What are Probiotics?
We all have intestinal flora (that’s the word for all the bacteria in our intestines, good or bad).
Ever wonder how long your intestines are? It actually varies, of course, depending on if you are talking about the large or small intestine. The small intestine averages 20 to 23 feet long and the large intestine is about 5 feet long. Hard to imagine we have something so long in our bodies.
In fact, you have more bacteria than you do cells in your body – 20 times more. These bacteria help digest your food, regulate your immune system, and produce vitamins such as K and B complex. They are an essential part of life.
But even with 25-28 feet of intestinal lining to cover, space is limited. And there are lots of types of bacteria fighting for that space. Health experts say we’re at our healthiest when at least 80% of our flora is what’s considered “good” bacteria and only 20% “bad.” Most of us, however, have exactly the opposite ratio.
And that doesn’t always show up in the form of obvious digestive problems. A good many of us have lots of bad bacteria and experience other kinds of problems – tiredness, poor immunity, trouble sleeping. Digestion affects every other system in our body, so there really is no limit to how problems here can manifest.
“Probiotics” simply means “for life.” They are good bacteria we add to our digestion to tip the balance of flora in our favor and therefore potentially correct a host of health issues.
As you begin taking a Probiotic supplement, billions of good bacteria move into your small and large intestines. Day after day they’re joined by billions more. And the bad bacteria will have no room to live, so before long you’ll have that optimal ratio of good flora.
Suddenly, there’s no room for infectious organisms to take hold. So you get sick much less often. Every system in your body is eventually impacted in a positive way.
How Do I Choose Good Bacteria?
Just like there are hundreds of different models of cars, there are hundreds of different types of bacteria. Each different “model” is called a strain.
Most probiotics contain strains that miss certain areas of the gut.
If you want all the benefits a probiotic can offer, you need one that colonizes your entire digestive tract. No gaping holes in the coverage!
A complete probiotic will have strains from all five genera:
- B. Bifidum – One of the most dominant bacterium found in the human intestinal system. It boosts immune system response, supports digestion and relieves diarrhea. Research also suggests that this bacterium may prevent the development of certain cancers and help improve liver function brought on from alcoholism.
- B. Lactis – This bacterium is believed to strengthen the immune system. Research has suggested that B. Lactis could help decrease the “bad bacteria” H. pylori. Additionally, studies have shown that B. Lactis improves eczema in children with food allergies, enhances cellular immunity in the elderly, and increases white blood cell effectiveness. This bacterium is also effective as an aid to both constipation and diarrhea.
- B. Longum – This bacterium can minimize allergies, promote healthy cholesterol levels, improve the absorption of calcium, and defend against colon cancer with its strong anti-tumor properties.
- L. Acidophilus – L. Acidophilus promotes regular bowel movements, ensures proper absorption of nutrients, can enhance digestion and lipid metabolism, and might also support vaginal health. Research has also suggested that this bacterium, in addition to producing antibiotics like “lactocidin” and “acidophilin” that help protect against Salomella and E. coli, may also help reduce coronary artery disease.
- L. Casei – This bacterium is beneficial to anyone that is either lactose sensitive or intolerant digest lactose as it produces amylase. It could also benefit patients with Crohn’s disease, lower levels of bacteria H.Pylori, and reduce winter infections in the elderly.
- L. Rhamnosus – This bacterium can be useful in boosting natural immunity; offering support to urinary tract health, decreasing the risks of respiratory tract infections, and treating atopic dermatitis. Research also suggests that L. Rhamnosus has potential in treating anxiety.
- L. Brevis – Plays an important role in the synthesis of Vitamin D and Vitamin K.
- L. Plantarium – Acts as a barrier in the gut to keep disease-causing bacteria from penetrating the intestinal lining. May help with symptoms of IBS or Crohns disease.
- L. Salivarius – Acts as a fast-acting bowel cleanser, especially for diverticulitis pockets.
- S. boulardii – May help with symptoms of diarrhea, IBS, colitis, or Inflammable Bowel Disease. May also help with food allergies.
- L. Lactis – Can be helpful for symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
- S. thermophilus – Supports immune health. May help anyone lactose intolerant digest milk.
A prebiotic is also critical to stimulate, grow, and maintain your new healthy flora!
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