Probiotic 101

Probiotic 101

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True or False: All bacteria are bad for you.

False! Simply put, there are two types of bacteria found in/on the human body-pathogens (disease causing) and probiotics (life promoting/friendly). In the large and small intestine, probiotics (also known as Flora or beneficial bacteria) and pathogens wage war(s) against each by either improving (probiotics) or destroying (pathogens) your health. Without enough of these friendly bacteria in your intestinal tract, you will leave yourself open up to major health issues.

True or False: Probiotics are just for digesting my foods.

False! Probiotic bacteria provide an abundance of benefits to your body besides assisting the body in digesting your foods. Probiotics:

  • Assist in the production and absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream
  • Form a barrier against harmful bacteria that can cause diarrhea
  • Manufacture food for your intestinal cells so they can function optimally
  • Help prevent harmful bacteria from causing damage
  • Prevent symptoms caused by use of antibiotics, which can destroy the majority of the friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract.

What does this mean for your health?

Considering probiotics affect the digestion and absorption of nutrients into the body, I believe probiotics have an impact on ALL health conditions. Having said this, there are specific health conditions that will benefit greatly by having a healthy balance of Probiotics. Here is a brief list:

  • Enhanced Immune Function
    • Support overall Immune function
    • Inhibition of Cancer
    • Prevention and elimination of Yeast Infections(Acute/Chronic)
    • Protect against harmful bacteria, yeast or fungi growth
    • Protection against HPV
  • Improved Cardiovascular Health
    • Lower Cholesterol
    • Blood Pressure
  • Help to re-balance the microflora disrupted by stress such as:
    • Travel related digestive disorders
      • Loss appetites
      • Constipation
      • Diarrhea
    • Separation anxiety related digestive disorders
    • Antibiotics induced digestive disorders
  • Protection against Food Poisoning
    • E. coli as an example
  • Improvement in Digestion and Digestive Tract Disorders
    • Protect against Stomach Ulcers
      • Inhibits H. pylori
    • Constipation
    • Crohn’s disease
    • Decrease lactose intolerance
    • Ulcerative colitis
    • Canker sores
    • GERD/Acid Reflux
    • Colic
    • IBS
    • Diarrhea
      • Antibiotic induced
      • Rotaviral
      • Traveler’s
      • General
  • Improve skin appearance
    • Eczema
    • Acne
    • Psoriasis
  • Decreased Food allergies
    • Food allergies are linked to conditions such as:
      • Arthritis
      • ADD/ADHD
      • Depression
      • Hay Fever
      • Asthma

Maybe this list isn’t brief, but it does drive home the importance of taking a probiotic. Too often we look to modern medicine to be the answer and sometimes just by supporting the body’s natural function-with a probiotic in this case-your condition will resolve itself. Probiotics aren’t a cure-all, but if taken on a regular basis can be a huge step in the right direction.

True or False: Probiotics are just for sick people

False!!! Probiotics not only provide benefits for those who have one of the health issues above, but also help prevent these health issues as well as others. Remember, probiotics can have a huge impact on ALL health issues because of their digestive support alone. In addition to this reasoning, there are many contributing factors to why we need to supplement on a daily basis. One is age. It is estimated that the level of probiotics declines 1000 times by the time we reach 65. Not only does age play a role in the decline but here are a few more:

  • Use of drugs i.e. Antibiotics, steroids, NSAIDS (ibuprofen, aspirin, etc.) antacids, hormones and gastric acid inhibitors
    • Antibiotics (both medicinal and in our food supply) are the #1 culprit in the overgrowth of HARMFUL pathogens in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Drinking chlorinated water (most community water supplies contain chlorine)
  • Radiation and chemotherapy
  • Constipation
  • A diet high in fat and low in fiber
  • Travel abroad (especially to developing countries)
  • Dining out
  • Cigarettes and alcohol use
  • Drinking contaminated water
  • Eating foods that are not organically grown
  • Virtually all meat and chicken and dairy that you eat (other than organic) are loaded with antibiotics, which destroy the beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.

As you can see, there are many lifestyle choices we make which will impact the amount of beneficial bacteria we have in our digestive tract. It is for these reasons that I personally use and recommend that we ALL use a probiotic on a daily basis. 

True or False: I can get sufficient amounts of probiotics from my foods-like yogurt.

False! There are foods, which contain beneficial bacteria, regretfully most have very low amounts of bacteria. Add in that most food products are processed too much or the bacteria are added after production makes these bacteria less viable an virtually ineffective. Including probiotics in your daily diet is not harmful and can be supportive, but to truly get the health benefits you need it is necessary to take a supplement.

True or False: All probiotics are created equal.

False! We could spend days discussing this statement alone. Regretfully there are several factors that come into play when deciding on which probiotic is right for you. Here are a few things you should consider:

  1. High Potency Formula

The product contains billions of live probiotic cells per serving. Having billions of cells per serving will assure you that your getting the benefits your are seeking. This is especially important in formulations that do not bypass stomach acid. Your stomach acid is there by design-to help with digesting your food and to protect your body from yeast, fungus, parasites and disease causing bacteria that might be in or on your food.

  1. Survival

Probiotics need to be able to survive their trip through the stomach and arrive in the small intestine unharmed. One in particular Pediococcus acidilactici NNRL B-50517 (PA5051) is a patented probiotic that has shown to survive in the acid environment of the stomach, is Non-GMO and does not require refrigeration. Research has shown that this specific beneficial bacterium is stable at high temperatures too. This would be a great addition to your supplement program due to all of these factors.

  1. Scientifically researched

In keeping with my comments above about PA5051 , this same bacteria strain is patented and well researched for its health benefits, safety, survival and potency. Scientific validation is a critical factor in why I like particular ingredients and with this probiotic there are numerous studies and clinical trials.

  1. Fit for Human consumption

Just because a probiotic is a bacteria (or yeast in some cases) doesn’t mean it should be consumed. In the case PA5051 since it is a second generation, plant based bacteria and we and even animals are designed to eat plants, this is a good fit

Final Thoughts

As mentioned above, there are too many potential health challenges which can arise from low levels of probiotics in your intestines. Many of the contributing factors leading to this decline are virtually impossible to eliminate from our daily lives. Without addressing the decline daily and at all ages, we are opening the door to poor health. Probiotics might be small, but they pack a powerful punch towards fighting off disease. Whether you are young in age or young at heart, taking a probiotic daily is an important way to positively impact your health.

 

*I am a consultant to Imagilin Technologies to provide educational services on the benefits of probiotics and their impact on health. They are the manufacturers of NNRL B-50517.