Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that work symbiotically with your body to maintain your physical and emotional health. Natural sources of probiotics include fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, but the most important source was the transfer from your mother to you at birth.

We’re just beginning to understand the importance of specific bacteria for specific health concerns. Some of the benefits of probiotics that have been identified include improvements to your digestive function and comfort, support for good colon health, and the manufacture, synthesis, or absorption of vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, the bacteria you have influence your weight.

Probiotics also have important implications for your immune system. Encouraging the growth of healthy bacteria crowds out the dangerous bacteria that makes you sick. Healthy bacteria can also decrease allergies and strengthen immune function.

Antibacterial products dangerous

baby in a tub of bubbles
The chemical companies want you to believe that antibacterial hand soaps are better than plain soap. This belongs in the Hall of Shame, alongside “Fat, eggs, and cholesterol are all bad for you.” How are antibacterial soaps so not better than plain soap? Unlike antibacterial soap, plain soap doesn’t increase the risk of infections Unlike […]

Probiotics, Gut, and Mood

20160229 gut and mood shutterstock_181673876
We often laugh about the foolish things the ancients believed. Especially when it comes to medicine. Balancing biles? Bleeding with leeches? Driving out evil spirits? It all seems so medieval. Still, some of our most colorful language comes from those ancient practices—like “biting the bullet” (which you’d do before the days of anesthesia), or saying […]

Antibiotics alternatives for cold and flu

20151214 cold antibiotics shutterstock_227037322
I like the way one writer puts it: “For the love of God, people, stop taking antibiotics for colds.” I’ll add, with equal passion: Fellow physicians, stop prescribing antibiotics for colds! And, cold and flu sufferers, stop asking your doctor for antibiotics. Antibiotics are among the most over-prescribed medications we’ve got. Yet they should be […]

Asthma and the Hygiene Hypothesis

20151028 asthma microbiome shutterstock_174201476
Quick—what’s the first thing you think of when I say “bacteria?” If it’s, “Bacteria, ick! Must wash hands,” you would be wrong on two counts: While some bacteria are indeed icky, even dangerous, our health is hugely dependent on “good,” or “friendly” bacteria, called probiotics, that live in our gut, or biome. Recent research is […]

Antibiotic use increases diabetes risk

20151023 antibiotics diabetes shutterstock_89784175
How many times do I have to wave this flag? Antibiotics can be hazardous to your health. Researchers in Denmark have just shined new light on this warning—by finding a link between antibiotics use and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. I’ve been saying forever that antibiotics wreak havoc in your gut, wiping out […]

New Proton Pump Inhibitor Danger

20150729 ppi heart shutterstock_267230012
I know sometimes it sounds like I’m forever tangling with the medical establishment. But I truly believe that, the majority of the time, what our physicians, pharmacists and care staff do improves and saves lives by the hundreds of thousands, with often-miraculous interventions. On the other hand… One of our most common diseases has been […]

Healthy Microbiome Protects Against Deadly Disease

happy microbes
The virus you’ll want to catch When listening to the mainstream medical world, it probably sounds like everything microbial is out to get us. Our soaps come with “antibacterial” and “antimicrobial” stickers colorfully blazing away. More than one diet aims to flush out our systems, ridding us of outside invaders. And there are few words […]

New Drug May Cure Antibiotic Resistant Infections

washing an apple
If you’ve been following the news stories about antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” you’re right to be worried. I’m worried, too. The superbugs are killer bacteria—pneumonia, tuberculosis, venereal disease, staph infections, and more. They were once all but eliminated by antibiotics, but the “bugs” have become increasingly immune to them. Millions of lives are at stake, here in […]

Probiotics Supercharge Immunity

An outbreak of mumps in the National Hockey League (NHL) made headlines recently. Mumps?  The childhood disease?  In the NHL? Big, strong, healthy men? Yes. A review of research, new and old, pulls it together: elite athletes, like those in the NHL, endure punishing competition and demanding workouts for months on end.  While exercise, of […]

Kidney Disease in Older Patients

Woman swimming
I’m seeing a worrisome trend in my older patients.  More and more of them are coming to me with back pain—that isn’t about their back. Yes, their back IS where the pain is. But no, it’s not always a back problem. It may be much more serious—kidney disease. Our kidneys separate and eliminate the waste […]

Get Your FREE Subscription to
Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy's Health News E-letter