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Probiotics Do a Body Good: Vitamin Shoppe Tips to Trust Your Gut

You've heard about probiotics.  But what are they and what do they do? We asked the Vitamin Shoppe's on-staff nutritionist Brian Tanzer for the skinny on the benefits of these good bacteria that help keep your gut healthy.

Why you need probiotics? If you eat a lot of processed foods, excess sugar or refined carbohydrates, the bacteria in your digestive tract might have a hard time staying in balance. 
And probiotics inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, promote good digestion, boost immune function, and increase resistance to infection.

Tip: You can find them in capsule, tablet, powder and chewable forms.

When you should take a probiotic? If you are looking for a probiotic to take every day, try a multi-strain probiotic starting with 5-10 billion CFU, and see how it works for you. CFU's, or colony forming units are used to measure probiotics potency. CFU’s can range from 1 billion up to 100 billion. The best time to take a probiotic supplement is between meals, ideally in the morning or in the evening.

Tip: If you are finishing up a course of antibiotics and have chronic digestive issues, look for a CFU count of at least 30 billion.

What if you don't want to take a supplement? If taking supplements isn't your thing, fermented foods can offer similar benefits to supplements, by providing more good bacteria, and supporting a proper balance of gut bacteria. Try organic Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso soup,  tempeh and yogurt with live, active cultures. 

Tip: It’s best to gradually add fermented foods into your diet as you may feel a little more bloating than normal until your body and gut bacteria adjust.


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