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Should You Be Taking Probiotics?

They’re not just trendy

 

Tashi-Delek/E+ via Getty Images

Probiotics are becoming more popular, popping up in commercials and a variety of products on store shelves. They are often touted as a way to reduce inflammation, stop diarrhea and help other digestive tract-related issues. So you might be wondering if these magical pills actually work — and if so, should you be taking them?

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First things first, you should know what probiotics actually are. There are plenty of bacteria present in the human digestive tract — some are good and some are bad. But you want to maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in order to have proper gut health. And while many foods can do this and help you reduce inflammation naturally, probiotics have similar effects.

Simply put, probiotics are healthy bacteria that you can ingest. They are typically recommended by specialists to treat things like irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal issues. They can also be recommended to postpone allergies in children and treat and prevent urinary tract infections.

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If you want to promote and maintain a balance of healthy or “good” bacteria in the gut, you can take probiotics after consulting with your doctor. But you don’t necessarily need to run to the store and buy a bottle of them. There are plenty of foods that can improve your gut health.