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When To Take Probiotics

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Probiotics for infants

Do you know when to take probiotics?  

Many of us don't recognize the signs and symptoms indicating the need for probiotics. 

Here are some possible reasons to help you figure out when to take probiotics:

  • You're eating the standard American diet of highly processed foods  
  • You don't eat any cultured or fermented foods (with active live cultures), sorry, sweetened yogurt doesn't count
  • You have recently taken a course antibiotics for an illness 
  • You take antibiotics or other medications on a daily basis
  • You seem to catch every cold or flu that is going around

  • You get a lot of ear infections.
  • You have a fungal over growth, like athletes foot, fungal toe or finger nails, jock itch or thrush
  • Food allergies or intolerances.
  • You have chronic diarrhea or constipation issues
  • You eat a lot of sugary foods
  • You drink soda pop or other sugary drinks.
  • You have gas, bloating and other digestive upsets
  • You drink chlorinated water (tap water)
  • You might now be thinking, not sure that helped....I'm so confused on when to take probiotics?  I understand how you feel, read on and I'll try to clear things up a bit.

    More on When to Take Probiotics

    Some basic probiotic facts:

    • Our intestinal tract is home to two to three pounds of friendly microorganisms that are collectively known as friendly flora.
    • The health of our intestinal tract is largely dependent upon maintaining a healthy balance of these microbes. 
    • There is good bacteria that keeps us healthy. There is also bad bacteria that causes us to have numerous ailments and health problems.
    • Probiotics help make nutrients available to the body and protect the body against infection from E. coli, yeast and other unfriendly microbes.
    • Antibiotics, chlorinated water and certain medications can kill these friendly microbes causing us to develop chronic yeast overgrowth, compromising both bowel health and general immune resistance.

    Did you know that about 85% of your immune system is determined by the health of your intestinal system?

    I know it sounds crazy, but it's true.  Staying healthy depends on how well your body maintains that delicate balance of good to bad bacteria.  

    When we eat too much of the wrong foods, like sugar, it feeds the bad bacteria.  This then alters that delicate balance of flora in the gut.

    This can cause all kinds of symptoms like rashes, itching, fungal nails, yeast infections.

    Certain medications also upset the balance causing any number of symptoms. 

    Quite frankly, so many things, even stress can cause problems in the gut.

    If you're still confused on when to take probiotics?  Don't be, the answer for most people is to simply take them everyday. 

    It's best to get your probiotics in foods.  Below I will have some links to help you find or make probiotic rich foods. 

    It's good to start your children off on these foods.  Probiotics are generally not harmful to babies or children.

    Until you get to that point, you might want to take a good quality probiotic supplement daily.  

    Specifically, it is best to take them on an empty stomach, either at night or in between meals.

    To make things simple, I've included a short questionnaire (below)developed by Steven Horne, an expert in natural health.  It should help you decide when to take probiotics.

    Questionnaire on Probiotics

    To find out if you need a probiotic supplement to rebuild your friendly flora, answer this short questionnaire. 

    Check the answer that best applies to you for each of the following questions.

    Then, score the total number of points for each answer at the bottom of the page.


    Have you ever taken antibiotics?

    • Never (20 points)
    • A few times (10 points)
    • Many times (0 points)

    How many bowel movements do you generally have?

    • My bowels generally move 2-3 times daily (10 points)
    • My bowels generally move once a day (5 points)
    • My bowels generally move less than once a day (0 points)

    How often do you eat foods that contain probiotics with live bacterial cultures, or fermented foods with live bacterial cultures?

    • Never (0 points)
    • Less than once a week (5 points)
    • Several times a week (10 points)
    • Daily (15 points)

    Do you suffer from yeast or fungal infections of any kind (athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, vaginal yeast infections, etc.)?

    • No (10 points)
    • Yes (0 points)

    Do you primarily drink chlorinated (tap) water?

    • No, I generally drink purified or filtered water (10 points)
    • Yes (0 points)

    Total Your Points Here _____

    Interpreting Your Results:

  • If you scored 45 or more, you’re doing great!
  • If you scored less than 45, you probably need a probiotics.
  • If you scored less than 25, you definitely need a probiotics
  • If you do need to take probiotics, there are a number of links below (Additional Resources) that can help you get further information on the right for you.

    Additional Resources

    Foods That Contain Probiotics

    Choosing Probiotic Pills

    Probiotics For Health

    How to Choose and Take Probiotics

    Super Supplements

    Dr. Oz's Take on Probiotics

    Return to Healthy Choices 4 Life Home Page

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