Health & Wellness

Colorado Health & Wellness | Spring 2016

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Health and Wellness Magazine • 45 Probiotic Uses Carreira recommends probiotic supplements in limited circumstances – when a person has ulcerative colitis, pouchitis, C. diff infections or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a digestive disorder now afflicting about 11 percent of the population. "For everyone else, probiotic supplements are not likely going to hurt you, but they may not help you either," says Carreira. "And, they're not cheap." Professor Tiffany Weir, from Colorado State University's Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, agrees probiotics can help those with gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea and constipation. Probiotics can also help restore good bacteria after disruptions to the gut, she says, citing such examples as acute bouts of diarrhea, extreme diet changes, antibiotic use and colonics. Probiotics can also be used as a preventive measure for those traveling to places where there is a high risk of infectious diarrhea. But other experts are not as leery as Weir and Carreira when it comes to using probiotics for general health on a daily basis. "Our modern lifestyle is impacting our bacteria and our health," says Jonathan Clinthorne, a nutrition education specialist with Natural Grocers who has studied gut bacteria and has a doctorate in human nutrition. "All of us have gut disruptions, and most could benefit from probiotics." by Andrea Juarez PROBIOTIC USE REMEDY OR FAD? Specialists Offer Insight Into Growing Probiotic Trend A mammoth amount of research in recent years links probiotics to a variety of health improvements, from digestive issues to appetite suppression. Yet, health experts have mixed opinions about whether and when probiotic supplements are truly beneficial. "There's a lot of hogwash out there," says Dr. Fernando Carreira, a gastroenterologist with South Denver Gastroenterology. He and his colleagues take a judicious approach to probiotics. "Yes, there's a lot of data but, unfortunately, many are not great studies. We need more and better research."

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