You might’ve heard over the last few years recommendations to include yogurt and a balanced diet. Yogurt is a common source of probiotic bacteria. Recently in medical science we can understand the body as a biome. A biome is a naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat, in this case the human body. I recently had a patient return to clinic after being treated with antibiotics for skin infection. She reported not feeling well, having loose stools, and noticing a change in her complexion. She was seeking advice to help with resolution of her symptoms. I recommended starting a probiotic.

Probiotics are a colony of naturally occurring helpful bacteria that are native to our digestive tract. They account for almost 2 pounds of our body weight and number in the trillions. Probiotic bacteria aid with digestion and normal gastrointestinal. Along with these good bacteria are harmful bacteria that can cause illness. The ratio of helpful probiotic bacteria harmful bacteria is typically 9:1. Taking oral antibiotics can change the ratio of helpful to harmful bacteria. This causes some of the common symptoms associated with gastroenteritis like diarrhea, vomiting, and fevers. A proper ratio of probiotic bacteria to potentially harmful bacteria is also important to our immune health. Disturbances can even result in changes in complexion, development of cold-like symptoms, and unwanted changes in body weight.

Fortunately, probiotics are available in some common foods. Yogurt, Kiefer, kimchee, sauerkraut are all excellent sources of probiotics. There are also over-the-counter probiotic supplements. Over the next several weeks, after starting probiotics, my patient noticed amelioration of her symptoms. Especially with long course for antibiotics I make it a practice to prescribe probiotics. Don’t be discouraged when your doctor is reluctant to prescribe antibiotics when he or she feels they are not necessary. Take care of your biome and it will take care of you.