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Probiotics 101

Without a healthy gut, the body can't receive the nourishment it needs to function. Your gut is home to many strains of probiotics that play a key role in everything from belly bliss to your mood. Here are some common strains--and their key benefits.

Lactobacillus acidophilus (L. acidophilus) and Bifidobacterium bifidum (B. bifidum) help enhance digestive and immune system health. Use L. acidophilus to ease lactose intolerance and B. bifidum for relief from irritable bowel syndrome. L. acidophilus is also great to take when you are coming down with a cold. Suggested product: Solaray Multidolphilus.

Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) is a spore probiotic--a robust strain that stands up to heat, sunlight, and stomach acid. Research on B. subtilis shows that it helps alleviate diarrhea, vaginitis, allergic skin conditions, high cholesterol, gas and constipation. Suggested product: Syntol AMD.

Lactobacillus casei (L. casei) is noted for alleviating antibiotic-induced diarrhea and Clostridium difficile (C.diff) infections, as well as inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. One study showed that L. casei lessened anxiety and promoted gut health in chronic fatigue sufferers. Suggested product: Bluebonnet  Single Daily Probiotic.

Lactobacillus plantarum (L. plantarum) has been shown in studies to enhance immune function and overall health, especially among elderly people. Other research supports its use for improving memory and age-related memory loss. Suggested product: Solaray Adult 50+ Formula probiotic.

Bifidobacterium longum (B. longum) helps tame inflammation and lessen food allergies. Other research shows that B. longum eases depression and anxiety, while also helping the body handle stress more effectively. B. Longum helps increase the amount of available tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin. Suggested product: Garden of Life Mood Probiotic.

Lactobacillus reuteri (L. reuteri) helps reduce symptoms associated with gastroenteritis (stomach flu). It also colonizes the vaginal environment and fights off unwelcome bacteria and yeast. Use it to help restore vaginal health. Suggested product: Garden of Life Women's Shelf-Stable Once Daily Probiotic.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus (L. rhamnosus) is useful for treating a variety of health issues, including dermatitis, obesity, diarrhea, digestive gas and bloating, vaginal yeast infections, depression, and anxiety. Suggested product: Russian Choice Immune.

Source: Better Nutrition Magazine, March 2018

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