Guide to good gut health Part 3 – Demystifying Probiotics

pillsProbiotics are live microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, which when taken in large enough quantities, help improve and maintain the health of your gastrointestinal tract. You only have to head to your nearest chemist, supermarket or health food store to find probiotics, which may come as tablets, powders, drinks and yoghurt. Probiotics are safe to consume as we alreadybacteria have these populations of bacteria naturally occuring in our gut.

Question:   Am I doing the right thing in taking probiotics?

Answer:      It depends on what STRAIN you are taking and WHY

There are many probiotic strains and they are classified in a uniform manner

Genus -> Species -> Strain

for example:- Lactobacillus (Genus) acidophilus (Species) NCFM (Strain)

Not only does each genus and species vary in its function, so too do individual strains. With the flurry of research into probiotic strains, it has become evident that each strain has a different function.  It is vital to ensure that the correct probiotic is taken for a specific condition. One probiotic  strain is not assumed to be as effective for a particular condition as an another.

Below is an example of the research results of just a few probiotic strains and their function (references are available on request)

Lactobacillus acidophilus (NCFM) Enhanced immunity / elevating serum IgA (See Guide to Good Gut Health P1)
Bifidobacterium lactis (HN019) Promotes growth of beneficial bacteria / maintain healthy immune system
L. rhamnosus (HN001) Boosts natural immunity
Bifidobacterium lactis (Bi-04) 27% reduction in Upper Respiratory Tract  Infections
L. rhamnosus (LGG) Reduces eczema and allergies
L. plantarum (299)v IBS pain reduction / improvement in stool frequency
Saccharomyces cerevisiae (boulardii) Reduces symptoms of dysbiosis including diarrhoea and constipation maintaining healthy mucosal biofilm populations / reduces incidence of travellers diarrhoea / clears candida / Blastocystis h. 77% cured 10 days, 94.4% at 1 month

To ensure the effectiveness of taking probiotics the following needs to be considered:-

  • The Dose – is it in a high enough quantity to be therapeutic?
  • Quality – is it from a quality Australian manufacturer?
  • The species and strain – is it appropriate for your condition?
  • Viability – is there a guarantee that the bacteria are alive when you take it?

Probiotics are proving to be beneficial to overall health when taken appropriately. Consult a qualified natural medicine practitioner or me for the most appropriate probiotic for your health.