Ask Dr. John


Linda writes: "What are probiotics?"

Probiotics are a form of good bacteria that help our digestive system do its job. They also help protect it from some of the "bad" bacteria that lies around our intestinal system. They are found in plenty of food sources with the main one being yogurt and as supplements in other food products. They mainly help treat diarrhea, prevent urinary tract infection and possibly even help with eczema in children. Since probiotics are a version of the type of "good" bacteria already present in our intestinal system, they are considered safe.

Roy from Black Forest: "Does coffee dehydrate you?"

Surprisingly, the answer is no, at least in most cases. For years we've all heard that coffee, or any caffeinated drink for that matter, can dehydrate you. The thinking was that the caffeine acted as a diuretic, causing you to urinate more than you drank in. But new research is showing that in most cases that just isn't true. It turns out you don't urinate any more with a cup of coffee than you do with a glass of water. But if you noticed in my opening line, I said in most cases. If you dink more than 4 cups a day, then coffee can start to become more of a diuretic and that can get you a little dehydrated. So, like everything else I talk about, "Everything In Moderation" is the key to coffee drinking as well.

Christy from Cotopaxi: "I have loved eggs all my life. For the past three years, I have not been able to eat them without having severe stomach cramps or feelings of severe indigestion or heart burn. However, I can eat rich and spicy foods with no affect. Can you explain this?"

A few things could be going on here. One condition to thing about is GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. When this happens, stomach acid escapes your stomach and floats up your esophagus, or feeding tube. This can cause heartburn and stomach pains. But, since you can eat spicy foods without any problem, this is less likely to be the cause. The same goes for ulcers, especially since spicy foods tend to cause them to flair up as well. Since this only seems to happen when you eat eggs, it's possible you're allergic to them. Even though you were able to eat them without a problem until just a few years ago, we can develop allergies anytime in our lives. It's possible that you have developed one to eggs. An allergist can test you to find out if this is the culprit.

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