Meghan Tiernan (MS, RD, LDN) is a registered dietitian with a passion for helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle. She strives to help others learn the most nutritious way to eat, in order to achieve good health. Meghan enjoys cooking and running and believes that with just some basic knowledge, you can gain the confidence in yourself to know that you can eat well.

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Dietitian Consult

by Meghan Tiernan, MS, RD, LDN

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I was talking to my sister the other day and she was talking about some recent stomach issues. It occurred to me that my response to most people that ever discuss these issues is usually the same: "Try taking probiotics." Before trying some intense elimination diet or cutting out entire food groups from your diet, try probiotics.

Probiotics "improve digestive function, help with side effects of antibiotic therapy, help reduce the risk of certain acute common infectious diseases, improve tolerance to lactose and enhance immune function." (source)

Your gut is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Those good bacteria help you digest food as well as boost your immune system. Probiotics are a supplemental good bacteria that occur naturally in some foods such as yogurt, sour cream, tempeh and miso, but can also be taken in pill form. They come in many different strains to tackle different GI issues.

Generally speaking, there aren't any downsides to taking probiotics. Even if you're not having any specific symptoms, it's still not a bad idea to take them. If you're not sure if it's the right choice for you, definitely check with your primary care doctor before starting them to make sure there's no reason not to.

If you have any questions about which strain to take to help with your specific issue, let me know and I can let you know which strain you should try. If you're not sure, just start by having that daily yogurt. It doesn't have to be any special brand, all of them contain good amounts of probiotics.

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