Know Your Nutrients: Friendly Bacteria

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts promoted as having various health benefits. They’re usually added to yoghurts or taken as food supplements and are often described as “good” or “friendly” bacteria.1

What are Probiotics?

Our gastrointestinal tract is the home many billions of live bacteria. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics defines “probiotics” as “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”2 On a daily basis these bacteria play numerous vital roles to help with our normal functions including our digestive system, immune system response, protection against disease and the production of specific vitamins we need for health. Hopefully, our current friendly bacteria are supporting our health and wellbeing and preventing the establishment of the harmful bacteria.

 

What are the health benefits of Probiotics?

If we are fit, healthy, and eating an optimal balanced diet, we are more likely disease free. However, pressure at work, school or home, illness, or difficult or sudden life events can all lead to stress.3 Alongside antibiotics and certain drugs (including female hormones), stress can cause the production of disease-causing bacteria at the expense of numbers of the “good” bacteria that keep us healthy.

It is thought that our balance of microbes in our intestines may be improved by taking a probiotic supplement.4 Restoring the natural balance in our gastrointestinal tract when it’s been disrupted by an illness or treatment.5

There is evidence that probiotics may be helpful preventing diarrhoea when taking antibiotics and helping to ease some symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). According to Wilkins and Sequoia (2017), “Probiotic effectiveness can be species-, dose-, and disease-specific, and the duration of therapy depends on the clinical indication. There is high-quality evidence that probiotics are effective for acute infectious diarrhoea, antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.”6

Probiotic use, either through the encouragement to consume fermented foods or as dietary supplements, can help us to ensure we try to maintain the balance of our essential intestinal organisms. This will have a tremendous benefit to our health as if we have undesirable changes in our intestinal microbiome, we have a greater risk of chronic diseases (including inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, allergic disorders, asthma, obesity).7

What should I know when taking Probiotics?

As a cornerstone for good health, good digestion and supporting our internal bacterial community has been shown to be of major importance into our life. Concentrations of probiotics are usually low in foods, though we should all be encouraged to regularly include these foods. Which generally contain friendly bacteria such as lactobacilli (acidophilus) and bifidobacteria (Bifidus).

In regard to probiotic supplements, these are usually available in capsule or tablet forms, as powder sachets, in the form of liquids.8 We should take care in the storing and handling of probiotics. Taking note of manufacturer guidelines as heat, sunlight, and moisture may all degrade the probiotic product.

We need to source products that offers ‘billions’ not ‘millions’ of bacteria. We usually experience a dose / response relationship to the benefits of probiotic supplementation with 10 billion CFU per day (Colony Forming Units) seen as a baseline dose for those seeking everyday immune and digestive support. The better the quality, the more live and viable they are and hence able to take up residence in our guts, as they are made to withstand the very acidic environment of our stomachs.

Probiotic products

Bigvits are delighted to be able to offer a range of products containing probiotics. These include single and multi-bacteria strain high CFU products, probiotic and prebiotic combination products, and products designed for babies and children (containing live cultures strains which have been extensively researched in babies and children).

As usual, all Bigvits products have been sourced from premium manufacturers, ensuring we are offering our customers optimal choices and aligned to forms used within research.

Related Products:

Summary

Our gut microbiome is populated with trillions of living bacteria which are involved in a wide range of functions essential for your health. Regular consumption of probiotic foods and supplements can help us support our good bacteria and benefit our overall health. Enhanced immunity, restoring / balancing our microbial community are two of the main benefits of probiotic supplementation.

 

If you have a specific interest or would like to see a particular product or nutrient reviewed, please email your request to info@bigvits.co.uk. Educating our customers in respect to the importance of nutrients and the idiosyncrasies between formulas and products is at the heart of what we want to achieve.

 

This post is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or nutritional advice or act as a substitute for seeking such advice from a qualified health professional. In order to make the blog series easier to read, I have used a conversational tone in many places with personal pronouns, such as “I” and “you.” This is meant only to make it more pleasant to read, and is not meant to imply that the information constitutes any form of advice, whether personal or general.