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Hi everyone, Dr Cris here with The Ask Dr Cris Show.  Today’s question comes from Jade, and she would like to know ‘what are probiotics and do I need to take them?’

They are hyped up in the media and we see that somebody is selling a probiotic product in pretty much every supermarket and health food store.  Are they good for us?  There is some debate about that.  We know that good bacteria in the gut are important to prevent chronic disease like asthma, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome and food intolerances, so there is some benefit to having probiotics which are just good bacteria.  The problem with a commercially available probiotic in many of them is that they don’t get to where they have got to go.  They die before they actually reach the small intestine or large intestine where they need to go.  So my suggestion would be instead of a probiotic, unless it’s a very good quality one, is to do fermented foods so that’s things like kefir, Sauerkraut, kimchi. That’s the way that probiotics were meant to be in our system to begin with, through fermented foods, so that’s my suggestion for probiotics.  Are they good for us?  Yes!  Are the commercially available ones bioavailable, meaning they can be used by the body?  We are not yet sure.  Better to get it from food.  Thanks so much Jade for your question.

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Dr Cris

Holistic Medical Doctor, Author ‘Healthy Habits, 52 Ways to Better Health

Healthy Habits book Dr Cris