these bacterium, but not all of them.  From what I understand, to be complete, the probiotic should contain all.

One way to get probiotics is through some yogurts.  The problem here is convenience and sugars.  Yogurt isn't always convenient.  It's not a big deal, but there are days when I don't have time or don't want yogurt for breakfast.  Keeping it cold during the day can be a challege.  Additionally, yogurts often have added sugars.

The other solution is to take probiotic capsules.  To that end, I'm going to testdrive Member's Mark 4X Probiotic Digestive Care Supplement found at Sam's Club for two weeks.  The box states it contains the four strains of bacteria, and the directions state I only have to take one pill a day.  That is convenient.  Each pouch in the box contains seven pills, each labled with the day of the week.  Hard to forget if I have/have not taken the pill if it's labeled.  (You don't forget?  Wow!  I sure do...  Doh!)

I'll repost in two weeks and let you know how it's going.  I'm really hoping this will be one more key to my lifelong health. 

In the meantime, there will be a Twitter party on October 5 from 9 - 10 EST where you can participate and win the product, or gift cards. Here is the RSVP link for the Twitter Party:

*** This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.

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