Here are the three main things you should know about probiotics:
1. There are different sources and types/strains of probiotics.
The World Health Organization and other experts define probiotics as live bacteria that confer health benefits when consumed in adequate numbers. Each strain of bacteria is different, and only those that confer a benefit and are present in adequate doses earn the title “probiotic.” In other words, all probiotics are bacteria but not all bacteria are probiotics. Probiotics can be found in supplements and foods. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, cheeses, kimchi, tempeh, miso and tamari often contain good bacteria, some of which might be probiotics.
Although each strain is different, probiotics can be divided into two categories:
Spore-forming probiotics, like bacillus coagulans, are strains that have the ability to form hard shells around the bacteria and protect them from harsh, environmental factors like hot temperatures and acidic environments.
Non-spore-forming probiotics, like some forms of lactobacillus, are not as resistant to changes in temperature and the acidic gastric environment and therefore, may not be available for absorption in the small intestines.
No matter what strain or type of probiotic you are consuming, the most common unit of measurement for probiotics is colony-forming units (CFUs). This is how many of the probiotics are viable, and able to divide and grow into colonies (a good thing!). Most research on probiotics is done on 1 to 20 billion CFUs. American Academy of Family Physicians. (2008). Probiotics. Accessed on 2/26/16 from: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2008/1101/p1073.html
2. What we know about the function of probiotics, more research needs to be done on how they work.
Probiotics can help by supporting the healthy bacteria in your gut, if taken in adequate amounts. Preliminary research suggests they can help support your gastrointestinal tract. Parvez, S.  Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health. Journal of Applied Microbiolgy. 100: 1171-1185. Our bodies contain trillions of microbes (called the microbiota) that make up our personal bacterial environment called microbiome. These bacteria help fight off germs and break down food. Our microbiome can become challenged through factors such as antibiotic use, poor diet or traveling, etc. Probiotics are living microorganisms that when taken in sufficient amounts, can help support the bacteria that live with us.
3. When choosing the right probiotic for you, consider why you need it and how you will faithfully consume it.
Researchers have found that the benefits of probiotics are very diversified and not one-size-fits-all, different strains can provide unique health benefits. Therefore, when choosing a probiotic, consider the reason you’re taking it and work with a healthcare provider to find one that has been specifically studied and identified to help.
Even if you find the right one for you, no probiotic is beneficial if it’s simply going to sit in your medicine cabinet, pantry or refrigerator. Along with identifying the best strain for your health situation, consider the recommended dosage and make sure it fits with your lifestyle—don’t buy a probiotic that needs refrigeration if you travel 363 days of the year and live out of your suitcase.
Probiotics in Vega One® Organic All-in-One Shake: bacillus coagulans
Each serving of Vega One® Organic contains 2 billion CFU of dairy-free, spore-forming bacillus coagulans.
Major Benefit of Bacillus Coagulans:
- It can survive through harsh environmental conditions
While other types of probiotic strains can die during transportation, storage or digestion, bacillus coagulans survives the varying changes in temperature (like sitting on your pantry shelf), and the acidic environment of the stomach, allowing them to enter your gut.
Enjoy Vega One® Organic All-in-One Shake in your routine as a delicious way to consume probiotics. Bottoms up!