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frequently asked questions

What are Probiotics? Good Bacteria? And how can Probiotics benefit your health?
Probiotics are living bacteria that are essential for the human body, especially the digestive system. We usually think of these as germs that cause diseases, however, the human body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. They represent around 1.3-1.4 kgs of the human body which is the equivalent of many body organs in weight and job.

Probiotics refers to the "good" or "helpful" bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy. There are many species of these probiotics, and each has a defined, specific job.

Probiotics can be found in supplements and some foods, like yogurt. Doctors often suggest supplements and foods with probiotics to help with digestive problems if they are minor. However, pharmaceutical probiotics can be used for a lot of specific medical purposes, such as gastro enteritis, post antibiotic treatment, treating and preventing the anti-biotic associated diarrhea, etc. This is a major difference with those found in food supplements like yogurt.
How do Probiotics work?
Researchers established theories about how they work and they concluded that probiotics are effective in these four main areas:

  • a- When you lose "good" bacteria in your body, for example after taking antibiotics, probiotics can help replace them. Since the antibiotic will be wiping out the good and the bad bacteria in the digestive system, probiotics act as gate keepers to prevent the bad bacteria from outnumbering the good ones
  • b- Probiotics can help balance your "good" and "bad" bacteria to keep your body working the way it should
  • c- Probiotics ensure proper immune reactions that keep the body healthy (for those who frequently visiting the doctors for different reasons)
  • d- Probiotics play an important role in the nutritional process as they help in Vitamin B production and improve mineral solubility to ease their absorption in the body through the intestines.
Types of Probiotics
Many types of bacteria are classified as probiotics. They all have different benefits, but most come from two groups. Ask your doctor about which might best help you.

Lactobacillus: a family of probiotic strains that contains many sub species (Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus casie, Lactobacillus Reuteri, etc.). Each one does a specific job. Lactobacillus may be the most common probiotic. It's the one you'll find in yogurt (the weak ones) and other pharmaceutical preparations.

Bifidobacterium: one of the most studied with proven benefits for the human digestive system, in combination with Lactobacillus species and the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii, it helps to reduce the adverse effects of H-Pylori therapy, antibiotic associated diarrhea, IBS symptoms and more. In addition, Bifidobacterium infants in combination with Lactobacillus acidophilus seems to reduce the incidence of lactose challenge.

Combinations of different and multiple strains can help with a lot of symptoms like diarrhea, IBS related symptoms, constipation (certain strains) and may help people who can't digest lactose, the sugar in milk.
What to look for in a Probiotic - Your Probiotic checklist?
If you are intending to buy a probiotic, you need to find one with the below characteristics:

Multi-strain Formula:
A single strain product cannot colonize all the various niches in the gastrointestinal tract, it takes a multi-strain product to do that. For example, Lactobacillus strains are largely effective in the small intestine while Bifidobacterium strains work best in the large intestine. There is some overlap, but a location preference exists. Still others better colonize the food itself as it moves through the digestive tract.

Super Strains:
For each type of bacteria, there are recognized super strains. ex: There are three recognized super strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus, casie, Reuteri, rhamnoses, Bifidobacterium Longum, bifidium, lactis, etc. Choose a formula that uses only recognized super strains of beneficial bacteria. They will be identified as such on the label or in the company literature and the outer pack. If the strains are not identified, don’t buy it.

Activity: It’s not enough for the probiotics to just show up in our gut, they have to do something when they get there! Kill rate in stomach acid for the majority of probiotic strains runs from 99 to 99.99%. High potency probiotics are available containing acid-resistant strains and/or new delivery technology capable of protecting the strains in stomach acid.

Prebiotics:
The most effective pharmaceutical probiotics should include a prebiotic. Prebiotics feed good bacteria and keep them alive until you take them.They can be incredibly effective for constipation.

CFU count:
Known as the colony forming units, this is used to detect the count of the bacteria included in the probiotic preparation. Many probiotics compete solely in this parameter as a marketing tool. However, the survivability of the bacteria in the gut should be the main indicator of an effective probiotic. The bacteria should be protected to resist the stomach acidity. This means a product with 10 billion CFU without protective technology or lacking prebiotics would be useless.
Probiotics are living bacteria that are essential for the human body, especially the digestive system. We usually think of these as germs that cause diseases, however, the human body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. They represent around 1.3-1.4 kgs of the human body which is the equivalent of many body organs in weight and job.

Probiotics refers to the "good" or "helpful" bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy. There are many species of these probiotics, and each has a defined, specific job.

Probiotics can be found in supplements and some foods, like yogurt. Doctors often suggest supplements and foods with probiotics to help with digestive problems if they are minor. However, pharmaceutical probiotics can be used for a lot of specific medical purposes, such as gastro enteritis, post antibiotic treatment, treating and preventing the anti-biotic associated diarrhea, etc. This is a major difference with those found in food supplements like yogurt.
Researchers established theories about how they work and they concluded that probiotics are effective in these four main areas:

  • a- The "good" bacteria lost from your body, for example after taking antibiotics, (probiotics can help replace them.) Since the antibiotic will be wiping out the good and the bad bacteria in the digestive system, probiotics act as gate keepers to prevent the bad bacteria from outnumbering the good ones as they grow back.
  • b- Probiotics can help balance your "good" and "bad" bacteria to keep your body working the way it should.
  • c- Probiotics ensure proper immune reactions that keep the body healthy (for those who frequently visit the doctors).
  • d- Probiotics play an important role in the nutritional process as they help in Vitamin B production and improve mineral solubility to ease their absorption in the body through the intestines.
Many types of bacteria are classified as probiotics. They all have different benefits, but most come from two groups. Ask your doctor about which might best help you.

Lactobacillus: a family of probiotic strains that contains many sub species (Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus casie, Lactobacillus Reuteri, etc.). Each one does a specific job. Lactobacillus may be the most common probiotic. It's the one you'll find in yogurt and other pharmaceutical preparations.

Bifidobacterium: one of the most studied with proven benefits for the human digestive system, in combination with Lactobacillus species and the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii, it helps to reduce the adverse effects of H-Pylori therapy, antibiotic associated diarrhea, IBS symptoms and more. In addition, Bifidobacterium infants in combination with Lactobacillus acidophilus seems to reduce the incidence of lactose challenge.

Combinations of different and multiple strains can help with a lot of symptoms like diarrhea, IBS related symptoms, constipation and may help people who can't digest lactose, the sugar in milk.
If you are intending to buy a probiotic, you need to find one with the below characteristics:

Multi-strain Formula:
A single strain product cannot colonize all the various niches in the gastrointestinal tract, it takes a multi-strain product to do that. For example, Lactobacillus strains are largely effective in the small intestine while Bifidobacterium strains work best in the large intestine. There is some overlap, but a location preference exists. Still others better colonize the food itself as it moves through the digestive tract.

Super Strains:
For each type of bacteria, there are recognized super strains. ex: There are three recognized super strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus, casie, Reuteri, rhamnoses, Bifidobacterium Longum, bifidium, lactis, etc. Choose a formula that uses only recognized super strains of beneficial bacteria. They will be identified as such on the label or in the company literature and the outer pack. If the strains are not identified, don’t buy it.

Activity: It’s not enough for the probiotics to just show up in our gut, they have to do something when they get there! Kill rate in stomach acid for the majority of probiotic strains runs from 99 to 99.99%. High potency probiotics are available containing acid-resistant strains and/or new delivery technology capable of protecting the strains in stomach acid.

Prebiotics:
The most effective pharmaceutical probiotics should include a prebiotic. Prebiotics feed good bacteria and keep them alive until you take them.They can be incredibly effective for constipation.

CFU count:
Known as the colony forming units, this is used to detect the count of the bacteria included in the probiotic preparation. Many probiotics compete solely in this parameter as a marketing tool. However, the survivability of the bacteria in the gut should be the main indicator of an effective probiotic. The bacteria should be protected to resist the stomach acidity. This means a product with 10 billion CFU without protective technology or lacking prebiotics would be useless.
Probiotics are the good bacteria that confer health benefits on the host when administered in adequate amounts while Prebiotics are selectively fermented ingredients that result in specific changes in the composition and/or activity of the gastrointestinal microbiota. Prebiotics also are considered the food/nutritional source for probiotics. Synbiotics are products that contain both probiotics and prebiotics