Does everyone need probiotics and what makes a good supplement?
Probiotics means pro-life as opposed to antibiotics which destroy life. What is the definition of a supplement? Something that when added to something else creates something better then before. It should bring good benefits to what its supplementing i.e. the human body. You should be able to feel the difference, it should be therefore therapeutic. How many vitamins and supplements are you taking just because you think you should?
And so, these are some of the possible therapeutic benefits from regularly taking a high quality, therapeutic, probiotic supplement.
- Improve digestion
- Strengthen the immune system; reducing susceptibility to colds and flu
- Increase resistance to yeast infections
- Relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Maintain correct pH balance in vaginal ecosystem
- Reduce high blood pressure
- Improved vigor and general overall vitality
And some effects that might not be felt directly but can be tested for
- Increase nutrient assimilation
- Assist absorption of magnesium, calcium and iron
- Manufacture B complex vitamins (biotin and vitamin K)
- Detoxify toxins and chemicals in gut
- Produce cancer or tumor suppressing compounds
- Reduce cholesterol in the blood
How do you know you are in need of a probiotic supplement?
If you live in the west you are probably affected by at least some of these things and these are what kill the beneficial bacteria in your gut, putting a huge strain on your immune system. So does everyone need probiotics? Well, yes, they are responsible for digestion, nutrient assimilation, your immune system response, so they are pretty key! And does everyone need a probiotic supplement? If your system is being put under strain by any of these things, then, yes!
- Excessive stress (both psychological and physical)
- Exposure to radiation
- Drinking fluoridated / chlorinated water
- Antibiotic use
- Contraceptive pills
- Steroidal & hormonal drugs
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Carbonated drinks
- Drinking fluoridated / chlorinated water
- Eating meat and dairy products
- Poor diet (High carb/high sugar/low fibre)
Does everyone need probiotics? What are the symptoms?
Hence the reason you might be suffering from any of these symptoms, all indicators of Dysbiosis, which is when harmful bacteria outnumber beneficial bacteria and associated with leaky gut.
- Allergies and food sensitivities
- Frequent colds, flu or infections
- Difficulty losing weight, sugar/carbohydrate cravings
- Frequent fatigue, poor concentration
- Frequent constipation or diarrhea and flatulence
- Faulty digestion, acid reflux and other gut disorders
- Sleeping poorly, night sweats
- Painful joint inflammation, stiffness
- Bad breath, gum disease and dental problems
- Chronic yeast problems
- Acne, eczema, skin and foot fungus
- Extreme menstrual or menopausal symptoms
So, it’s easy to see why this is such a hot topic right now and why so many companies are jumping on the bandwagon to provide products to market to all these people, which I’m sure you will agree is the majority of people, and answer the question does everyone need probiotics, which is surely yes! Everyone needs beneficial bacteria in their system, we couldn’t survive very long without them!
I would like to highlight a few of the factors you may want to consider when choosing a probiotic and how the 2 probiotic products by Miessence stand up
4 factors to consider with every probiotic’
1.Viability The essential quality of a probiotic for any good to be done, other then the trusty placebo effect, is that the bacteria have to be viable, i.e. living. The only test of this is whether you can grow the bacteria on from the end product and so I welcome you try to do that with your current brand of probiotic. Both Inliven and Fast-TractFast-Tract contain living bacteria, you can see this simply by mixing Inliven with room temp water and leaving it, it will start to fizz. Fast-Tract is fizzy right from the bottle, in fact when they were first manufacturing they tried to put it in glass but the pressure was too much and the glass broke on testing. You can raise bread with both these products!
2. Quantity The next major factor is the array of bacteria offered. Within the human body they have found over 500 different beneficial bacteria. Inliven and Fast-Tract contain the complete family of 13 lactobacillus plus 2 yeast strains, which are thought of as the building blocks, creating the environment that balance the bacteria and the intestinal flora for the other 500 to thrive. This family works in harmony only if the complete family is present. Some need nutrients that are generated by others in order to perform their tasks. They are the ones found to naturally colonise fruits and vegetables.
• Lactobacillus acidophilus • Lactobacillus casei • Lactobacillus helveticus • Lactobacillus bulgaricus • Lactobacillus leichmannii • Lactobacillus caucasicus • Lactobacillus lactis • Lactobacillus fermenti • Lactobacillus brevis • Lactobacillus plantarum • Lactobacillus delbreukii • Bifidobacterium bifidum • Bacillus coagulans (Spores are activated in the acidic environment of the stomach and begin germinating and proliferating in the intestine.) Yeast Strains- Saccharomyces boulardii Saccharomyces cerevisiae
3.Strength A probiotic has to be very strong to survive all the stages between packaging, transportation (with possible extreme heat and cold), storage, all the way to when you consume it, so another important factor is if it has built in resilience to these stresses. The bacteria in Inliven have been subjected to a large number of stresses including heat, cold, fluoride and chlorine (to cope with the levels found in water), salt, alcohol and many common preservatives found in food, as well as ascorbic acid found in the stomach. Just like natural selection, only the strongest survive and these are the ones grown on to be stressed again and again resulting in a ‘super family’ of very strong Lactobacilli.
4.Substrate You may consider what kind of delivery system your probiotics are being carried in, is it just unrelated inorganic raw material, cheap filler (which could include partially hydrogenated oils, colours, sugars, and flavours) or, in the case of the majority of cheap, single shot probiotic yogurt drinks, animal product with no known origin (homogenised milk products can exacerbate leaky gut as well as heart disease). Miessence use 100% organic vegetables and wholefoods, known to be prebiotics i.e. good fibrous food for bacteria to flourish. This is important as once you have re-colonised your gut with beneficial bacteria you need to feed it so it can do a good job with dealing with the standard onslaught of the western lifestyle.
The benefits of a long pre-digestion process
A unique process is the 3 week pre-digestive, fermentation. Nutrients are trapped in the lignin or cellulose of the food. The bacteria break down the cellulose by releasing different enzymes (the bodies workers) that digest the food and allow nutrient absorption. So in this pre-digestion stage the bacteria are given optimum conditions to replicate and fill the substrate with these busy enzymes. Enzyme rich food is the result. We have over 150,000 different types of enzymes in the human body and these are needed for a vast array of tasks. A lot more are needed to break down processed and fast food, as well as for healing from pollution, sun damage and radiation exposure. The more bacteria, and therefore enzymes, you have help from, the easier digestion you will experience. It’s no surprise that people with chronic disease and low energy have low enzyme levels. Good levels of bacteria increase our ability to resist infection. 85% of our immune system lives in our gut and a healthy colon is considered our 2nd immune system.
Within this fermentation process lactic acid is produced which acts as an anti-oxidant, preventing degradation of the released nutrients, locking them away until they reach the body. The dual purpose of fermenting is preservation as well as enhancement of the original substrate, by improving digestibility and increasing the levels of beneficial bacteria. This age old practice of preservation can be seen in many traditional diets with the likes of kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and kefir. Preserving precious nutrients way before the advent of fridges and freezers.
What doesn’t work is simply stuffing some bacteria strains and some fillers into a capsule and calling it a probiotic. Even if kept alive by refrigeration until moment of consumption, these capsules take more time to break down then the bacteria strains can survive for, without suitable food, in the heightened temperatures of the human body. These bacteria have not been busy colonising and producing enzymes ready to jump to work in your stomach as soon as the capsule dissolves.
With probiotics you get what you pay for and going for a cheap option is like throwing your money down the drain. If cost is a concern I recommend learning how to make your own ferments, my favourites being Jin (like kombucha but raised on honey rather then sugar) and kimchi (spicy korean cabbage and radish).
If you are in the UK I recommend my friends down at Tracebridge Sourdough in Devon, who run courses on fermenting and sourdough bread making.
I hope this has been useful and answered your question does everyone need probiotics. I would love to stay in touch so please sign up to my newsletter for other informative articles on health and nutrition, product reviews and discount coupons. If you would like to trial high quality, viable probiotics direct to your door each month for less then the price of a fancy coffee then please get in contact for a consultation.