DO WE NEED PROBIOTICS?
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria that line your digestive tract and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection. The term probiotic comes from the Latin word pro and the Greek word bio and literally means ‘’for life’’.
As the World Health Organization defines probiotics ‘’live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host’’.
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) state that probiotics are ‘’live microorganisms (in most cases, bacteria) that are similar to beneficial microorganisms found in the human gut.”
Did you know that 70-80% of your immune system is located in your digestive tract? With that in mind, you can see why your gut health can have such a major influence on your overall health.
What is the history behind probiotics?
The concept behind probiotics was introduced in the early 20th century, when Nobel laureate Elie Metchnikoff, known as the “father of probiotics,” proposed that consuming beneficial microorganisms could improve people’s health. Researchers continued to investigate this idea, and the term “probiotics” – meaning “for life” -eventually came into use.
What are their benefits?
Probiotics benefits are some of the most widely researched natural solutions to gut health. Research behind probiotics have observed the many benefits of probiotics for not just the gut, but for the entire body.
Probiotics benefits have been proven effective in supporting immune function, reducing inflammation, promoting healthy digestion, as well as maintaining beautiful skin, especially when combined with prebiotics.
The World Health Organization studies have shown that antibiotic resistance is ‘’one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development today’’. Bacteria become resistant to antibiotics due to the overuse of prescription antibiotics (eradicating large amounts of our microbiome), lack of diversity in these medications and improper use of antibiotics.
The use of a good quality probiotic supplement will help to reconstitute the gut flora which would normally be eradicated with antibiotics, other medications and poor diet.
Are there different types?
There are many different types of probiotics of different qualities and strengths. When you go to look at a supplement label, you will find the genus, species, strains and CFUs (colony forming units). Taking a multi-strain probiotic is critical to repopulating the gut properly – purchase one with different types of bacteria as they all work synergistically in the gut – here are some different strains that you will normally find:
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Bifidobacterium breve
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Lactobacillus casei
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus
- Lactobacillus brevis
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus
- Bacillus subtilis
- Bacilus coagulans
- Saccharomyces boulardii
Probiotics are sensitive to heat (which can kill them) and need to be stored in a cool place such as a refrigerator.
Different health issues require different amounts of CFUs. If you are struggling with constipation, you will want to be taking around 20 billion daily. If your digestive issues are even more severe, you will something like 100-200 billion daily. It is best to consult with your health practitioner here.
At the Da Vinci Natural Health Center we use the PROBIO PLUS (4 billion bacteria), the SUPER PROBIO (20 billion bacteria), and the top-of-the-line probiotic is the ACIDOPHILUS and BIFIDUS (60 Billion bacteria) – these have been tried and tested by practitioner who report good success with their clients.