What Are Probiotics and Why Do I Need Them?
Probiotics have risen in popularity over the past ten years. More and more people are taking probiotics for a number of reasons ranging from alleviating digestive difficulties to increasing immunity. Regardless of why you take a daily probiotic, do you know how to find the best one for you?
Probiotics are live bacteria naturally found in our bodies. Our bodies are full of bacteria, both the good and bad varieties. The combination of these trillions of living cells makes up our microbiome, which helps with things like:
- Good oral health
- Supporting and enhancing mood
- Metabolizing food to release energy
- Producing vitamins and neurotransmitters
- Boosting immune function
- Supporting normal metabolism
Probiotics are important in healthy digestion and live naturally in some foods. In addition to the health of your stomach, research has shown links between live-active cultures in probiotics to both the prevention and treatment of many different health problems.
Why Should I Take a Daily Probiotic?
Taking a daily probiotic supplement can help improve your health and mood. Here are 8 of the biggest ways taking a probiotic daily will improve your health.
- Digestion — Most adults report having regular or occasional difficulty with their digestive system in one form or another. Taking a probiotic supplement can help boost your digestive system and minimize discomfort.
- Improves Absorption – A big check in the probiotic column is that it increases the amount of nutritional value we get from our food. A daily probiotic optimizes the sythesis of the vitamins and minerals, helping us get the most out of what we eat.
- Protect Against Infection – Many people are unaware that probiotics are an excellent line of defense against potential infection and illness. Probiotics have been linked to decreasing reoccurring infections in women, and helping protect against acne and E. Coli exposures.
- Strengthens Immunity — A recent publication in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that a group of New Zealand athletes had 40 percent fewer colds and gastrointestinal infections when they took a probiotic compared to a similar group taking a placebo.
- Reduces Allergies — Several recent studies have shown that probiotics can help reduce the body’s allergic response. In fact, one study showed that babies born to moms who took a probiotic had 30-percent less infantile allergies.
- Promotes Detoxification – Probiotics are also a natural way to help the body detoxify. They have even been linked to reduction of peptic ulcers and chronic bad breath (halitosis) because of their detoxifying abilities.
- Balances the Impact of Anti-Biotics — There are some instances where an anti-biotic is necessary, however they can lead to a reduction of our healthy bacterial levels. A probiotic supplement will replenish balance in the digestive tract.
- Promotes Women’s Health — Should the balance in the female system become tipped, it can lead to a number of infections–such as yeast or bacterial infections. Probiotics like acidophilius can help maintain healthy bacterial levels and prevent reoccurring infections.
Why the Wrong Probiotic Isn’t Working For You
Let’s assume we all agree that taking a probiotic is an excellent idea. We all rush out to our local super store, buy the prettiest bottle on the shelf and start taking the prescribed amount. In a couple of weeks we should all be healthier, right? Unfortunately that might not be the case. The wrong probiotic will have minimal impact on your body. Low quality probiotics will not give you enough of the live-cultures you need to support your health.
How to Find the Right Probiotic for You
With so many probiotic supplements on the market today, you are tasked with finding one that does what you need. There are four important things to consider when choosing your probiotic supplement.
Tip #1: The Right CFU Level
Probiotics are measured using Colony Forming Units (CFUs). Ideally your probiotic will have a range of 5 – 50 billion CFUs. Probiotics at the lower end of the CFU spectrum are considered daily maintenance levels, ideal for people looking to support their already healthy digestive system. Higher potencies are appropriate for people with various levels of need and depend upon things like age, diet, stress and whether you are immune compromised.
Tip #2: How Many Strains Do I Need?
There are many different strains of probiotic, with each supplement balancing the strains in their own proprietary manner. The average healthy adult will require a combination of just a few strains. Avoid supplements with a multitude of strains.
Multi-strain products are designed to draws in buyers who think high diversity will have the best results. The reality is that only a small number of strains are truly viable through the manufacturing and packing of the supplement. A probiotic supplement with 20 strains listed on the bottle will only have a small number of strains that reach your gut and truly benefit your health. Don’t pay for what your body can’t use.
Tip #3: Shelf Stability
Checking your supplements CFU isn’t enough to make sure you are getting the best supplement. You should also check that the CFU potency is guaranteed at the time of expiration. This means that when the manufacturer put 50 billion CFUs in the product you are guaranteed to get those 50 billion CFUs when you purchase the product. It is also important for the supplement to be shelf stable, with no need to refrigerate.
Tip #4: Find a Supplement With the Best Ingredients
A clean label is critical when you choose your probiotic supplement. Your supplement should be free of chemicals and other ingredients that can cause harm. Whenever possible, you should choose a probiotic supplement that is pharmaceutical grade.
By following these helpful guidelines you can find the right probiotic supplement to start enhancing your overall health. Regardless of whether you want to boost your healthy system or you have drastic room for improvement, a probiotic supplement can help sustain your mind and body.