Understanding Probiotics – Different Strains for Different Needs

Probiotics are the good guy bacteria that your digestive system needs to function properly. Studies suggest that a diet rich in beneficial flora can help tame lactose intolerance, gas, diarrhea, bloating, and other digestive issues.

They play a vital role in how well the nutrients you consume are utilized by your body and help prevent you from getting sick. If you’re not getting enough, your quality of life may suffer dire consequences.

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Unfortunately today, most people are bombarded by the consumption of the modern diet, which does your body no favors. This happens within minutes of consuming chlorinated water, sugar, artificial additives, a vast assortment of chemicals and antibiotics, and other toxic sources that destroy healthy flora. It is an almost certainty that today most people’s gut flora are not in check!

Bacteria (single celled microorganisms) are found everywhere! They exist in water, the soil, in plants, and are found in most parts of your body. They outnumber the actual cells in your body by a landslide; about 10 to 1. Your skin and digestive system by themselves host about 2,000 different strains.

There are fewer bacteria in the stomach than in other parts of the digestive system. Your stomach contains acids that are needed to break foods down but it also prevents a lot of the good guy bacteria from reaching the rest of the gut. To ensure that enough of the good guys make it to your intestinal tract, you have to find the bacteria strain that helps you the most. Since we all have different genetics, what works tops for me may not work best for you!

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Why your Body is Dependent on Probiotics

When the good guy bacteria is plentiful, there is a balance of microflora in your intestines, which in turn helps destroy harmful yeasts like candida. They improve calcium absorption, enhance the synthesis of the B complex of vitamins, and help finish digesting your food. Everyone needs them and that includes you!

When toxins take host in your body, probiotics step into action! Since they take residence in the mucosal lining of the gut, they form a barrier between the gut and the bloodstream. In this way, they are your first line of defense against harmful invaders.

Most of your immunity lies in the walls of your intestines, known as the GALT or gut associated lymphoid tissue. That means that your defenses can’t function properly without the good bacteria. They keep the bowels healthy, produce vitamin K and the B vitamins, break down food particles, reduce allergic responses to foods, and prevent yeast overgrowth. Gut flora also converts unused sugars to specific types of fatty acids that are used to regenerate more good bacteria.

Because the good flora destroys the bad flora, they also help stimulate the secretion of the Immunoglobulin A; an antibody that fights infection.

Recent research suggests that different strains of probiotics have different influences, so it’s important to know what you’re buying.

Foods That Supply Probiotics

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Which Strains of Probiotics Help the Most?

Some strains of bacteria improve digestion, while others help burn fat. Still, other strains help produce helper T cells, which are important to immunity. Because they all have a specific purpose and active role, it’s important to consume a wide variety of strains with high numbers! In other words, the more strains and higher numbers there are, the more benefits they supply. Specifically, lactobacillus and bifidobacteria appear to be the leaders of the pack!

Lactobacilli favor the small intestine while bifidobacteria tends to migrate to the large intestine. Ensuring that you’re getting both strains with your probiotics is vital to good health.

The most powerful strains include:

  • Lactobacillus plantarum - Recognized as one of the most impactful probiotic strains around, Lactobacillus plantarum 299v not only survives passage through the stomach, but actually thrives in acidic environments. It is also one of the only probiotics on the market that can help plug up holes left along the intestinal tract from intestinal disorders like colitis and crohns and from consuming GMO foods!
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus – Maintains the integrity of the intestinal walls which in turn maximizes the absorption of nutrients. Supports a healthy immunity.

  • Lactobacillus fermentum – Neutralizes toxic byproducts made during digestion. Promotes a balance of gut bacteria.

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus – Are extremely effective against getting what’s known as traveler’s diarrhea or Montezuma’s revenge. If you’re going to a third world country where bacteria is plentiful, you’ll need to take them with you!

  • Bifidobacteria bifidum – Are critical for healthy digestion in the large and small intestine. Also assists digestion of dairy products specifically.

  • Bifidobacteria longum – Replaces bad bacteria known to cause gas and bloating. Neutralizes toxins in the gut. Assists in the breakdown of carbohydrates without producing gas.

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    What Your Probiotics Label Tells You

    Reading labels is not a favorite pastime for most people but it’s monumentally important when you’re choosing a product. The label should always contain the genus, species, and strain for each one of the probiotics within the product.

    The product label should also indicate the health benefits, suggested serving size, (which you may need more or less of), an expiration date, (extremely important) and the number of live microorganisms that are delivered with each serving. Levels are typically communicated as colony forming units or CFU’s.

    Lastly, proper storage conditions and corporate contact information should also be clearly visible.

    There's no doubt that in today's world, people are in desperate need of help digesting the quick-bite foods that have overtaken the food industry. It is quite a relief to recognize that there are still some good guys out there! Probiotics can work miracles in your body and make your life better - in more ways than you may ever realize.

    Always consult your physician before using natural remedies, especially for anyone with preexisting conditions or anyone currently taking prescription medications. Although many efforts are made to ensure that the advice given on this site is professionally sound, the advice is not intended to replace a mutual relationship with a medical provider.

    Related Pages on This Site

    Raw Foods Diet – A Healthy Way to Lose Weight

    Eat Fiber Rich Foods to Lose Weight

    Avoid Digestive Problems by Eating Right!

    Digestive Problems – Foods to Avoid & Foods to Include

    Intestinal Bacteria - Rejuvenate with Rejuvelac!

    Eat More High Fiber Food – Good Sources

    High Fiber Diet to Increase Soluble Fiber


    Digestive Health and Probiotic Strains

    How to Choose a Probiotic

    Lactobaccilus Plantarum 299

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