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Probiotics - answers to common questions

1. Is Probiotic suitable for vegetarians?
Gelatin capsules are animal based. Some probiotics do not contain any meat-based materials or are enclosed in a vegetable capsule, rather than gelatin, but you need to read the labels carefully.

2. What concentration of bacteria or micro-organisms should I look for?
We would recommend looking for 5 to 12 billion CFU per gram. (Colony Forming Units) Often cheap / 'supermarket own label' probiotics contain much less than this

3. Can Probiotics be taken during pregnancy?
Most probiotics contains naturally occurring beneficial microorganisms which have been previously shown to be safe to take during pregnancy. However, we would always recommend that you ask your GP / Health Care Practitioner before taking any supplement, mineral or vitamin

4. Is there any situation when Probiotics should not be taken?
Probiotics should be prescribed at the discretion of the GP / Health Care Practitioner for certain "at risk" groups, - for those using antibiotics and medications esp. people who are undergoing cancer treatment , for those who have immune disorders or a significant infection, for those in hospital, for pregnant women or for those with allergies.

5. Iím lactose intolerant. Can I take Probiotics?
Certain probiotic strains have been shown to produce lactase, the enzyme needed to break down lactose, which is usually lacking in people intolerant to lactose.

6. I have an allergy to milk. Can I take Probiotics?
If you have a moderate or severe allergy to milk, we would suggest you talk to your practitioner before taking probiotics, as many capsules and tablets contain small traces of milk proteins. You won't be able to drink probiotic yogurts, of course.

7. Are there any side effects from taking Probiotics?
When taken as recommended and at the dose levels recommended, no; - unless you are part of the "at risk" groups mentioned above.

8. I suffer from IBD. Will probiotics help?
Evidence suggests that increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in the small intestine and colon may improve the health of patients suffering from IBD. Probiotics will not cure IBD, but have been shown to reduce the symptoms of IBD.

9. I suffer from IBS. Will probiotics help?
Evidence has shown that some probiotics can reduce the symptoms of IBS, like bloating and gas. Bifidobacterium infantis on it's own, or the VSL 3 combination have had good trial results.

10. Can I take probiotics at the same time as antibiotics?
Yes, evidence shows that taking a probiotic at the same time as an antibiotic can reduce the incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. For the best results, take the probiotic at the opposite end of the day to the antibiotic. Where this is not possible, take the probiotic at least three hours after the antibiotic course.

11. Iím going on holiday, but regularly suffer from Travellerís Stomach. Will probiotics help?
Studies have shown that giving probiotics to travellers reduces the incidence of Travellerís Stomach, especially for those eating food in places where standards might not be as high as those in the UK.

12. I regularly suffer from yeast infections, such as Candida. Will probiotics help?
Evidence has shown that taking a probiotic supplement can help prevent recurrent yeast infections.

13. I suffer from eczema. Can I take probiotics?
Yes. Some studies have shown that taking a daily probiotic can reduce eczema symptoms.

14. I have a leaky gut. Can I take probiotics?
Yes. Probiotics have been shown to improve intestinal permeability and reduce inflammation in leaky gut patients.

15. Do all probiotics need to be refrigerated?
No, but you need to check the labels. Some probiotic bacteria and micro-organisms are specially coated during the manufacturing process to ensure they remain stable at room temperature, or are freeze dried and micro-encapsulated, meaning their contents are stable at room temperature.

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Probiotic Questions and Answers