If you’ve been taught to view bacteria as a bad thing, you’re only half right. There are both good and bad bacteria in your body. Seem confusing? Not sure where to start? We’ve broken down the most common questions as it relates to digestive health and probiotics below.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics, in short, are “good” bacteria that naturally exist in cultured or fermented foods (like yogurt, certain cheeses, and sauerkraut) that offer benefits for your digestive system. Probiotics crowd out unwanted organisms lingering in the digestive tract and allow more of the “good” bacteria to be present in your gut.
Why Do We Need Probiotics?
Probiotics normally live in a healthy balance with other bacteria in our intestine. However, sometimes this balance may be disrupted by certain factors such as chronic stress, poor nutrition, unsanitary environment, aging, traveling, etc. Consuming probiotic bacteria in foods and/or through a supplement, can support digestive balance in the gut as well as regularity. Using a probiotic supplement is a great way to increase your intake of "good" bacteria and help support your digestive balance and healthy gut flora.†
What Are The Different Strains Of Probiotics & What Do CFUs Mean?
Colony forming units, or CFU’s, refers to the amount of live and viable microorganisms that are in each serving of the probiotic product. When choosing a probiotic supplement, it is best to check the label for CFU’s that are guaranteed through the product shelf life, rather than at time of manufacture.
Probiotics are classified by their genus, species, and you may see the specific strain as well. For example: Lactobacillus (genus) plantarum (species) 299V (strain). Lactobacillus species, Bifidobacterium species, certain Bacillus species and yeasts are commonly used for their probiotic benefits. This beneficial bacteria works by creating a healthy gastrointestinal environment in the gut microbiome.† Some probiotics have strain specific claims supported by well-designed human clinical studies.
Lactobacilli (like LP 299V) are the heroes of your upper intestinal tract. These probiotic organisms thrive in environments with low oxygen (like the small intestine), so when they're consumed, they go straight to where they're needed, pushing out harmful bacteria to further support digestive balance.†
Bifidobacterium Lactis SD-5674
Unlike lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria will vie for dominance in the large intestine. Again, by curbing the populations of "bad" bacteria, these healthy bacteria are able to deliver digestive benefits like building and supporting regularity.†
Bacillus Coagulans IS-2
Bacillus coagulans IS-2 helps decrease the pH in the gut microbiome, which helps to crowd out the bad bacteria.† It is a heat resistant probiotic strain specifically featured in our Adult Gummies, because it is able to survive the heat of the production process.
Consuming probiotics in your diet isn’t difficult, especially if you’re a fan of fermented foods. They are the most natural source of probiotics available. Fermenting is simply a process that helps to preserve food. The benefits are not only a nice variety of “good” bacterium, but also omega-3s, enzymes, and B vitamins. If you’ve ever eaten a pickle, you’ve eaten a fermented food!
Some great foods to boost your intake of probiotic organisms include:
Yogurt; arguably the most versatile option!
How Do I Choose the Right Probiotic Product for Me?
Each probiotic type confers different health benefits. To select the probiotic that is right for you, there are a few tips to keep in mind:
Purchase your probiotic vitamins from a well-known brand that you know and trust. A trusted brand will disclose the probiotic strain used in product formulation, as well as provide a website and toll free number on the label to address consumer questions.
Read product labels to ensure it is describing the health benefit you are seeking. The probiotics benefits are vast, yet each strain is unique and has a specific use.
Check the label for potency measured through product shelf life rather than “at time of manufacture.” This ensures that microorganisms in the probiotic nutritional supplements you choose to take are alive and viable in the gut.
Confirm with the brand or manufacturer that the CFU’s in the product for purchase are supported by clinical research.
How Nature Made Probiotics Address a Variety of Digestive Concerns
Nature Made Advanced Dual Action Probiotic provides two high-quality, scientifically-studied probiotics. Lactobacillus plantarum 299V works in the small intestine to naturally help relieve occasional gas, bloating and abdominal discomfort.† Bifidobacterium lactis SD-5674 works in the large intestine to naturally help relieve occasional constipation and irregularity.† This dual action probiotic is gentle enough for everyday use to receive the best results.
Nature Made Multi-Strain 12 Ultra Probiotic provides comprehensive coverage with 12 probiotic strains that help support a healthy gut flora with just one capsule daily. Nature Made Multi-Strain 12 Probiotic provides 30 Billion CFUs of live probiotic strains per serving,‡ and predominantly consists of Lactobacillus plantarum LP-115, Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-14, Lactobacillus paracasei LPC-37, and Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, while all other strains are designed to deliver at least 0.25 billion CFU at the end of shelf life.
‡2x the CFUs of Nature Made® Advanced Dual Action Probiotics (different strains).
Nature Made® Digestive Probiotic Ultra-Strength Gummies with Bacillus coagulans IS-2 naturally helps support digestive health.† Each serving contains 2X the CFUs of other Nature Made Probiotic Gummies, providing at least 8 billion live bacteria cells per serving.
Nature Made Dual Action Probiotic + Energy‡† B12 Gummies are perfect for adults who want a tastier, more pleasant way to take probiotics for gut health support.† These delicious raspberry and cherry flavored gummies provide 4 billion live bacteria cells of Bacillus coagulans IS-2 that naturally help support digestive health and 1000 mcg of Vitamin B12 to support cellular energy production.†
If you’ve decided probiotic supplementation is right for you, check out our article on how to get the most out of taking probiotics.