What are probiotics and why do they matter?
Probiotics are living microorganisms that can be consumed through fermented foods or supplements. The idea of consuming live microorganisms is often not very appealing as we often consider all bacteria and other microorganisms to be harmful “germs”.
However, this is far from the truth as large numbers of microorganisms naturally live in our bodies and are instrumental in helping our bodies function properly.
For example, bacteria that are normally present in our intestines have been found to be strongly linked to digestive health, immune health and overall health as these bacteria are able to aid in the digestion of food, the destruction of non-beneficial microorganisms and the production of essential vitamins.
This concept of probiotics being beneficial to health was first introduced in the early 20th century by Nobel prize winner Elie Metchinikoff. And since then, there has been countless number of studies and research conducted to study the full extent of probiotic benefits.
So far, most research out there has suggested that there are strong correlations of certain probiotics having positive effects on digestive disorders such as diarrhoea caused by infections and antibiotics, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease and colic in infants.
But beyond just digestive health, probiotics have also been found to be effective in improving overall immunity, oral health and allergic disorders such as eczema and hay fever.
That being said however, not all probiotic are alike and some strains can be more beneficial than others.
The Strains That Matter
LactoBacillus Rhamnosus GG (LGG)
A well-known and researched probiotic strain, LGG is an extremely robust strain that has a high survival rate through gastric juices with a good adhesion to our intestinal walls. Can repeat as maintain.
It is understood to be beneficial in digestion and also immunity as it promotes thicker barriers in our GI tract that help reduce the effects of IBS and incidence of infection. It has also been found to be associated with the effective treatment of eczema, allergies and Crohn’s disease.
Lactobacillus Acidophilus NCFM
One of the most extensively researched strains in the world, Lactobacillus Acidophilus NCFM has been found to be effective in reducing pain and bloating associated with IBS and diarrhoea caused by bacterial and viral infections.
Additionally, there has also been emerging research that suggests that the strain is also able to help boost the number of antibodies in our immune system, leading to better immunity against bacterial or viral infections.
With benefits to both digestive health and the immune system, and extensive research to back it up, it is little wonder that this probiotic strain is often hailed as the best probiotic strain in the world.
Bifidobacterium Lactis BI04
Various studies have focused on the effectiveness of the probiotic strain in supporting immune function and improving gastro-intestinal function through the stabilisation of gut bacteria.
The strain has also been found to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of diarrhoea caused by antibiotics.
Probiotics are only effective if they are alive, so often one of the major concerns about commercial probiotic products is whether the strains used are able to survive through excess heat during the packaging and handling process and gastric juices during consumption.
Thankfully, all three strains boasts superior stability against high temperatures with high survival rates through gastric juices, enzymes and bile. The three strains have also found to exhibit good adhesion to our intestinal walls - making them ideal probiotic strains for consumption.