While some bacteria are bad for us — think e. coli — other bacteria are very good for us. Inside our bodies these good bacteria help keep the bad guys' numbers down. "Friendly" bacteria, or "probiotics," are found in the active cultures of yogurt and other fermented dairy products and are also sold in supplement form. Some research has shown that probiotics may help prevent and treat yeast infections — which high blood sugars can trigger — and they may also boost immunity, alleviate inflammation, aid in the treatment of diarrhea, and mitigate hypersensitivities such as food allergies and skin conditions.
In addition to all that, probiotics are gaining popularity in the medical community as an adjunct treatment to antibiotics. Probiotics can help offset some of the side effects of antibiotics by repopulating the digestive tract with the healthy bacteria the drugs destroy. In a recent press release, Benjamin Kligler, M.D., associate professor of clinical family and social medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University, said, "With the level of evidence that probiotics work, we see no good reason not to prescribe probiotics when prescribing antibiotics. The only drawback is that probiotics are not covered by health insurance."
Diabetes adds a layer of complication to even the most common medical problems, and the right defense can make all the difference in your recovery. You can find probiotics in the supplements section of your grocery store, health food store, or pharmacy. To get the most out of your yogurt, look for a statement on the package indicating that the product "contains live and active cultures."
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My diabetes is changing. Until a few years ago, my morning readings were reasonable and within the desired range of under 100 mg/dl. About two years ago, they started slipping upwards into the less-desirable but apparently not-worrisome range of 100-110 mg/dl. Now, this was what was recorded by my Abbott Freestyle Lite meter, which is known to record at the lower end of the home-glucometer variability range, but with my A1c firmly in the high 5s and low 6s, the meter's tendency to...