Taking a probiotic helps relieve digestion problems, lose weight and create a healthy immune system. It helps fight infections and restore balance to your body.

Five Things You Need to Know: Probiotics

probiotics“1. To start off, your gastrointestinal tract, aka your gut, is full of good bacteria, aka probiotics, these bacteria perform many functions; they aid in digestion, enhance immunity, help regulate hormone balance, and guard against food poisoning. The natural bacteria also synthesize essential nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin B12, and biotin, as well as short chain fatty acids. Medications, stress, and poor diet can affect the balance of bacteria in our gut, most often the good bacteria get wiped out.

2. Where can you find probiotics? Probiotics and probiotic rich foods can be found in the refrigerated dairy products section and include products such as yogurts, kefirs, some cottage cheese, other fermented beverages such as kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and more. Probiotics are also available as nutritional supplements.

3. “Live Active Culture,” is key. Look for this statement on the product seal, especially with yogurt, kefir and cottage cheeses. This guarantees at least 108 viable (live) lactic acid bacteria per gram in refrigerated products and 107 for frozen. Also, check for the expiration date; the older the product the less live cultures. Most brands will name the bacterium and health benefit. Buy right before leaving the supermarket and store in cool area of car.”

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Are Probiotics Right For You?

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Five Common Questions About Probiotics and Products That Contain Them.

Bacteria“1. Does the FDA Regulate the Term “Probiotics”?

In 2001, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations – not the FDA — defined “probiotics” as “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”

So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved no specific health claims for probiotics. Further, the amounts of probiotics that studies have found to be beneficial vary from strain to strain and condition to condition.

In 2007, the FDA enacted regulations requiring dietary supplements to be produced in a quality manner, to be free of contaminants or impurities, and to be accurately labeled. Many probiotic researchers are hoping these regulations will improve the quality of probiotic supplements in the United States

2. Which Strains of Probiotics Should I Look For?

Studies have shown different strains of probiotics to provide different benefits. If you’re looking for dietary support for the immune system, probiotic microbiology consultant Mary Ellen Sanders, MS, PhD, suggests looking out for:

  • Bifidobacterium lactis HN019. This strain helps modulate some aspects of the immune system in older people (it’s sold as an ingredient for dairy and supplement products).

  • Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC55730 (available in BioGaia Gut Health products).

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) (in Danimals drinkable yogurt and Culturelle capsules).

  • Lactobacillus casei DN-114 001 (in DanActive products).

  • Bifidobacterium lactis Bb-12 (available in Yo-Plus yogurt, LiveActive cheese). Use this uncooked for best results.”

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Probiotics can be part of the foundation of optimal health!



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