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How To Choose An Effective Probiotic
6/17/2020 6:02:20 AM

 
 
Supplemental probiotics have many benefits, not least of which they strengthen your immune system and can harden your body’s defenses against a pandemic illness like the coronavirus. Being as there are hundreds of beneficial bacteria, getting the right product can be difficult. This article will provide recommendations for choosing the best probiotic to meet your needs.  
 
You Need Bacteria That Are Alive 
The most important issue when choosing a probiotic is whether the bacteria are alive when you take them. Unfortunately, many manufacturers don’t invest in the technology to ensure that probiotic bacteria will survive exposure to temperature, humidity, and pH changes. This is the reason some products are only guaranteed to be alive at the time of packaging, but better quality products will be guaranteed through the expiration date. This means the bacteria are packaged in a way that keeps them alive and they have undergone strenuous testing ensuring viability through expiration.  
 
You Need A Probiotic That Can Survive The Journey Through The  Stomach 
Another key issue is whether the bacteria can survive the low pH of stomach acid and reach the GI tract alive. Fortunately, studies have identified which strains are able to adhere to intestinal cells and repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria. Companies have developed technology that avoids breakdown in the stomach, allowing the bacteria to reach the intestines alive. One research review found that if a company doesn’t have a manufacturing process specifically designed to ensure the bacteria are alive and uncontaminated, they are unlikely to be effective and should be viewed with caution (1).  
 
You Need Billions of Bacteria  
Also important is the fact that because there are so many bacteria in the gut (trillions!), you need a probiotic that supplies a LOT of live bacteria. Bactria are counted in terms of colony forming units (CFUs). One CFU equals one bacterium capable of dividing and forming colonies. Research shows a minimum of 5 billion CFUs a day is necessary to get any benefit and people who are overcoming an unhealthy gut or want to repopulate their GI tract after antibiotics need significantly more CFUs daily (2).  
 
You Need A Strain Specific Probiotic 
Figuring out which probiotic to take can be a challenge. There are many different strains of bacteria and studies show that benefits are strain specific meaning that a product that is designed to treat antibiotic-induced diarrhea may not have metabolic or neurological benefits. Likewise, certain strains improve nutrient absorption and regulate gut permeability, whereas others are more geared at raising the number of pathogen-fighting immune cells. Therefore, its critical that you get a product that contains a strain that matches with your health situation. What follows is a list of probiotic strains with strong evidence to back up their use (1, 3, 4, 5, 6): 
 
Ingredient 
Function 
When To Use It 
Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14® 
Increases absorption of nutrients.  
 
Supports immune cell function.  
 
Displaces harmful bacteria in the GI tract.  
Following bacterial illness such as E. coli, C. diff., or H. pylori.  
 
Following antibiotic treatment to repopulate the gut.  
 
For immune support.  
 
To overcome depression.  
Bifidobacterium longum BI-05 
Has anti-inflammatory effects.  
 
Supports immune cell function.  
 
Increases absorption of nutrients.  
To counter “leaky gut.” 
 
For immune support.  
 
To increase nutrient status.  
Lactobacillus plantarum?Lp-115® 
Increases absorption of nutrients.  
 
Counters harmful pathogens in the GI tract.  
 
Increases immune function.  
 
Has anti-inflammatory effects.  
Following bacterial illness such as E. coli, C. diff., or H. pylori.  
 
For immune support.  
 
To overcome depression.  
Bifidobacterium lactis HN019® 
Enhances immune cell function.  
 
Protects against pathogens.  
 
Increases gut transit time.  
 
Has anti-inflammatory effects.  
 
To overcome constipation.  
 
To overcome IBS symptoms.  
 
For immune support.  
 
For metabolic benefits (lower LDL cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity) 
Saccharomyces Boulardii 
Enhances immune cell function.  
 
Protects against pathogens.  
 
Increases gut transit time.  
 
Has anti-inflammatory effects.  
 
Fights off bacterial toxins.   
During antibiotic treatment to maintain healthy bacteria.  
 
When suffering diarrhea.  
 
To overcome constipation.  
 
For immune support. 
 
Following bacterial illness such as E. coli, C. diff., or H. pylori.  
  
? Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® 
Enhances immune cell function.  
 
Inhibits ß-glucuronidase. 
 
Increases gut transit time.  
 
Has anti-inflammatory effects.  
For immune support.  
 
To overcome constipation.  
 
To overcome IBS symptoms (bloating, nausea, abdominal pain).  
 
To counter “leaky gut.” 
 
To improve estrogen metabolism.  
 
Safe and effective for children. 
Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 
Increases immune cell function.  
 
Has anti-inflammatory effects.  
For immune support.  
 
Helps reduce symptoms of the cold.  
 
Safe and effective for children.  
 
Use A Multi-Strain Probiotic To Amplify Benefits 
Many products use multiple strains to maximize the therapeutic effect, increasing populations of healthy bacteria and reducing harmful “bugs” that have been linked to health problems (7, 8). For example, we have designed four multi-strain probiotics that can be used in specific situations:  
 
Proflora Chewables provides two strains that support the immune system and have been shown to reduce the duration of the common cold in children and the elderly (3, 6). It supports overall gut health and can be used to counter constipation (2). It is a chewable product that provides 15 billion CFUS making it great for daily use. 
 
Our Proflora Excellence 2.0 is great for general immune, metabolic, and neurological health. It’s another daily use probiotic that can be used to combat depression and boost mood, overcome insulin resistance, and support immune cell response (9, 10, 11, 12).  
 
Mega Proflora provides the same four bacterial strains as Proflora Excellence but with three times as many live bacteria making it ideal for “front loading” gut health and supporting immunity in people with a compromised immune system, such as the elderly, those recovering from cancer, or individuals with underlying health conditions (9, 10, 11, 12).   
 
Proflora Excellence SB (https://main.poliquinstore.com/foundation-21/probiotics/proflora-excellence-sb) provides the therapeutic yeast saccharomyces boulardii that survives antibiotics and has been shown to support immunity and overcome diarrhea making it your go to when on a course of antibiotics (13, 14, 15). S. boulardii may be contraindicated for people with a central venous catheter. If this is you, speak with your doctor before supplementing (14).  
 
All of our Poliquin Probiotics are guaranteed viable through the date of expiration. They have been specially designed to ensure they are alive when you take them and will survive the digestive tract to reach the intestines where they can have maximum benefit.  
References
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