There are trillions of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microbes living in your body. Most of these are found in your intestines, collectively known as your gut microbiome.
The gut microbiome plays a crucial role in health and preventing disease.
It helps with the digestion of certain foods and synthesizes some vitamins. It also contributes to normal immune function, and produces important chemicals that the body can’t make by itself. Scientists believe there are many additional important roles of the microbiota that are yet to be discovered.
Did you know that about 70-80% of your immune system originates in your gut?
Not surprisingly, the healthier your microbiome is, the healthier you are.
The key to a healthy microbiome is maintaining the balance among the nearly 1,000 different species of bacteria in your gut.
An unhealthy microbiome has been shown to play a role in many chronic diseases, including obesity, heart disease, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and other disorders.
Probiotics: The Good Bacteria
Although many types of microbes live inside you, bacteria are the most studied.
It might surprise you to know that you have, in fact, more bacteria in your body than you have cells. While few of these species can cause disease, most of them play an extremely important role in your health.
Probiotics are microorganisms living within the body while contributing positively to the body’s health. These are the good bacteria you actually want in your system. They can be ingested from various types of foods or in dietary supplements.
The primary job of probiotics is to maintain a healthy balance in your body, keeping your body healthy and working well.
They support healthy body systems from your mouth to your gut and beyond.
They can help control harmful microorganisms, like germs.
When you are sick, probiotics can counteract bad bacteria and help restore the balance within your body.
Probiotic means “for life”.
In 1908, Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov, a Nobel Prize-winning microbiologist, made the connection between the longevity of Bulgarian and Balkan peoples and others, with the consumption of the fermented milk of cows, buffaloes, and even reindeer.
After years of research, he proposed tiny microorganisms were living in the fermented milk, and these were stimulating the immune system.
Science is just now catching up with the massive importance that probiotics have in determining our health, weight, many bodily functions, and even our moods.
Studies have shown probiotics to:
• Improve and aid in digestion
• Calm irritable bowel syndrome
• Help heal a leaky gut (intestinal permeability)
• Boost immune system
• Improve brain function
• Counteract inflammation and control the growth of disease-causing bacteria
• Produce vitamins, absorb minerals, and eliminate toxins
• Benefit your mood and mental health
• Normalize your weight
Probiotic colonies work with the body’s internal immune system to organize strategies that prevent toxins and pathogenic microorganisms from harming the body.
The quantity and content of our probiotic populations make the difference between those easily sickened and overwhelmed by viral, bacterial, or fungal infections.
Probiotics can also quickly identify harmful bacteria or fungal overgrowths and work directly to eradicate them.
Within the intestines, probiotics attach to and dwell in between the villi and microvilli. This allows them to not only keep pathogenic bacteria from infecting those cells but also to monitor the size of food molecules going to the intestinal wall for absorption.
Probiotics are called ‘friendly’ because they help us digest food and they secrete beneficial nutritional products. Amazingly, probiotics are also an excellent source of many essential nutrients.
They can manufacture biotin, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), cobalamine (B12), folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin K.
Probiotics are also critical to nutrient absorption.
Probiotics also assist in peristalsis, which is the rhythmic motion of the digestive tract.
They also produce antifungal substances which counteract the growth of not-so-friendly yeasts.
Probiotics can even create compounds that scavenge free radicals, helping with oxidative stress.
If all this wasn’t enough, probiotics help to slow cellular degeneration and the diseases associated with it. They also prevent LDL cholesterol from being released back into the bloodstream.
With all our worries about bacteria and cleanliness, it turns out some bacteria are our friends!
Fermented foods have been part of alternative medicine for several thousand years.
Traditional probiotic foods include:• Sauerkraut
• Kefir, miso, tempeh
• Kombucha tea
While some of these foods were cultured for taste or preservation, many were found to have substantial benefits for digestive illness.
Unfortunately, many typical diets don’t include enough fermented foods. In addition, medications and other types of foods can create an imbalance in gut flora. These are just a couple of reasons why it’s recommended to take a probiotic supplement.
There are high-quality, scientifically formulated dietary supplements available and these can be beneficial in helping consumers get additional probiotics into their diet.
Optimizing your digestive flora could be one of your most important disease prevention strategies.
Adding Probiotics through Supplementation
If you’re experiencing any digestive challenges like flatulence, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, stomach aches, colitis, candida, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, dysentery, or other digestive disorders, then we recommend supplementing with probiotics.
If you have allergies or are prone to urinary tract or ear infections, you could benefit from more healthy bacteria in your system.
What to Look for in a Good Probiotic Supplement:
- 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 2-4 strands of good bacteria.
The product that delivers all the above is Shaklee’s Optiflora DI.
New Optiflora® DI delivers unique benefits via a proprietary formula containing 10 billion CFUs with 4 bacterial strains, the most prominent being the powerhouse Bifidobacterium lactic 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 reduce occasional gas and bloating.
Tests also showed Optiflora DI probiotics to improve gut transit time – the speed at which our food is digested. When food passes through the digestive tract quickly, they associate it 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.
For a full review of Shaklee Optiflora supplements go to: https://allswellhealth.net/why-probiotics-why-shaklee-optiflora/
*Note: The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.