Probiotics are one of the top most commonly used natural products on the market today. In a 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) it was reported that 1.6% or 3.9 million U.S. adults used probiotics or prebiotics in the 30 days prior to the report, a number that was four times higher than in 2007.

History of Probiotics

  • Early 1900’s: Russian scientist and Nobel prize winner Elie Mechnikoff was intrigued with studying centenarians, people who’ve lived past the age of 100. In his studies, he discovered favorable health effects and improved longevity of Bulgarian villagers who consumed a fermented yogurt drink on a daily basis containing the lactic acid producing probiotic Lactobacillus bulgaricus. Mechnikoff suggested that “oral administration of cultures of fermentative bacteria would implant the beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract”, a concept for which he later became known as the “father of the probiotics”.
  • 1965: The term “probiotic” was introduced by Lilley and Stillwell to describe growth promoting factors produced by microorganisms, the opposite of antibiotic.
  • 1974: Parker used the term to describe the food supplement as “organisms and substances which contribute to intestinal microbial balance”
  • 1989: Fuller modified Parker’s definition to “live microbial feed supplement which beneficially affects the host animal by improving it’s intestinal microbial balance”.
  • 2001: a simpler definition was proposed by an International Life Sciences Institute Europe consensus document which described probiotics as “viable microbial food supplements which beneficially influence the health of humans”.

Benefits of Probiotics

Large numbers of microorganisms live on and in our bodies. The human intestinal tract contains 100 trillion microorganisms, 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body!

Many diseases have been linked with bacterial imbalance in the gut such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Depression and Anxiety, Chronic Fatigue, Thyroid issues, Psoriasis, and even Cancer. While we are only just beginning to learn about the importance and role of our microbiome, we do know that there are many health benefits of probiotics.

  • Healing from inflammatory bowel disease and leaky gut
  • Improvement of IBS, IBD, and Crohn’s
  • Allergy relief (food and environmental)
  • Supporting and modulating the immune system
  • Crowding out pathogenic bacteria, yeast, and fungus
  • Aiding in digestion and breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
  • Production of vitamins such as B12, Biotin, Folate, and Vitamin K
  • Production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, GABA, acetylcholine, and
  • catecholamines
  • Boost mood and lessen depression, anxiety, bi-polar, and schizophrenia symptoms
  • Reduction in serum cholesterol
  • Anti-carcinogenic
  • Manage autism
  • Healthier skin
  • Improvement of yeast infections and vaginal dysbiosis
  • Improved oral health and better breath
  • Weight Loss

The word “probiotic” originates from the Latin, meaning “for life” therefore it’s not surprising that there are so many health benefits linked to their usage.

How to Use Probiotics

  • Strains:
    -Lactobacillus- most commonly L. acidophilus and L. plantarum are found on the          small intestine
    -Bifidobacterium- such as B. lactus, B. bifidum, B. longum are strains that generally      reside in the large intestine
    -Saccharomyces- S. boulardii is a type of yeast probiotic that can be used to manage diarrhea, Clostridium difficile, SIBO, and other gastrointestional problems
  • Look for brands that have a diverse strain composition.
  • Potency: Look for brands that contain high CFUs or colony forming units. This refers to the amount of probiotic contained in each dose. We recommend at least 30 billion CFUs and we carry brands that have as high as 350 billion CFUs
  • Packaging: Look for brands that are resealable or that are individually wrapped to ensure stability of the product and minimize exposure to light and air.
  • Timing: When to take a probiotic can differ depending on why you are taking it. In general it is usually best to take it with food so that the food can act as a buffer to the highly acidic environment in the stomach. It can also be beneficial during meals with prebiotics or fiber that nourish the good bacteria in the gut. When taking probiotics during antibiotic usage it’s best to take at opposite times so that they do not cancel each other out.

We recommend working with a healthcare provider to choose which probiotics would be best for your individual needs. You can purchase high quality probiotics on our online store.