Probiotics have become pretty mainstream now. New food products emerge on grocery store shelves every week with at least some kind of probiotic ingredient and we’re not just talking about yoghurt anymore. They seem to be one of those things we know “we’re supposed to like”. But why?
First, bear in mind that in addition to the word ‘probiotics’ they can be called many different names, which you’ll probably see in health literature or product labels. These other terms include Microflora, Beneficial Bacteria and Intestinal Flora.
These good bacteria, by any of these names, colonize inside the digestive tract. They stick to the walls of the colon and take up residence. In other words, they live down there. However, they don’t stick around forever, and need to be replenished, either from food or supplement sources.
The benefits of probiotics go beyond digestion
While probiotics are definitely important for healthy digestion (which many would say is the source of good health in general) they do a lot more than that, including:
- Keep nasty fungus and yeast cells at bay
- Help keep bowel movements soft, well-formed and easy to pass and preventing constipation
- Help us absorb nutrients like calcium properly, which in turn helps the body build healthy bones
- Produce lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose in milk, ice cream, yogurt and cheese
- Prevent cholesterol from leaving the intestines and entering the bloodstream
- Help eliminate embarrassing gas and bloating
- Support the immune system and the way the body responds to inflammation
So, while the idea of whether or not you use probiotics might seem like a light one, it may be wise to not take it too lightly and to check the ingredients carefully.
Lactobacillus acidophilus & Bifidobacteria longum
Look at most food or supplement labels, and usually two probiotics stand out; there’s a good reason for this. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria longum are well-researched and provide significant health benefits. If these two names sound familiar, it’s because they are the species most often found in yogurt.
Interestingly, even though associated with dairy, Bifidobacteria longum assists in the breakdown of lactose and relieves some of the symptoms of lactose intolerance, including gas and bloating. Lactose intolerance is fairly common, especially in non-European individuals, and accounts for at least 50 million Americans.
While our Microflora can naturally replenish, if we are stressed, on vacation, sick, overworked, or just feeling overwhelmed, it can take a long time. Without giving probiotic numbers a boost now and then, some digestive concerns – or possibly others – could reassert themselves in their absence.
So whether you prefer the food-based form, or have a favourite supplement in mind (or use both – there’s nothing wrong with that!) the important thing is to get that beneficial bacteria on board. It makes for a much easier journey.
70% of your immune system is in your digestive tract, which means healthy digestion actually promotes your natural defence system! For the ultimate in immune protection, Pearls Immune contains superior probiotics, plus the biologically-active power of Activ-Ferrin™ brand of lactoferrin.
Pearls Immune: a simple and unique one-a-day probiotic supplement Pearls Immune contains a highly-concentrated form of lactoferrin (called Activ-Ferrin™) that naturally strengthens your immune health. Lactoferrin is a powerhouse antioxidant, so it can help knock out the free radicals that can cause damage to your body’s cells and stress out your immune system. The supplement also delivers probiotics to balance your immune system by restoring digestive health that includes Lactobacillus acidophilus and plantarum, plus Bifidobacterium lactis and longum. These strains are the ‘heavy hitters’ of digestive support and immune response. Taking this supplement for a course over one or two months can be followed up by its sister product known as Acidophilus Pearls for daily all-round support.
Probiotics can come from food sources as well as supplements. Yoghurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi are great sources of healthy bacteria that can really benefit your digestion. Or, you can try probiotic supplements! As recommended by Jan, you can find Pearls Immune probiotics here. OptiBac also produce a wide variety of probiotics - from every day use, to probiotics for children, to probiotics for travelling abroad.