Probiotics 101

Probiotics 101

How effective are supplements, really? Well, it all depends on what the supplement contains. But when it comes to probiotics, you’re investing in one of the best remedies available in supplement form— even up there on the list with vitamins and minerals!

Like any supplement, you’ll also want to focus on the most reliable and highest quality brands: ones that contain ingredients you know will work the best for you and your health. With probiotics, this is no exception.

If you’re exploring the benefits of probiotics for the very first time, you’ve come to the right place. Though probiotics are one of the most effective supplements you can buy, making sure you’re buying the right one— and with the right ingredients—means everything.

What are probiotics?

Probiotics come from Greek and Latin words “pro” and “bio,” meaning “for life.” This describes exactly what probiotics do. Whether found in supplement form, probiotic-fortified foods, or other products, they’re full of body-friendly bacteria that help our digestive system function better.

These bacteria colonize our digestive tracts to both strengthen digestion and reduce  disease risk, pathogens, and infections. Probiotic supplements, which can be taken daily for improving gut health, have risen greatly in popularity in recent years. You can also find probiotics in yogurt, kefir, sour cream, kombucha, and other fermented foods.

Why should I take probiotics or a probiotic supplement?

What are the benefits of taking probiotic supplements? To list a few:

  • Better digestion
  • Better nutrient absorption
  • Lowered nutrient deficiencies and anemia
  • Better skin health
  • Lowered risk of yeast infections or imbalances
  • Reduced risk of digestive illness or infections
  • Increased immune system
  • Improved mood and mental health
  • Supplemental recovery for antibiotic overdose

 

What to look for in a probiotic supplement

Despite what labels may say, not all probiotics are the same. Before you choose which supplement to buy and take, here are a few details to look out for.

  • The bacteria strains that your supplement contains. Lactobacillus type are the best strains— look out for them on ingredient labels. Bacillus strains, too, are highly preferred, as they are spore-forming and very protective of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • The more strains, the better. In nature, wildlife diversity means the strongest ecosystems. The same goes for your gut. The more probiotic bacteria introduced to your microbiome through your supplement, the more robust your gut health will be.
  • Delayed release capsules. Proper probiotic bacteria are most effective when they colonize the lower intestines, and not your stomach, where they are mostly destroyed by bile. Investing in a delayed release capsule ensures your probiotics won’t go to waste being released right after they’re taken.
  • Prebiotic ingredients included. Remember: probiotics are living things! They need to eat. Including “prebiotics” in a supplement ensures that your probiotic bacteria will have nourishment as soon as they reach your digestive tract. Prebiotics are typically a plant-based soluble or insoluble fiber included in your supplement (and these prebiotics are good for you, too).

If you’re just now getting interested in all that probiotics offer, your gut health will soon thank you— that is, if you choose the best supplement!

Probiotics give plenty of benefits to one of the most central and important systems in your body. If you choose your probiotic wisely, all your body will benefit in the long run.