Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Are You Taking the Right Probiotics?

I'm sure you have heard by now of probiotics as the media is full of information and the store shelves full of products claiming probiotic benefits. While the basic information may be true that foods with probiotics and supplements help support digestive health and re-populate the friendly or good bacteria or flora naturally found in the intestines, this doesn't tell you which products give you the best probiotic boost.

Sources of Probiotics
Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as yogurt, buttermilk, some types of cheese, milk, kefir, drinks made from soy, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sauerkraut and some types of pickles. There are also probiotic supplements available in tablet, capsule, powder or liquid forms. Whether you choose foods or supplements, make sure you read the label and look for products that say they contain live active cultures. Don't just assume that a product, even yogurt, has these because not all do. And frozen yogurt doesn't have any at all. If choosing a probiotic supplement, also read the label or check on the company to see if they list any special certifications or manufacturing processes that insure safety. Since the FDA oversees these type products as foods not medications, the company itself is responsible for overseeing safety and labeling. For example, the company I choose for probiotic supplements manufactures its products on-site in its own NSF Good Manufacturing Practice registered and GMP for Sports registered facilities. GMP insures that these products contain exactly what the label says they do and that each ingredient is thoroughly tested for possible pollutants or contaminants and verified 100% pure.

What To Look For in a Probiotic Supplement
According to Brenda Watson, host of Road To Perfect Health television special, when choosing a probiotic supplement, you need to look at how many live good bacteria cultures are in a serving, look for products that contain a variety of bacterial strains that start with words like lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, capsules that are delayed release so they can make it through the stomach acid, and how potent the cultures are when they reach expiration, not just at manufacture. You also need to be sure you are getting a product that has a high enough culture count for your particular age or health conditions for it to make an impact. For example, if you are between the age of 15 and 49 years, you need at least 15 billion active cultures whereas people over the age of 50 need more like 30 billion. If you have digestive problems like diarrhea or constipation that are ongoing, then you'll need more like 50 billion and some conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome make take 80 billion. It is also a good idea to choose products from a long standing, reputable company since they are more likely to have testing and research over a long period showing the benefits of their products.

My Favorite Probiotic Supplements
The probiotic supplements I have chosen and used myself for over 25 years come from a company that not only uses NSF Good Manufacturing Practice registered and GMP for Sports registered manufacturing, but also produces probiotic products that hold certifications for being Kosher, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and GMO Free. These products also contain inulin, which is a prebiotic to enhance the activity of the probiotic, made from all-natural, non-GMO chicory root, is certified kosher and halal, contains no allergens or gluten, and provides soluble fiber. They are also freeze-dried and manufactured in powder rather than liquid form to preserve and retain the effectiveness of the bacterial organisms. Two of these probiotic products contain a single bacteria strain, acidophilus and bifidus, as these are two of the most desirable. The third product contains twelve key "good bacteria" and all three products are microblended with wild organic AFA bluegreen algae for extra nutrition.

Probiotics are essential to good digestive health and immune system health so make sure you have enough of these good bacteria working for you. You may not be able to eat enough foods with probiotics to get the culture count you need. If this is the case, know that there are high quality probiotic supplements that can help you build up your supply.

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Image courtesy of  nenetus  /  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sources:
http://blog.brendawatson.com/forum/frequently-asked-questions/what-should-you-look-for-in-a-probiotic/
http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/best-probiotics-use
http://www.livestrong.com/article/383282-how-to-choose-a-good-probiotic/

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