PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTS – AN EXCELLENT WAY TO DIGESTIVE HEALTH
Are you experiencing bloating, gas, occasional heartburn, indigestion and other forms of discomfort in your tummy? Well, your intestinal tract contains 50 to 70 trillion bacteria where did this number come from? both good and bad, and the discomfort in your tummy could be caused by the accumulation of harmful bacteria!
Today, most people live hectic lives - work long hours, eat while on the go, and sleep less. You may not realize this, but much of this lifestyle has an effect on your health. Stress and poor eating habits manifest themselves through the digestive system. Also important to note is that 70% of our immune defenses are located in our G.I. tracts, and it’s the intestine that takes the most beating due to our hectic lifestyle compromising our overall health.
The answer to calming our tummy, and even avoiding an accumulation of bad bacteria, also lies in bacteria, only they are of the good variety called probiotics.
What are Probiotics?
For those new to this concept, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have defined probiotics as "live micro-organisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer health benefits on the host."
Most of us may not know this, but some of the natural foods that we consume contain probiotic micro-organisms –beneficial bacteria. These include yogurt, fermented and unfermented milk, miso, tempeh, sour cream, kefir, some cheese and soy beverages. There are other foods, such as bananas, garlic and onions, which can also help repopulate levels of the good bacteria in the intestine. Interestingly, probiotics are not a new concept and many of these foods like yogurt and fermented milk have been consumed for millennia, precisely for their beneficial effects on our health.
However, even though we may consciously eat foods that contain probiotics, we may still fail to get the desired health benefit. This is because these foods may not be consumed in quantities needed to restore digestive heath or may be consumed along with heavy doses of antibiotics which constantly destroy beneficial microorganisms. It is for this reason that some people consume probiotic supplements and doctors recommend them too.
What are Probiotic Supplements?
With natural foods having inadequate amounts of live bacteria to replenish good flora in our intestine, many of us need to additionally take probiotic supplements. These supplements may be taken as liquids, powders or in capsule form and are extremely safe to consume. A probiotic supplement is a dietary augmentation that helps increase the amount of healthy micro-organisms in our digestive tract. These supplements are available over the counter with details of when and how they need to be consumed.
Types of Probiotics
There are broadly two types of probiotics, namely bacteria and yeast based. Probiotics can be of 2 species, namely Lactobacillus (such as L acidophilus, L Rhamnosus, Bulgaricus, L Reuteri, and L Casei), Bifidobacterium and Saccharomyces Boulardii, which is non-pathogenic yeast.
Choosing the Right Probiotic Supplement
growing consciousness on the benefits of probiotic supplements, numerous probiotic brands have flooded the market. Which is the best probiotic supplement, what bacteria does the supplement contain, how does it meet your specific physical needs, these are questions worth clarifying. Many probiotic supplements are not correctly prepared, processed or stored, and because probiotics have a short shelf life, some supplements may not have the strain that you need and thus, not have the desired health benefit.
Efficacy of a probiotic species taken orally requires that it be resistant to the strong acid and bile in our stomach so that it can pass through the upper gastrointestinal tract without loss of biological potency. However, even the hardiest micro-organisms must be administered regularly to maintain colonization.
A single dose of a probiotic supplement should have a minimum of 4 billion viable organisms for adults and 1 billion for children. It is also clear that these bacteria should be from one or more of the Lactic Acid Bacteria family or Bifidobacteria which are just about the only "friendly-bacteria" tough enough to make it into the intestine where they need to be!
The probiotic should ideally incorporate nutrition for the bacteria too. As your impaired gut may not have the foods that Lactobacillus need to thrive, good probiotics should incorporate a nutrition source too—like the intrinsic supernatant, which is the media the bacteria was grown in.
Desirable properties of a good probiotic supplement:
Should be resistant to stomach acid and bile
Able to colonize in the human gut
Able to produce antimicrobial substances
Have visible benefits on health
When buying a probiotic supplement, it is best to choose products from well-known companies, especially those that have been tested and researched. Reliable products will indicate the name of the probiotic organisms they contain, and the number of organisms a single dose provides (known as CFUs or Colony Forming Units).
The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) recommends that consumers should consider 4 criteria when comparing probiotic supplements:
Choose the right probiotic strain
Probiotics must be tested in humans and shown to have health benefits
Choose a quality product at the right quantity
Pick quality packaging and a trusted manufacturer. In the United States, most probiotics are sold as dietary supplements, which do not undergo the same testing and approval process that drugs do. Manufacturers are responsible for making sure that the probiotics are safe before they’re marketed and that any claims made on the label are true. Products should have an expiration date printed clearly on the package and packaging should ensure an effective level of live bacteria through the “best by” or expiration date. Climate changes, exposure to oxygen and moisture can be important to keeping probiotics alive.
Side Effects of Probiotic Supplements
Probiotic supplements have few side effects if any. Since they merely augment and replenish the healthy bacteria that naturally exist in our body, the potential for adverse reaction is extremely low. Side effects of probiotic supplements may be mild and cease after a week of regular use. Common side effects include abdominal bloating, diarrhea, frequent gas and intestinal cramping. Drinking adequate amounts of water and avoiding high-fiber foods, laxatives and other products that increase bowel movements are a great way to ease these side effects. These common side effects refer to something called the Herxheimer effect—and it is common especially in people who have never taken probiotic supplements before. The Herxheimer effect happens when there is a mass exodus of toxic organisms leaving your body and the transit routes out get clogged. (www.thinkfungus.com) If you experience this, lighten up on your dose, or drop down to every other day until you feel well enough to increase your dose again.
Products that destroy healthy bacteria in your intestine
Birth control pills
Steroids and hormonal drugs
Tea and coffee
Benefits of Probiotics
Heavy use of antibiotics, preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals consumed via food may cause the destruction of many friendly microflora in our gastrointestinal tract. However, research shows that when probiotic supplements are consumed as powders, liquids or capsules on a regular basis, they have numerous advantages in,
Helping to manage lactose intolerance6,7
Helping to prevent cancer21,22
Assisting in lowering cholesterol23,24,25
Helping to support immune function12,13
Helping to reduce the severity of antibiotic-associated diarrhea10,11
Helping to reduce inflammation14,15
Helping to prevent harmful bacterial growth17,18
Helping to improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome26,27
Helping to support urogenital health28,29
Getting Natren Probiotic Supplements to Work for You
Natren is a leading manufacturer of probiotic supplements with over 30 years of experience. The company produces a host of probiotic supplements that can be bought online. Natren has products for people of all ages and animals. One of Natren’s products, Healthy Trinity, has 30 billion colony forming units (CFU) of beneficial bacteria per capsule. These probiotics enhance digestion, improve nutrient absorption, stimulate proper elimination and maximize your immune function1.
Besides high quality probiotic supplements, which are a result of extensive research, another aspect that sets Natren apart from its competitors is the care it takes in refrigeration and transportation of its products. Like all living creatures, probiotics need to be protected from harsh environments; their life-spans are diminished by heat, light and moisture. Natren products are shipped in dark glass bottles with tin lids to protect the bacteria from harmful light and moisture. They are refrigerated to keep them cool and extend their lives so that they have guaranteed potency through the printed expiration date.
Natren’s products are micro-enrobed with a unique oil matrix, as that is the best way to protect probiotic bacteria from stomach acid. Natren Trenev Trio® is the first to introduce a micro-enrobing, unique delivery system – a hard gel capsule in which three super strains of probiotic bacteria are suspended in sunflower oil and vitamin E to keep the bacteria separate, non-competitive and protected from gastric digestive juices for optimum survival.
Additionally, all Natren’s probiotics are laboratory tested bile-resistant strains which survive bile salts. All of Natren's dairy-free powders, namely Mega Dophilus Dairy-Free, Bifido Factor Dairy-Free, Mega Vegi-Dophilus, and Digesta-Lac Dairy-Free are all Vegan. Since probiotic supplements should be consistently consumed for maximum health benefit, this can add to your household budget. A great way to address this is to simply buy Natren’s Yogurt Starter and make your own probiotic rich yogurt at home.
Today, animals and pets are integral members of many homes. However, it is common for us to slip up on feeding or exercising our pets, which may cause them tremendous discomfort. Natren has a range of products to help with animal constipation and diarrhea. With some good bacteria, diarrhea and upset stomach in your animals could be a thing of the past!
1Bullen, C., Tearle, P.V., and Willis, A.T., Bifidobacteria in the intestinal tract of infants: an in-vivo study, J. Med. Microbiol., 1976; 9:325-333.
2Bin-nun, A.; Bromiker, R.; Wilschansk, M.; Kaplan, M.; Rudensky, B.; Caplan, M.; Hammerman, C. Oral probiotics prevent necrotizing Enterocolitis in very low birth weight neonates. J of Ped 2005: 192-196
3Lee, M.C., Lin, L.H., Hung, K.L., and Wu, K.Y., Oral bacterial therapy promotes recovery from acute diarrhea in children, Acta. Paediatr. Taiwan, 2001; Sep-Oct;42(5):301-305.
4O’Mahony, L., McCarthy, J., Kelly, P., Hurley, G., Luo, F., Chen, K., O’Sullivan, G.C., Kiely, B., Collins, J. K., Shanahan, F., Quigley, E. M. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in IBS: symptom responses and relationship to cytokine profiles. Gastroenterology, 2005; 128(3): 541-551
5DePalma, G., Cinova, J., Stepankova, R., Tuckova, L., Sanz, Y. Pivotal advance: Bifidobacteria and gram-negative bacteria differentially influence immune responses in the proinflammatory milieu of celiac disease in children, Journal of Leukocyte Biology 2010, 87: 000-000.
6Kim, H. S., and Gilliland, S. E. Lactobacillus acidophilus as a dietary adjunct for milk to aid lactose digestion in humans, J. Dairy Sci. 1983, 66: 959-966.
7Effect of the microbial lactase (EC 220.127.116.11) activity in yoghurt on the intestinal absorption of lactose: an in vivo study in lactase-deficient humans. B J Nutr. 1990, 64: 71-79.
8Chebbi, N.B., Chander, H., Ranganathan, B., Casein degredation and amino acid liberation in milk by two highly proteolytic strains of lactic acid bacteria, Acta Microbiol. Pol., 1977; 26(3):281-284.
9Pescuma M., et.al. Whey fermentation by thermophilic lactic acid bacteria: evolution of carbohydrates and protein content. Food Microbiology 2008;25:442-451
10Arunachalam, K. D. The organic acids produced by Bifidobacteria are thought to stimulate the intestinal peristalsis and help a normal bowel movement (pg 1575) 1999. Nutr. Res., 19(10): 1559-1597.
11Vivatvakin, B.; Kowitdamrong, E. Randomized control trial of live Lactobacillus acidophilus plus Bifidobacterium infantis in treatment of infantile acute watery diarrhea. J Med Assoc 2006.
12Bjorksten, B.; Sepp. E.; Julge, K.; Voor, T.; Mikelsaar, M. Allergy development and the intestinal microflora during the first year of life. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2008 Vol. 108: 516-520
13Ozdemir, O. Various effects of different probiotic strains in allergic disorders: an update from laboratory and clinical data. Clinical and Exp Immunology 2010. 1-10
14Gruber, C. et al. Reduced Occurrence of Early atopic Dermatitis. The Journal of Allergy and clinical Immunology 2010, 126(4): 791-797.
15Lee, J. et al. Meta-analysis of clinical trials of probiotics for prevention and treatment of pediatric atopic dermatitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2008, 121: 116-121.
16Hoyos, A.B. Reduced Incidence of Necrotizing Enterocolitis Associated with Enteral Administration of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium infantis to Neonates in an Intensive Care Unit. Int J Infect Dis 1999 Vol. 3: 197-202.
17Picard C., Fioramonti J., Francois A., Robinson T., Neant F., and Matuchansky C., Review article: bifidobacteria as probiotic agents – Physiological effects and clinical benefits. Ailment Pharmacol Ther 2005; 22: 495-51
18Arunachalam, K. D., Role of bifidobacteria in nutrition, medicine and technology, Nutr. Res., 1999; 19(10): 1559-1597.
19Lin, H.C.; Su, B.H.; Chen, A.C.; Lin, T.W.; Tsai, C.H.; Yeh, T.F.; Oh, W. Oral Probiotics Reduce the Incidence and Severity of Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Very Low Birth Weight Infants. Pediatrics 2005 Vol. 115(1).
20Caplan, M. S., Jilling, T. Neonatal enterocolitis: possible role of probiotic supplementation. J Ped Gastroenterology and Nutr. 2000; 30:S18-22.