Monday, November 29, 2010

Mae: Align is (my) miracle

As you can probably tell, I have an interest in the health sciences, and I frequently scour the medical literature for the latest and greatest in weight loss. I have always embraced complementary medicine, and have seen natruapathic and homeopathic practitioners on and off throughout my life. This happened in part because I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome in 1996 and given a prescription for Cholestyramine (even saying it in my head makes me urge a little; it was the most disgusting thing I've ever had to take). Think of Metamucil, only a gazillion times worse. I searched for an alternative, and through diet and homeopathic remedies, I was able to rid this pasty, orange medicine from my daily routine.

One lesson that I learned from every complementary medical practitioner that I've seen is that the importance of probiotics in our diets cannot be overstated. I remember one person told me that ... "it's not clean underwear that we need to be worried about in case we get hit by a bus, it's whether or not you've taken your probiotics!" Okay, he was kind of kooky.

I take probiotics daily, but I've started finding more and more literature questioning the link between probiotic intake and weight loss. Probiotics set up a healthy bacterial environment in your digestive system which can in turn aid in increased mineral absorption, lower blood cholesterol, lower blood pressure, decrease inflammation, and on and on. Probiotics have become popular lately, and you'll find it in a lot of fermented products like yogurt, but the levels are not high enough (for me, anyway). But the idea is that it helps keep the machinery down there in good working order, and as we all know, having good machinery that aids in the elimination of waste from our bodies is good stuff for weight loss. When things aren't in order, and I have an IBS attack, I can get so bloaty that I can't wear my rings. This is usually brought on by stress, and I have been like this for the last three weeks or so (this week feeling much better).

Enter: my own personal miracle. I discovered (by reading the aforementioned literature) that there is one specific strain of bifantis (a probiotic) that supposedly aids in weight loss and helps reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome: B. infantis 35624. To my knowledge, this is only sold as Align, and only sold in the U.S. I have been taking it for almost two months now, and cannot tell you what a difference it has made to my life. There are days when I'm at work that I'm in so much pain that I almost feel like I need to go home, and this is usually brought on by eating (so around 2 p.m. it starts setting in). I have not had this happen ONCE in the last month and a half. If you're not convinced, read some of the comments at Amazon. Align has had a very real impact on my quality of life, and for that, I am so incredibly grateful. Maybe I should buy shares in this company . . . ; )

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