Have you heard the term probiotic before?
Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for you, especially for your digestive system. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy. Probiotics stimulate the growth of beneficial microorganisms in your intestinal system. It’s astounding how many health benefits these little microorganisms offer us.
Science is just now learning the massive importance of taking probiotics in determining our health, weight, moods, and other bodily functions.
The Many Health Benefits of Taking Probiotics
Research shows taking probiotics, also known as “beneficial gut bacteria,” deliver the following benefits:
- Improves and aid digestion.
- Calms irritable bowel syndrome.
- Helps heal a leaky gut (intestinal permeability).
- Boosts the immune system. Note: 70% of the body’s immune cells are located in the intestinal tract.
- Improve brain function.
- Counteracts inflammation and control the growth of disease-causing bacteria.
- Produces vitamins, absorb minerals, and eliminate toxins.
- Controls asthma and reduce the risk of allergies.
- Benefits your mood and mental health.
- Normalizes your weight.
- Plus, a lot more!
Obviously, probiotics are good for us, but what are the different probiotics? And what functions do they perform in our bodies?
Microorganisms living within our bodies:
- Probiotics: microorganisms that positively influence the body, particularly the digestive system.
- Pathobiotics: microorganisms that harm the body.
- Eubiotics: harmful or helpful to the body, depending upon the size and location of the colony.
One of the most important ways microflora promotes health comes by existing in large numbers. Like characters in a wild west movie, the good bacteria says to the villain-like undesirable bacteria, “there’s not enough room in this town for the both of us.”
Fermented foods are one of the main ways people have been getting enough healthy bacteria for thousands of years.
Traditional probiotic-rich, fermented foods include:
- Kefir, miso, tempeh
- Kombucha tea
Unfortunately, most diets don’t include enough fermented foods. One reason why it’s recommended to take a probiotic supplement.
Five Compelling Reasons For Taking Probiotics:
1. Antibiotic Use
Use of antibiotics is the most common cause of imbalance in normal microflora populations. Because antibiotics aren’t specific in what bacteria they kill, they wipe out both harmful and helpful bacteria throughout our system. That leaves us more vulnerable to organisms resistant to antibiotics.
Research shows that the populations of beneficial microflora steadily decline with increasing age in both men and women. In addition, research shows an increase in undesirable microorganisms in post-menopausal women.
3. Diet Having the right balance of good bacteria in your body helps with things like digestion, memory, immunity, and a list of other important health benefits. The typical “Western” diet—high in meat, high in total fat, and high in animal fat and protein are associated with reduced populations of beneficial microflora.
4. Not enough fiber intake
Beneficial microflora “feed” on the otherwise undigested dietary fiber it finds that in the colon. They associate diets low in dietary fiber with lower populations of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
5. Transitional Microflora Populations
The balance of intestinal microflora is constantly ebbing and flowing. Research shows that regular dietary intake of beneficial microflora is needed to maintain high levels.
Having the right balance of good bacteria in your body helps with things like digestion, memory, immunity to name just a few.
What to look for in a good probiotic supplement:
- Good protection from stomach acid.
- Guaranteed live microorganisms when you take the product.
- Well-known and trusted brand with a history of gold standard research.
- Delivers multiple strands of bacteria.
Our Recommended Probiotic: New Shaklee Optiflora DI:
A probiotic that meets those criteria and more is Optiflora® DI. This new probiotic made from Shaklee (the #1 natural nutrition company in the U.S.) delivers unique benefits via a proprietary formula containing 10 billion CFUs with 4 bacterial strains. The most prominent strain being the powerhouse Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, clinically proven to support BOTH digestive and immune health.
At least 70% of our immune system is in our gut. Adding good bacteria from this strain helps restore the balance of intestinal microflora, supporting immune health.1
Optiflora DI is also clinically proven to help maintain digestive balance and comfort. And to help maintain regularity and reduce occasional gas, bloating and constipation.
Optiflora DI probiotics were tested to improve gut transit time – the speed at which our food is digested. When food passes through the digestive tract quickly, it is associated with a healthier gut. Danish researchers believe healthy gut transit time supports better gut metabolism.2
1. Gill HS, Rutherfurd KJ, Cross ML, Gopal PK. Enhancement of immunity in the elderly by dietary supplementation with the probiotic Bifidobacterium lactis HN019. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Dec;74(6):833-9.
2. Waller PA, Gopal PK, Leyer GJ, Ouwehand AC, Reifer C, Stewart ME, Miller LE. Dose-response effect of Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 on whole gut transit time and functional gastrointestinal symptoms in adults. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2011 Sep;46(9):1057-64.
Finally, Optriflora DI was laboratory tested to survive stomach acid. Its powerful Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 was shown to survive passage through the digestive tract to reach the large intestine, delivering maximum benefit to the gut.
Optiflora DI provides clinically proven probiotics for better digestive and immune health. Optiflora DI is gluten free, soy free, and dairy free. No refrigeration required.
Want to take improving your digestive health a step further? Do a Shaklee 7-Day Healthy Cleanse which combines Optiflora DI with three other Shaklee body-cleansing products to give you a complete digestive cleanse. In just one week you’ll experience more energy, better focus, better sleep, a healthier digestive system. , Learn more on our blog post Why and How to Do a Healthy Cleanse
Note: Results may vary from person to person. The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.