After the holidays, give your body the gift of probiotics
A big family gathering is a wonderful time to indulge in delicious foods that you don’t have every day — turkey and gravy, brussel sprouts, yams, carbonated drinks and alcohol, and all the desserts you can imagine. After the dishes have been washed, the guests have gone home and the house has been tidied up, some reminders of your family dinner may hang around — inside you! Bloating, gas, constipation and abdominal discomfort are common problems for many people, after the large meals of the holiday season.

Bloating can be temporary or severe and may be a symptom of less obvious digestive difficulties. The most common causes of bloating are eating too much and eating too fast. Certain foods can also be difficult for people to digest and these can cause gas and bloating. Fatty foods, lactose- or casein-containing foods, legumes, beans, lentils and dried fruits can all be difficult to digest, especially if you don’t take supplemental probiotics or digestive enzymes.

Gas and bloating are also caused by swallowing air while you eat. In fact half of the gas in the digestive system is swallowed air. The rest is produced by bacteria in the gut that help digest food. If food doesn’t move efficiently through your digestive tract gas builds up in the intestines, causing bloating, flatulence and discomfort.

Pro and Anti biotics
Most people know that antibiotics are pharmaceutical preparations designed to kill bacteria and to stop bacterial infections. Unfortunately treatment with antibiotics can also kill of good bacteria that maintain balance in your body. Probiotics are live bacteria that live in your gut, and elsewhere in your body and they are PRO biotics because they support life and good health.

Probiotic dietary supplements contain live microbes – like acidophilus and other bacterial strains – that help improve the microbial balance in the intestines, and also in the mouth and vagina. Eating fermented foods, like yogurt, kefir, and saurkraut, or supplementing with probiotics, such as Natural Factors Ultimate Multi Probiotic, can increase populations of the bacterial “good guys” and reduce populations of invasive, pathogenic microbes.

If you overwhelm your digestive system with heavy meals and hard-to-digest foods, then you need to re-build your probiotic "populations" with supplements like Natural Factors Ultimate Multi Probiotic or Double Strength Ultimate Multi Probiotic. These products contain 12 billion and 24 billion living probiotic cells respectively, enough to re-balance even the most abused digestive system.

They contain many different strains of probiotic bacteria and each strain has been carefully selected for natural resistance to gastric acids so they will survive the stomach’s acidity and reach the intestines at full potency. Strains are chosen so they do not interfere with the effectiveness of antibiotics but still protect you from the adverse effects of antibiotics. There are many, many species of bacteria, just as there are different species of animals, and each species can have multiple strains, each with differing probiotic actions. Some of the most researched and therapeutic strains are L. rhamnosus, L. acidophilus and B. bifidum. The “L” stands for lactobacillus, which means milk bacterium. Acidophilus means acid-loving and rhamnosus means rod-shaped. Bifidobacterium comes from the Latin word for infant and is found in mothers’ milk and in the digestive tracts of newborn babies.

What are probiotics from?
According to the people who “grow” probiotic cultures, most lactic acid bacteria strains used in today’s probiotic supplements were actually isolated decades ago! Research centers and universities studied probiotic strains from human, dairy, and plant sources, to produce what are called “first generation” probiotics. These “mother cultures” reproduce under highly controlled conditions, and are tested for characteristics such as survival strength (in the stomach’s highly acid environment and on the shelf), pH, biochemical properties and more. The best, purest and most potent cultures are used to produce more probiotics of that strain.

Each capsule of Natural Factors Double Strength Acidophilus with Bifidus for example, contains10 billion active cells including 8 billion cells of L. rhamnosus, and one billion cells each of L. acidophilus and B. bifidum. The potent probiotics in this formula can provide a wide range of health benefits from immune and digestive support.

Adequate numbers of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract help ensure complete assimilation of nutrients from our food. For example, L. acidophilus assists in the absorption of vitamins K and B, calcium, lactase and fatty acids. Of course it is essential to repopulate the digestive tract with probiotics following use of antibiotics.

Our bodies are amazingly complex environments where billions of biochemical reactions occur every second! Supplementation with any of Natural Factors’ carefully formulated superior probiotics can contribute to comfortable, healthy digestion and natural improvement of your body’s existing immune function

Take probiotic supplements to ensure that the “good guys” outnumber the “bad guys” for better health every day.