Probiotics are friendly bacteria that offer many health benefits related to our gut function. If you're looking to use them to boost your own health, it's important to make sure you find a good probiotic supplement to get the results you're after. Here's a simple guide how to choose a probiotic supplement.
Probiotics are a hot topic among many these days. A buzzword that everyone keeps mentioning, but a lot of people don’t know what they are or why they actually need them.
In short, probiotics are health-promoting live bacteria that live in our body and are highly concentrated in our gut. They’re important because our gut holds around 80% of our immune function. When the balance of good and bad bacteria in the intestines isn’t healthy, the body isn’t healthy. In fact, because of its critical role in directing our overall health, experts now refer to the gut as "The Second Brain".
I believe that adding probiotic foods to your diet is the optimal way to improve and sustain your digestive health. But there are situations in which this simply doesn't work. Hectic lifestyle, stress and many outside influences that are out of our control affect the gut health. Sometimes probiotic foods simply aren't enough to provide us with needed benefits. Also if you have food allergies or you simply don't like the taste of fermented foods, a probiotic supplement may be the choice.
Since I've been through the agony of choosing a probiotic supplement and shopping for the good ones, I know how overwhelming this can be. Today I will be discussing how to choose a probiotic supplement and what things you should consider.
How to choose a probiotic supplement
The market is so flooded with probiotic supplements, pills, powders, etc. No wonder consumers are overwhelmed and make poor choices. It’s important to know how to choose a good probiotic supplement you can afford.
These are the things to look for in a good probiotic supplement:
- Resistance - It must be able to get past your stomach acid and bile to populate your entire digestive tract.
- High CFU - Since our microbiome is composed of about 100-trillion good and bad bacteria, a high number of CFUs will have a greater impact on the growth of beneficial bacteria within your gut flora. Look for a formula with a minimum of 40 billion CFUs.
- Multiple strains - Taking a probiotic with a variety of good bacteria strains can help balance your microbiome. Unfortunately, most probiotic supplements only provide one type of strain. Multi-strain probiotics appear to show greater efficacy than single strains so try to find a supplement with at least 9 individual strains.
Really good probiotic supplements will include at least these three most important strains:
- L. acidophilus - This is the most important strain of the Lactobacillus species and, it readily colonizes on the walls of the small intestine. It supports nutrient absorption and helps with the digestion of dairy foods.
- B. longum- It's one of the most common bacteria found in the digestive tracts of adults. It helps maintain the integrity of the gut wall and it's mainly responsible for cleaning out nasty toxins.
- B. bifidum - This strain, found in both the small and large intestine, is critical for the healthy digestion of dairy products. B. bifidum also is important for its ability to break down complex carbohydrates, fat, and protein into small components that the body can use more efficiently.
Also, a good probiotic supplement will have substrains listed next to each strain indicates that a specific probiotic strain has undergone clinical studies and it will have a fiber-based probiotics listed. Fiber-based probiotics significantly increase the overall effectiveness of the supplement.
I recently started to experience some gastrointestinal problems due to accumulated stress. Also, problems with rosacea on my face appeared again which made me feel only worse. I've been using probiotics regularly for years, but this time it seems I need something more potent.
I decided to give it a try to a Complete Probiotics Platinum named one of the best probiotic formulas on the market. I was impressed with the numbers of strains and high CFU. This probiotic supplement contains 51 billion live cultures, 11 robust and clinically studied strains and NutraFlora prebiotic fiber which is pretty impressive. + This product is formulated by a doctor specializing in gut health which was a HUGE plus.
Complete Probiotics Platinum quickly become part of my daily morning routine and in just a two weeks I started to feel relieved of my digestive problems. Also, my rosacea began to fade. I’ve been through three different brands in the last few years but I think I'll stick with this probiotic supplement for a long time.
I think a probiotic supplement definitely should be a part of everyones daily life routine. In this modern world, the community of our good bacteria buddies inside our gut are under a constant attack from the environment. Our diet, daily stress, medications, toxins, ... all of these things disrupt the healthy balance of our gut flora.
And while I think you can obtain most of your nutrients from real food and probiotics from fermented foods, probiotic supplements are helpful, especially if you are unable to eat fermented foods. But for probiotics to do their job, you first need to optimize the conditions where these good bacteria will flourish. And that means eating healthy foods, avoiding processed foods and refined sugars.
Adding probiotics to your daily routine will bring many benefits to your health. I'm not so keen on taking pills, but this one I take gladly. Millions of little bacteria friends keep my body in balance and my gut healthy. And now that you know how to choose a probiotic supplement, it’s time to "listen to your gut"!
Let me hear from you, do you take probiotic supplements? How have probiotics helped improve your health?
This post is created in collaboration with 1MD. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Natalie’s Health running!