The term PROBIOTIC comes from Greek language meaning “for life."
What are probiotics anyhow?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system!
Why are they good for your health?
This gut flora is a major player of your immune system, which of course, is your body's natural defense system that keeps you healthy. 80 percent of your entire immune system is located in your digestive tract. THAT IS A HUGE PERCENTAGE!
One of the reasons why your gut has so much influence on your health has to do with the 100 trillion bacteria--about three pounds worth--that line your intestinal tract.
The bacteria in your bowels out number the cells in your body by a factor of 10 to 1!
Your gut or "microbiome" is a complex living system that actively protects your body from outside offenders.
Benefits of Probiotics:
1.) Inflammation: Probiotics have been shown to reduce systemic inflammation, a leading driver of many diseases
2.) Depression and anxiety: The probiotic strains Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum have been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in people with clinical depression
3.) Blood cholesterol: Several probiotics have been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol levels
4.) Blood pressure: Probiotics have also been shown to cause modest reductions in blood pressure
5.) Immune function: Several probiotic strains can enhance immune function and lead to reduced risk of infections, including the common cold
6.) Skin health: There is some evidence that probiotics can be useful for acne, rosacea and eczema, as well as other skin disorders
Different types of GOOD Bacteria:
These species are also the most studied of probiotics:
Bifidobacteria: This species of bacteria is commonly used in foods and supplements. They’re thought to:
support the immune system
limit the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestine
help in breaking down lactose into nutrients the body can use
Lactobacillus: This species of bacteria produces lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, or milk sugar. These bacteria also produce lactic acid. Lactic acid helps control the population of bad bacteria. It also serves as muscle fuel and increases the body’s absorption of minerals. Lactobacillus bacteria are found naturally in the:
The best source of probiotics comes from naturally fermented FOODS:
Aside from eating real food, which is the preferred method of providing your gut with good bacteria, there are probiotic supplements as well. Here are a few that I like or have heard great things about!
1.) Prescript Assist
2.) Silver Fern
3.) Mega SporBiotic
5.) BioDoph 7 Plus
Always consult your doctor or practitioner before taking any type of supplements!
Did you know that there are actually 2 types of probiotic supplements out there on the market?
TRANSIENT VS. NATIVE
Native probiotics tend to hang around the gut and provide maintenance, while the transient ones clean up house and exit the body after a certain amount of time. To find a perfect balance, I tend to switch back and forth between native and transient. Prescript-Assist is a broad-spectrum native formula that contains 29 different strains of beneficial microflora — not just one or two. That means it better reflects the great microbial diversity of the intestines vs typical probiotic products. This product can be strong and intense at first, so I suggest start out slow with just 1/4 of the capsule, then 1/2 and ultimately the full dose.
I also recommend switching your your transient probiotics as well, rotating every few months. The important thing here is to diversify your microbiome with a whole host of varied bacteria.
Can you take or eat TOO MANY Probiotics?
This is a common question that I get a lot. Yes of course. Haven't you ever heard of the saying "too much of a good thing?" While it is always possible to get much of anything, with probiotics this is pretty tough. If you are taking a high dose probiotic supplement like Prescript Assist and eating at least 1/2 a cup of fermented food or kombucha with every single meal, I would say maybe take it down a notch. I try and switch it up. If I take a supplement that day, I may only have a bite of sauerkraut or have 1/2 a kombucha. If I feel like eating more fermented food that day, I will forgo my daily supplement. This helps balance out the types of gut bacteria and helps your bank account. If you think you might be overdoing the good gut bugs, look for symptoms like bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort or less than pleasant bowel movements. Your body is pretty smart when it comes to telling you what it needs or doesn't need. "Go with your gut", but most likely from my experience and research, you are not going to overdose.
Make your own!
Ever tried to make your own SAUERKRAUT? It's easier than you think!
If you are not into making your own ferments.....my absolute favorite non-dairy probiotic yogurt is The Coconut Cult. I am not going to lie to you.....it's pricey at about $22 per jar! But you can use as little a few spoonfuls a day and it can last in your fridge for up to 5 weeks! With 800 billion highly active probiotics into every quart, it's unlike anything you have ever tasted. You can find them in various health stores around SouthernCalifornia. In San Diego, you can find them at Lazy Acres and because of yours truly, Jenson's in Point Loma! More stores coming soon!
Keep your gut healthy my friends!