Before you run into the store to buy a probiotic for that yucky stomach bug, make sure you know what makes a good and effective probiotic. We prefer them in powder form. These are easier to mix with yogurt, water, or juice. Powder ones are specially easy for the kids to take.
Simply put: they work! Probiotics help fend off the stomach flu, aka stomach bug,aka gastroenteritis!
As most everyone on the planet, I have dealt with gastroenteritis way too many times without conventional or common treatments working at all.
Being too sick to get out of bed and not able to eat anything is impossible when you have toddlers at home. You need it gone and done!
Three Things Your Body Needs to Heal
After much research, I found that your gut needs three things to heal quickly: rest, fluids, and probiotics. With these tools, your body can heal itself. I was up and going in a few hours.
As we mentioned in a previous post, getting fluids restored to our bodies is essential. I hydrated with alkaline water in small sips so as not to provoke any nausea. Chamomile or ginger teas both are excellent to calm down the cramping and bloating. Also, no food for a few hours and then eat easily digestible foods which DO NOT include bread, sugar or citrus fruits. (More on this in a future post)
Then, I took probiotics to get rid of the bad guys and their byproducts! With any infection the gut gets ‘cleaned out’ of the good guys. The effective way to get your system back in balance and restore your gut flora and keep parasites and viruses in check is to restore your good bacteria.
Which probiotics work?
There has been much debate on whether probiotics really do work and which ones are worth the bucks. Which ones do you buy the $9.99 unrefrigerated store brand or the $45.00 bottle in the fridge section?
A good rule of thumb is at least get the ones that are kept in the fridge section of the store. Any live-foods you buy, usually need refrigeration, right? These are live bacteria, so they probably need it too. They also need to have large enough numbers of bacteria to make a noticeable difference in the gut.
Numbers & Strains Matter
According to DR. J.E. WILLIAMS, OMD, FAAIM, you need on average, at least 5 billion active organisms. “However, if your gut has low of good gut flora (determined by stool testing), you need more – at least 25 billion, twice daily.” When starting a good probiotic, start in small doses so that your body has time to get used to it.
Also, look at the labels to see how many different strains the probiotic carries. Different strains have different purposes and some help the gut, some help the skin, some help recover from the flu. In fact, according to microbiologist Gregory Reid, for the flu, you need the strain called: S. cerevisiae boulardii. In studies, it shows helping cure intestinal infections or at least shorten their duration.
The brand we found works great carries 30+ different strains of probiotics and around 85 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) per serving. The company guarantees the bottles are refrigerated from their warehouse to the store (of course you hope the store follows their guidelines to refrigerate immediately). These probiotics are made from all natural, organic sources: organic mild from pasture-fed cows, cultured organic whole foods. There are gluten free probiotics!
Although there is no such medical term as “stomach flu,” the unpleasant effects of gastroenteritis are well known under that name. We all, unfortunately, have experienced these at some point in time.
Here is what found to work for our family.
The best prevention for any illness is taking these simple steps:
Wash, wash, wash!
We wash our hands with soap (no need for antibacterial soap) in running water, rubbing for at least 20 seconds.
We wash our hands before eating.
We wash our hands after using the restroom.
We eat a well-balanced diet. BTW, a good diet can not include sodas ; )
We eat lots of garlic and onions.
* A side note: when we did get the flu (only one time the whole year!) we healed in a few hours following the treatment below.
Healing from gastro aka stomach flu
When we started feeling ‘yucky’ and got those bad stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting, we tackled the stomach bug right away.
First,I let my tummy rest – no food at all. After all, who wants to eat right after vomiting?
Then, I took probiotics every couple of hours (I only ended up taking it three times that morning). The diarrhea ceased but I still had cramping and a headache.
A headache meant I was dehydrated so I took plenty of water with a bit of baking soda to alkalinize my body so it can kill the bug. I had to do sips throughout the morning.
To get rid of the cramping, I took ginger tea. No honey or sweeteners. Trust me; the last thing you want to do is feed the bug with sugar! I let it steep for at least 10 minutes. The stronger… the better!
By the afternoon, I was able to eat a light lunch and had no symptoms; except, I was tired from a restless night. By dinner, I had soup and another ginger tea. I took my next probiotic dose the following day.
Thanks to healing so quickly, I was able to care for the family. Since I suspected they might be coming down with the flu; I gave them whole food vitamins and probiotics throughout the day. The ones that took it had a stomachache but no other symptoms. With the tea, the ache went away. Viola!
To summarize: I took probiotics, alkaline water, ginger tea.
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