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What on earth are Probiotics and do you need to take them?

What are Probiotics

What are ProbioticsI’ve heard people talk about Probiotics for years.  I bet you’ve seen them on the TV talking about yogurt that has this special stuff in it.  You might even have heard of Prebiotics as something slightly different.

The main thing I’d heard was that you should take them after antibiotics, but when I went to investigate I got very confused and ran away from the health food shop.

Then last year I met a lovely blogger at an awards ceremony (which you are welcome to vote for me again for *hint hint*), who mentioned how they had helped settle her son who has aspergers.  I mentioned that the big hairy northern one had just come of antibiotics due to having shingles, Curly Headed Boy sometimes seemed to get into a bit of a tizwaz and that I’d been having regular stomach cramps.  She immediately put me in touch with OptiBac on twitter.

I had a long chat with the OptiBac lady and she explained somethings that I didn’t know:

  • There are lots of types of Probiotics.  So you might need different ones, depending on your situation.
  • Probiotic yogurts have sugar in them, so are kind of counteracting the good they can do.

They kindly offered to send me enough for the whole family to try, and we then faffed around for a good few months before taking them.  Eventually my stomach cramps got so bad that I did start, and when there was an obvious change quite quickly I popped my son on them.  Within a month or so husband was taking them too.

So did they make a difference?

For me with my stomach cramps – YES.  It took about 3 months for a complete fix, but I noticed a difference immediately.  I reckon I must have had the beginnings of IBS (which I’ve had before) because I often had an upset stomach too.  When this stopped I realised I had to drink a lot more water, to not go the other way, so I must have been a bit dehydrated.  Very soon my tummy was behaving perfectly and I didn’t have to watch what I ate as much.  Also, I could now drink wine again – yay!!!  By the way, if you are an IBS sufferer, and also have PCOS and also sometimes get hyperglycaemic, that’s because they are inter-related.  Check out my ‘healthy eating for rubbish cooks‘ section for ideas on ways to eat which will help all three.

For Curly Headed Boy – I’m not sure.  But I would definitely give him these powders again after antibiotics.  He complained of stomach pains a few weeks ago, and literally a couple of weeks of the children’s powders seemed to have him back up to scratch.  It’s great that he didn’t mind the taste mixed in with orange juice.

For the Big Hairy Northern one – again I’m not sure, but would definitely give him them again after antibiotics.

BTW I lost lots of weight last year, but hurt my back and was worried about putting it back on.  I have a sneaky suspicion that the improvement in my gut is what enabled me to keep my weight sorted until I was back up to exercising again.  I can’t prove it, but my intuition suggests it might be good for anyone wanting to lose weight.  The hairy one has definitely lost weight over the last 2 months, and although he is (ATLAST!) following my tips, I do think that there could be a connection with the probiotics.  I don’t think he takes them reliably though.

Also I was watching the ‘Food Hospital’ on Channel 4 last year and they had an amazing case of a girl with Alopecia caused by stress (they said it could also be from lack of zinc or genetic causes), who after taking the Probiotics grew her hair back.  This is because there is a relationship between some kinds of stress and stomach problems.  Isn’t it fascinating that supporting the gut helped reduce her stress?  If you want to know what other supplements might work for you, I did a post here.

Ultimately, the final proof is that I’m now spending my hard earned cash, despite cutting costs, on buying my own.  Now here I’m going to admit something terrible.  After OptiBac being so kind, I was then really lazy and bought my second pack from the health food shop who didn’t have OptiBac.  But I got my own just desserts as my stomach cramps came back.  Shhhh, don’t tell them!

Obtibac probiotics are available from them or super drug and there is tonnes of much more in-depth information on their site for you including research on how it has helped with reducing childhood infections, constipation, eczema, food intolerances, weight loss, and stress mgmt.  They have different ones for:

  • Daily well being
  • Daily well being extra strength
  • Daily immunity
  • Flat stomach (you know that bloated feeling!)
  • After antibiotics
  • Travelling abroad
  • Maintaining regularity
  • Childs health

Have you ever taken probiotics, I’d love to know what you think?


Disclaimer: I received a bottle for me, my husband and a packet of children’s probiotics from OptiBac, but no financial payment.  I’ve waited a long time before doing this review, so that I could really be sure how it had helped my family.  Luckily, they were very patient; in fact they didn’t actually request a review or demand that I did one in return for the products.


15 thoughts on “What on earth are Probiotics and do you need to take them?

  1. Hi Lisa,
    Yes I take them and Optibac are good indeed.

    They flatten my stomach when or if bloated and if there is ever tummy upset I head straight for probiotic before all else.

    Which reminds me with all the fabulous cakes here in Italy and the Latte Lifestyle I must get myself some delivered! hehe!

    Happy Easter GX

  2. Hi Lisa this is really interesting, I’m definitely going to have a look at their site but not before I read your other post about supplements and have a better look at your blog in general! Charlotte x

  3. Great – let me know what you think, you really got me thinking with your post about whether the vitamins I take are organic or not!

  4. I take probiotics everyday & have done for years. I find it helps with immune system too. I take it in supplement form as the drinks & yoghurts are such a small amount of the good stuff that it hardly seems worth it. Also all of these things have aspartame (artificial sweetener) in it that I am intolerant too! It’s interesting to read your post about how beneficial it’s been to you.

    1. Thanks MummysKnee – nice to hear from someone else who agrees that the yogurts aren’t as good as the pills!

  5. I’ve just placed an order for some of these probiotic tablets. I had IBS ages ago and thought it had gone away, but things seem to have flared up again after a recent stomach bug.
    I’ll report back on how I get on with them.

  6. @minibreakmummy ooh do let me know how it goes. It might take a couple of months, although I noticed the pain receded straight away. I was very ‘windy’ for a couple of months as they did their magic, and then everything settled down nicely.

    1. Thanks for your comment @outdoorfitness – funnily enough I mentioned it to my doctor the other day and he was like ‘huh’? I thought everyone knew that doctoring originated with nutrition, but obviously not ;o)

  7. I have been told to try optibac by my doc as I was still getting pain in my stomach. Are these capsules worth the money? I paid £10.50 for a box of 30.

    If I start taking these will it be for life? £130.00 a year is quite expensive for someone who doesn’t work.

    I’ve put them aside for the time being until I can did it cheaper somewhere else. Thank you

    1. Hi Peter, without more information about what is causing your stomach issues, I can’t answer this question. I would not be without my probiotics. But I am taking steps to resolve the physical issues and stresses that cause my problem. I’ve also tackled my diet. I can see a future without them, but only with another adjustment on my diet and more work on the other issues.
      The question is, how big is your problem? If it’s painful enough and effects the quality of your life enough, then it’s worth it.
      I also don’t know why you aren’t working and wether with other lifestyle issues this could change, in which case the probiotics would be worth it.
      There is no point in taking cheap probiotics – they would be a waste of money. Optibac are very affordable, there are much more expensive versions.
      Good luck with your decision, you have an unusually wise Dr, which is great.

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