We live in a bacterial world and our body has more bacteria than the human population on earth. When we talk about bacteria, we normally think of something that causes diseases. But, not all bacteria are alike. There are some good bacteria that are beneficial to our health. Probiotics fall in this category. In fact, the term probiotic means “for life”. These beneficial bacteria are involved in continuous combat against pathogens to keep us healthy. Our gut is responsible for almost 70% of our immune system and it contains trillions of bacteria. If there is imbalance between the probiotics or good bacteria, and pathogens or bad bacteria, we develop leaky gut syndrome and show signs of IBS, constipation, joint pain etc. The live probiotic supplements help to restore the bacterial balance for treating leaky gut. These are supplements with live micro organisms and have to be taken when those are alive.
Truth about probiotics
We have more bacterial cells than human cells in the body, and thus, can be called non-human if we consider the cells. Among the bacterial cells, the good ones that keep the gut healthy are called probiotics. The hype about probiotics has reached such a level that many probiotic infused foods are available in market. But, there is no substantial proof that these help to improve the gut condition; because, to do so, one has to take these good bacteria when they are alive and that is hardly possible when you take packed foods with added probiotics. So, it is better to take live probiotic supplements.
How live probiotic supplements work
Our gut is full of bacteria, some of which is good and the others bad or very bad. Due to use of excessive antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids, we lose the good bacteria in the gut and when the number of bad bacteria becomes much more than the good bacteria, it causes problem. In such cases, the lining of the gut gets damaged, and become hyper-permeable allowing undigested food particles, body wastes and toxins into the blood stream. Taking probiotic supplements help to ease the situation by replenishing the good bacteria. Aside from these, the probiotics help in digestion, enhance absorption of nutrients from food and improve the immune system as well. These help remedy irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and chronic diarrhea.
Types of probiotic supplements
Probiotic supplements are capsules that contain live micro-organisms. Although, many supplements are available in the market, not all of these are equally effective. The most popular are the two strains or types of bacteria called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, also known as Bifidus.
The Lactobacillus strains are the most important types of live probiotic supplements. Other than helping overall digestion, it produces enzymes for braking down lactose and help fermentation of carbohydrates in the gut to remedy leaky gut condition. You can get this in several strains like:
- Lactobacillus Acidophilus
- Lactobacillus Casei
- Lactobacillus Lactis
- Lactobacillus Paracasei
- Lactobacillus Plantarum
- Lactobacillus Rhamnosus
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus
- Lactobacillus gasserii
Bifidobacterium is another major live probiotic supplements species. This strengthens the gut lining and produces lactic acid, Vitamin B and Vitamin K. Like the lactobacillus strains, these also help enhance the immune system and correct leaky gut conditions. It includes the following strains:
- Bifidobacterium Bifidum
- Bifidobacterium Breve
- Bifidobacterium Lactis
- Bifidobacterium Longum
- Bifidobacterium infantis
How to choose the best probiotic supplement
In view of large numbers of supplements available in the market choosing the best product becomes quite challenging. Mind, that taking probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir etc every day is always a better option. If that is not possible, one must shift to the supplements. While choosing the supplement one must consider the followings, besides looking for potency counts denoted by CFU, or colony forming units, and if it is produced following cGMP practices:
- There should be multiple strains: As different strains works differently, it is better to have a supplement with multiple strains for synergistic working of the strains to improve health.
- Delivery & Packaging system: Supplement full of dead bacteria, or if the bacteria die in the body, is of no use. That is why you have to check the delivery and packaging for ascertaining that the bacteria are alive and remain so till they reach your gut.
- Product Expiration date: This is absolutely vital, as you want the micro organisms live to act in the GI tract. Almost all good brands distinctly mention this. Avoid products that guarantee potency without expiration date.
- Money back guarantee: Always insist for this. Good brands will stand by their product.