There are lots of good and bad bugs in your body – are the bad ones bugging you? It’s like a blockbuster action movie, the epic battle between good and evil that wages inside your body everyday. Inside your mouth, intestines, urinary tract – and for women vaginal tract – there are 100 trillion bugs fighting to claim a space in your body. Collectively, scientists call this throng of microbes your microbiome.
Who is winning? You can tell by how well you feel. According to a 2014 review, the microbiome (the microorganisms in a particular environment, including the body or a part of the body) influences the body’s health in many ways: from dental cavities to digestive gas, and from eczema to your mood. The microbes in your gut can seriously affect your health. Grab some popcorn, and keep reading. Find out how to defeat the villains and win back your health!
Like a galaxy, your body is a vast place in which microbes are trying to find a space to call their own. The villains in this battle are bad microbes, such as E. coli or Salmonella. They spew out harmful substances and are disruptive to the body. The heroes are probiotics, including those in the Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria family. According to the peer-reviewed Gastroenterologist’s Guide to Probiotics, probiotics do a lot of things to keep your body healthy: they aid in the digestion of food, absorption of nutrients and modulation of the immune system. Probiotics also ward off bad microbes. Amazing! Sounds like probiotics are not just heroes, but superheroes.
Ensuring the vast reaches of your microbiome are infiltrated by superheroes requires a microbiome hosting a variety of probiotic species. For example, Bifidobacteria prefer to roam the lower intestine, while Lactobacilli are present in Health First® ProBio Supreme contains some extremely well researched species including Lactobacilli plantarum, Lactobacilli acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum.
Like all epic battles, numbers can be a factor. Measured in colony forming units (CFUs), probiotics offer health benefits when administered in adequate amounts. A good source of probiotics is Health First® ProBio Supreme, which contains 55 Billion CFUs per capsule. That’s a lot of fighting power to challenge whatever’s bugging you.
But how do you choose a probiotic?
1) Make a Match
If you desire a specific health benefit (e.g. antibiotic associated diarrhea relief), seek out the probiotic species whose effects match your needs.
2) Be Diverse
For general health, consider that a person’s gut contains a diverse number of probiotics. A multi-species probiotic supplement promotes a favourable gut flora.
3) Get Adequate Amounts
To be effective, probiotics have to be administered in adequate amounts. Health Canada recommends a minimum dosage of 10 billion CFUs.
Choose a supplement brand with probiotic species backed by science and known for high standards in purity and potency. Human strain sourced species provide excellent adherence, meaning they will take residency in the gut (we want that!).
5) Watch for Allergens
If you’re allergic to dairy, gluten or soy be sure to choose a probiotic free of common allergens.
6) Ask for Help
Quality health food retailers have qualified staff in store to help you choose a supplement.
May the ‘good microbes’ be with you!