TRENDS : Probiotics
Written by Kanika Kohli | Reviewed by Adiana Castro, MS, RDN, CDN, CLT
Probiotics are the good bacteria that line our digestive tract and are known to be beneficial for the body. You will be surprised to know that we have 10 times more probiotics in our gut than our own cells.
Role of probiotics in body
- Probiotics play an important role in digestion - they aide in digestion of fiber and other components of food that our stomach and small intestine are unable to digest thereby ensuring that nutrients from food get absorbed properly.
- Probiotics synthesize vitamins that we may not be getting enough of from our food (Vitamin K and some B vitamins).
- Probiotics release potentially beneficial chemicals in food, such as isothiocyanate in cooked broccoli that may help prevent cancer.
- Probiotics stimulate the immune system and suppress microorganisms that cause food poisoning (keeps bad bacteria in check).
New research shows that having a daily probiotic supplement is more important than a daily multivitamin supplement. 80% of our immune system is located in our gut and digestive system and probiotics play an important role in keeping them healthy.
Many Americans may have a probiotic deficiency that may lead to leaky gut. Leaky gut causes poor absorption of nutrients from food and is associated with a range of issues such as food sensitivities, digestive issues (bloating, gas and constipation), sugar cravings, candida, fatigue, skin issues (blemishes, flaking skin or age spots), mood swings and joint issues.
Major causes of probiotic deficiency
- Prescription antibiotics
- Overconsumption of sugar
- GMO foods
- Emotional stress
- Exposure to toxins and pesticides
The good news is that taking probiotic supplements can aid in healing leaky gut and help improve the levels of good bacteria in the gut. However you need to make sure that you choose wisely as most probiotic supplements in the market are ineffective.
Five Criterion to keep in mind when choosing a probiotic supplement
- Soil Based Organism and shelf stable – make sure the probiotic supplement has soil based probiotics and is shelf stable
- High Colony Forming Unit (CFU) Count – purchase a probiotic brand that has higher number of probiotic from 25 billion to 50 billion
- Multiple Strain – Not all strains of probiotic bacteria are crested equal - some strains support immunity, while others support digestion and some may help balance hormones or help burn fat. Therefore consuming a wide range of probiotics is the key. Try to pick probiotic supplement that has 5 or more strains.
- Survivability – look for strains like bacillus coagulans, saccharomyces boulardii, bacillus subtilis, bifidobacterium and other cultures or formulas that ensure that the probiotics make it to the gut and are able to colonize.
- Prebiotics – probiotics are the food for probiotics so to support the growth of probiotics once they get into your system it is essential that prebiotics are also included in the formula
Examples of probiotic supplement that meet the above criterion
- Axe naturals - Live probiotics (50 billion)
- Garden of life raw probiotics colon care (50 billion)
- Healthy origins natural probiotic ( 25+ billion)
- Klaire Labs - Ther-biotic complete (25+ billion)
- Udo`s - super 8 Hi potency probiotic (42 billion)
- Nature`s way - Primadophilus intensive (100 Billion)
- Healthy Origins 30 billion