Probiotics:

then and now

Our knowledge and use of probiotics for good stomach health have been around for quite a while.  Russian scientist and Nobel Prize winner Élie Metchnikoff was the first to realize the benefits of using beneficial microbes (or good bacteria) as far back as 1907. Metchnikoff was convinced that a person could enhance the chances of living a longer life by simple, sober living, and daily consumption of “soured milk” beginning in childhood and continued thereafter1.  

Nowadays, the use of probiotics is common. They are found in many dairy products and fermented food, as well as in dietary supplements and medicinal products.2

Interest and research in probiotics have grown significantly. Scientists have created more diverse strains adapted to individual needs and probiotics are now available in many different formats and delivery methods. The future is bright for probiotics.

Sources

Your microbiota:

the forgotten organ

Our intestines are populated by a large number of various bacterial strains: a well-balanced and rich intestinal flora, also called the microbiota, is able to protect us from many disorders1.  At times, it is referred to as the forgotten organ2 because in many ways the microbiota acts just like an organ. Its activity helps with everything from digesting food, to fighting infections and protecting the body from toxins.3,4 It can also help to shape your immune system and even impact mood.5,6 When there is an imbalance, we can suffer from issues like bloating, constipation, cramps, diarrhea and other disorders.

It is easy for your microbiota to become out of sync. Illness, or an antibiotics treatment can influence the composition of beneficial microbes in your intestines.4 Stress, lack of exercise and diet can also potentially distort the balance of the microbiota in your gut.6,7 In healthy people the microbiota is well balanced, and the good bacteria dominate6: it is important to maintain this balance for good health. Taking a quality probiotics supplement is a proactive way to help maintain gastrointestinal health.

Did you know?

  • Your gut microbiota is unique to you – nobody else has exactly the same collection.8
  • 100,000 billion micro-organisms live inside your body. This “community” is formed by more than a thousand-different species of bacteria.
  • Babies enter the world with almost no microbes at all in their body. But within days, their intestines are populated by a powerful and complex ecosystem of beneficial microbes.9
  • Breast milk has components that can support the growth of bifidobacteria, which can help protect newborns from pathogens.10
  • Your microbiota can also help you digest fibers and lactose11. It also helps to regulate your gut movements, produces digestive enzymes and has other functions such as generating intestinal gas12.

Sources

  • 1 Ursell L, et al.  Nutr Rev. 2012;70(1): S38–S44

  • 2 O’Hara A, et al. EMBO. 2006;7(7):688-689

  • 3 Ciorba MA. Clinical gastroenterology and hepatology. 2012;10(9):960-968

  • 4 Zhang YJ, et al. Int Journ of Mol Sci. 2015;16(4):7493-7519

  • 5 Messaoudi M, et al. Br J Nutr. 2011;105:755–764

  • 6 Conlon M, et al Nutrients. 2015;7 :17-44

  • 7 Bailey M, et al. Brain, Behavior and Immunity. 2011; 25(3):397–407

  • 8 Gut Microbiota for health. Available at: http://www.gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com/en/your-
    microbiome-is-like-a-unique-fingerprint. Accessed June 2016

  • 9 Jost T, et al. PLoS One. 2012;7(8)

  • 10 Liepke C, et al. The Febs Journal. 2002;269(2):712–718

  • 11 Gorbach SL. Microbiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract. Baron S, editor. Medical Microbiology. 4th edition (1996).

  • 12 Conlon M, et al Nutrients. 2015;7:17-44

Navigating your digestive system

The body’s digestive system extracts nutrients from food, which it uses for energy, growth and cell repair. The way it does this is complex, involving different organs, tissues and cells1.

 

This is the short version:

 

  • The food you eat passes into the stomach, then to the small and large intestine1.
  • Digestive enzymes produced in different parts of the system act on the food to break it down into nutrients, which are then absorbed by your body for energy, growth and to repair tissues1.
  • The indigestible food waste is then processed and passes out of the body during a bowel movement.1

 

That much everyone knows. But what you probably didn’t realize is that the entire digestive system is packed full of microorganisms, such as fungi, yeasts, archaea and most commonly, bacteria2.

 

Collectively this ecosystem is known as your intestinal microbiota and it helps with digestion.

 

Did you know?

  • The bacteria in your microbiota produce substances to help digest your food. Without their help, we could not break down certain substances found in wheat, soybeans and some fruit and vegetables3.
  • They also help to control the movements of your gut so that food passes through at the correct speed.3
  • The bacteria in your microbiota work on toxins in foodstuffs, neutralizing them and protecting the body.3
  • They can also neutralize bile acids to render them harmless.3
  • The microbiota in your gut also supports your body’s immune system, and helps to protect against harmful pathogens.4

In a healthy adult eating a good diet and with a healthy lifestyle, the digestive system usually works away fairly unnoticed.

But when the balance of beneficial and harmful bacteria in your microbiota is disrupted it can lead to digestive problems, as well as more serious health conditions.3

Sources

  • 1 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Anatomy/your-digestive-system/Pages/anatomy.aspx. Accessed June 2016.

  • 2 Hoffman C, et al. PLOS ONE. 2013;8(6):1–12.

  • 3 Zhang YJ, et al. Int Journ of Mol Sci. 2015;16(4):7493–7519.

  • 4 Belkaid Y, et al. Cell. 2014;157(1):121–141.

Probiotics:

the key to good gut health

WHAT ARE PROBIOTICS?

The word itself comes from the Greek meaning “for life”. Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria that live in our digestive track and help maintain and protect gastrointestinal health.

WHAT IS A STRAIN?

STRAINS refer to the origin of the live microorganisms contained within the probiotic itself and they are usually accompanied by a long Latin name.  Each strain offers a different health benefit and combining complementary strains helps to target the overall desired benefit of the probiotic.

WHAT ARE PREBIOTICS?

PREBIOTICS encourage the growth of the existing good bacteria in your gut and possibly stimulate the growth of probiotics. As a result, they will help to favor an optimal gastrointestinal health.

WHAT IS A CFU?

CFU stands for Colony-Forming Units. The number of CFU is high (often in the billions) to ensure that the microorganisms are still alive when they get to your gut.

WHY SHOULD I TAKE PROBIOTICS?

In your body, the majority of bacteria are located in your gut. They are a part of a healthy human ecosystem and help the body function properly.


Probiotics help:
• support overall digestive and gastrointestinal health

 

Probiotics compliment your body's natural collection of both good and bad bacteria to keep your gut healthy and balanced.

To learn more about probiotics health benefits,

visit the International Probiotics Association website. We are proud to be a member of this recognized association.

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