The intestines are home to many kinds of friendly bacteria which have a symbiotic relationship with the body, protecting it from disease. These probiotics inhibit harmful bacteria in numerous ways. Deficiency usually occurs because of antibiotic treatment for an infection, treatment which kills not only the harmful bacteria, but the good bacteria as well. Most symptoms are gastrointestinal.
Sources of Probiotics
Probiotics occur in fermented food such as yogurt, some types of cheese, tempeh and miso. Probiotic supplements also are available for people who may have a deficiency.
Digestive problems are the main probiotic deficiency symptoms. Frequent indigestion, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, gas and nausea all can indicate probiotic deficiency.
People with inflammatory bowel syndrome often have a probiotic deficiency, and several studies have shown the effectiveness of probiotic therapy in treating IBS. Physicians made several relevant presentations at the Digestive Disease Week conference in 2003 (see Resources).
People with probiotic deficiency can also develop lactose intolerance, or food sensitivities which cause rashes.
Other probiotic deficiency symptoms include yeast infections, urinary tract infections or fungal infections such as athlete's foot, indicating a lack of friendly bacteria.