A few years ago, probiotics were not something most people knew much, if anything, about. Now? From food packaging to commercials, probiotics are coming at you from every direction. But what exactly is a probiotic and do you really need one?
All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates, Ancient Greek Physician
Why You Need a Probiotic
Probiotic literally translates to “for life.” Our bodies are full of over 1 trillion bacteria, also known as our microbiome. These bacteria work together in harmony to help us digest food, prevent illness, and even help our brain function. It’s a wonderful system, but sometimes the “bad” bacteria starts to outnumber the “good” causing things to go south.
Our bodies’ largest immune system organ is our gut. Probiotics help restore balance to our gut by adding more of the good bacteria.
What Affects the Balance?
There are many factors that play into a healthy microbiome and gut health. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at digesting foods and maintaining healthy levels of probiotics in our gut.
Lifestyle also plays a role in gut health. Stress can really take a toll on your body. Often, people who are under a lot of stress tend to rely on caffeine or alcohol to get through a difficult time, further compounding the issue. Illnesses resulting in taking certain medications can also play a detrimental role in our gut health.
However, the biggest issue affecting most people’s gut health is their diet. Historically, people that ate large quantities of food containing probiotics benefitted with long lives. But now, our food chain is contaminated with GMOs, artificial flavors, pesticides, and generally over-processed, preservative filled foods. Frankly, our guts don’t even know what to do with that!
Probiotics Can Improve Your Quality of Life
While the benefits of probiotics are likely far greater than we even know, there are some advantages that have been well documented scientifically.
- Gut Health: Occasional constipation, diarrhea or bloating are common complaints. Regularly taking a good probiotic can help ease those issues without resulting to over-the-counter medication.
- Overpower Bad Bacteria: When the body is full of good bacteria, it’s difficult for bad bacteria to take hold.
- Immune System Support: Since the largest part of the body’s immune system is in the gut, support good gut health helps to efficiently fight off any attacks.
- Produce B Vitamins: The DDS-1 strain of L. acidophilus has been shown to produce B vitamins. B vitamins, particularly folic acid, are especially important for expectant mothers and children. They support metabolism, help maintain muscle tone, and enhance nervous system function.
How to Choose a Probiotic
When it comes time to choose a probiotic, the options can be overwhelming! They all have different strains of bacteria, plus all the numbers – 1 million, 10 billion, 30 billion. Does the higher number mean a better product? Not really.
The number provided is how many bacteria go into the probiotic. The more telling number is how many bacteria actually make it to your gut. There are many different strands of bacteria, some faring better in the digestive system than others.
I’ve been using Family Flora probiotics. They test every formula for survivability through the gut to make sure that what is put into the product is what is actually delivered.
This post is sponsored by Family Flora. All opinions expressed are my own.
Family Flora also fills their product with prebiotics, which are essentially “food” for your probiotics. Working together, they can help create your healthy gut flora grow to better support your immune system and digestion.
Probably my favorite part of the Family Flora brand is all the different probiotics formulas they offer. Let’s be real – all our bodies are different and need different things to function at their best. I’ve been using Flora Renew, which is formulated to help your body restore gut health after prescription medications. But they have formulas prepared for travelers, senior citizens, kids, daily maintenance and more!
If you’re dealing with sickness, whether gut related or not, try adding a probiotic to your daily regimen!