Getting to Know Your Probiotics
The benefits of probiotics have become widely known in recent years, but did you know that those friendly bacteria need to be fed?
That’s where PRE biotics come in. Prebiotics are a specialized plant fiber that act as a fertilizer helping the good bacteria grow and thrive, improving the good-to-bad bacteria ratio.
Choosing a Probiotic
Quality vs. Quantity is important when it comes to probiotics. It’s not the total number of bacteria in a product that’s most important; it’s the number of different strains of bacteria it includes. Because different strains have different functions and are concentrated in various places along the digestive tract, probiotic supplements that contain multiple strains are more effective than products containing an extremely high concentration of just one or two strains. A great example of this is BioActive Nutrients Strawberry Chewable Probiotic Supplements which contains 7 different strains.
Old fashioned probiotic products usually provided one or two types of bacteria in very small amounts. Today, we have over a half-dozen superstar bacteria that are known for an array of benefits.
L acidophilus – Most well-known probiotic known. Means “acid-loving”. Produces Vitamin K and lactase, which helps to break down lactose in dairy. Has been recommended for vaginal yeast infections.
B bifidum – The most common kind of good guy bacteria found in the body, bifidum resides mostly in the lower intestines, the vagina, and even in breast milk. Superstar against Candida yeast. Fights inflammation and diarrhea, and may help reduce allergic symptoms.
L rhamnosus – Is found in the mouth, intestinal tract, vagina, and urinary tract of healthy individuals. It is so hearty that it can actually resist certain antibiotic assaults. Studies suggest possible benefits for anxiety, weight, diabetes, as well as tummy issues.
L casei – Lives in the mouth and intestines. It makes substances that lower pH and fights harmful bacteria. It can support gastrointestinal health, help protect the immune system, and enhance digestion.
L fermentum – A very hardy bacterium that primarily resides in the GI tract, mouth, and vagina. Reportedly helps promote proper digestion, helps protect the urogenital tract from some infectious organisms, and may even play a role in reducing respiratory challenges.
L plantarum – Commonly fermented in sauerkraut and vegetables, L plantarum helps to create a physical barrier on your colon that can keep dangerous bacteria from penetrating and entering the blood stream. Therefore, the issues doctors most often use plantarum for relate to the colon, such as irritable feelings in the bowel, and the prevention of yeast overgrowth following a round of antibiotics.
L reuteri – (pronounced “roy-ter-eye”), this is one of the more recently-discovered strains for human health and was found to be particularly helpful for infants who suffered from debilitating GI tract issues. Later, scientists showed that it also directly affects the immune system, cholesterol levels, vaginal health, and urinary tract health.