Probiotics – Could these germs stop you from bloating?

If you thought then only way to a flat stomach was through exercise and painful crunches the you’re wrong. Most women have their flat stomachs hijacked by bloating. And I used to be one of them. I work and I’m fairly fit and most mornings I would wake up with a tummy that I could be proud. After breakfast, it was allover. My tummy would grow and grow with every meal that I ate and by night time I looked like I had a three month baby bump… til I re-discovered probiotics.

No. Probiotics have nothing to do with robots or robotics. Also known as ‘friendly bacteria or good bacteria’ . The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, defines probiotics as “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”

Microorganisms are tiny living organisms, which include bacteria, viruses, and yeasts, that can be seen only under a microscope. In the case of Pro-biotics, they are mostly bacteria and although you’ve all probably been freaked out by all the recent talks of germs and it seems soap and detergent manufactures are currently running a scare campaign against germs (every soap, wipe or hand wash seems to be have an anti-microbial agent in it!).

above diagram has been taken from Ecology Healthy Click on diagram to view sight.

Micro-organisms have been around longer than we have (sorry for the side track, I’m a qualified food technologist and I love talking about bacteria) and they live inside us and form part of the gut flora (this just means that there’s a lot of bacteria in your gut and some of them are good and some of them can cause a few issues if their numbers get too high) and are on our skin and in our nasal cavities. You can also find groups of bacteria in your private parts.

You can also find bacteria and other micro-organisms in our foods like yoghurt, small goods (think salamis and smoked goods) and other dairy products which rely on the action on the action of bacteria to impart certain cheese flavors that some people take for granted

Of course there’s always dispute about the so called benefits of ‘friendly bacteria or good bacteria’. As with everything, so called experts can’t seem to agree.

‘Friendly bacteria are vital to proper development of the immune system, to protection against microorganisms that could cause disease, and to the digestion and absorption of food and nutrients. Each person’s mix of bacteria varies. Interactions between a person and the microorganisms in his body, and among the microorganisms themselves, can be crucial to the person’s health and well-being’

Above are some of the reason’s that I take probiotics. The other main reason is bloating. Bloating has always been a nightmare for me and the only way I’ve been able to control bloating is by cutting down on fruits and taking probiotics. This may sound disgusting  but probiotics also helped the consistency of my poo. It’s made it firmer.

Although I’m daily intolerant I take two table spoons of drinking yoghurt every morning on an empty stomach. The reason I take it on an empty stomach is so that my food doesn’t interfere with the bacteria. Bacteria are sensitive to things like acids, salt, sugar, and heat, amongst other things in food. I want to give the bacteria that I’m drinking the best chance to colonize my insides so I make sure I don’t eat anything that will affect it for at least half an hour. This is just me!

The reason why I take a probiotic that is milk based in the form of a drinking yoghurt is because I have tried capsules and powders. Capsules and powders made my poo runny. Another thing about the types of bacteria and yeasts found in probiotics is that a lot of them grow better in certain environment For example, if I wanted to grow Lactobacillus acidophilus (which is one of the main types of bacteria found in probiotics)in the laboratory,  I would grow it in milk because the milk proteins will promote the bacteria growth better. And I can always tell how viable probiotics are in liquid form by smelling the liquid. In short I’ve gotten better results from drinking probiotics in liquid form than I have in powder or capsule.

Want more information on Probiotics? Here’s a list of articles that might be helpful

David Wolfson, N.D.Probiotics, A Primer’, 1999, Nutrition News

Jeanne A. Drisko, Cheryl K. Giles, Bette J. Bischoff, 'Probiotics in Health Maintenance and Disease Prevention',2003 
Alternative Medicine Review, volume 8, Number 2


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