A Brief Introduction to Probiotics
You’ve probably heard of gut health by now, but what you don’t know, is how serious it is. Nearly 70 million Americans struggle with digestive diseases; the gut is where 80% of your immune system lives, so it’s hard to not connect the two. That’s why we care about gut health, and prioritize it in our doh.
The lining of your gut, like every surface of your body, is covered in microscopic bacteria. This ecosystem is called your microbiome, and it lives in your intestines. It’s incredibly intelligent. It keeps your body in balance and performs a number of functions - some microbes, aka friendly bacteria or probiotics - absorb and create vitamins, and others fight off pathogens, among many other functions.
We are learning that what we feed the microbiome might have the biggest impact on our overall health. To maintain a healthy microbiome, we must balance the ~1000 species of bacteria by nourishing the microbes already there through prebiotics, and adding living microbes directly (probiotics). Probiotics are live organisms that add to the population of your gut microbes, good bacteria that help promote a healthy digestive tract and a healthy immune system, as well as fight disease. A robust digestive tract can filter out harmful chemicals and toxins, helping us feel and be our best.
Why should you care?
Most people are deficient in probiotics, killed off by antibiotics in medications, pesticides, factory raised meat, and other toxins. Probiotics help us with digestion, metabolism, immunity, protein utilization (and athletic recovery), and more. Without them, we become vulnerable and predisposed to allergies as well as a multitude of chronic and autoimmune diseases. More easily and immediately, we can feel lethargic, bloated, and far from our best.
What do you do?
There are lifestyle hacks, yes, but most germs reside in our gut, so food is key. Eat foods rich in probiotics and explore supplements. Probiotics come in different species - the first part of the name of each) and strains, and a variety contributes to optimal health. To live themselves, they feed on prebiotics. You can eat them through high quality soil (no, don’t eat spoonfuls of soil), as the Bacillus species is soil based and easily passes through the gut (though this means you need an ongoing supply), killing off harmful organisms. However, this requires you to be eating locally grown organic carrots, washed but not scrubbed.
Alternatively, you can consume two common species through fermented foods. For gut health maintenance, you should intake about 50 billion colony forming units (sounds funny, right?) or CFUs. Some supplements include prebiotic fibers like acacia gum, which helps them survive.
Some foods rich in probiotics include yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kvass, kombucha, raw cheese, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods. A lot of these foods are very high in sodium or sugar, not tolerated by the body in bulk, or just not foods you might love the taste of on a very regular basis. So, trying supplements or products that incorporate probiotics in them, is a great way to integrate them into your routine. A variety of probiotics is great, but it isn’t necessarily important to have multiple or blended strains over a single, high quality strain.
We use GanedenBC30, an innovative probiotics company with a science-backed strain that is effective and safe, having been supported by 25+ peer-reviewed clinical studies, and shown to survive gastric transit 10 times more successfully than standard yogurt cultures. The single strain is well recognized - in over 750 food and beverage products worldwide, and facilitates benefits around digestive, immune, and protein utilization support. The strain is Non-GMO, kosher, halal, gluten free, vegan, and remains stable and effective through processing and heat - like in baking cookies!
You can learn more about Ganeden on their website, a great place to take in trustworthy information and resources.