Not all bacteria are harmful, and probiotics are live microorganisms that are good for your gut. They offer health benefits ranging from aiding digestion and strengthening the immune system to relieving common gastrointestinal ailments.
Although you can get every type of natural probiotic from many fermented foods like sauerkraut, they don't always provide enough. Also, you may not like this type of food or a fermented drink like kefir.
In this case, a supplement can give your gut the extra help it needs...
Table of Contents
- What are the roles of the intestinal microbiota?
- The 11 best natural probiotics
- Prebiotics and probiotics: What is the difference?
- Natural probiotics in food
- How to promote healthy intestinal flora?
- Probiology Review: Best natural probiotic ?
- Why buy natural probiotic supplements?
- Taking probiotics as a dietary supplement: What are the risks?
What are the roles of the intestinal microbiota?
Beneficial bacteria live in the digestive tract and participate in a variety of important body processes, such as vitamin production, mood regulation, digestion, immune function, etc.
The probiotics may also help relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and improve bowel movement. Some may also help prevent or treat infections, although more research is needed in this area.
This microbiota is commonly called the gut flora. It is estimated that each adult human is home to 800 species of intestinal bacteria with more than 7000 different strains, which could correspond to the number of 10 to the 18th power (1 followed by 18 zeros) of individuals, or a total weight of 1 to 2 kg. Yes, that's a lot of people!
The 11 best natural probiotics
They are essentially lactic bacteria that can be separated into 4 types: Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, Lactococci and Streptococci. Each bacterial strain has specific properties.
Here is a small list of different strains found in the gut that are good for your health:
It helps reduce inflammation, improve immune function and aid digestion. It also appears to help reduce abdominal fat and promote weight loss.
These types of strains are known to promote healthy vaginal flora by suppressing harmful bacteria and fungi. However, consuming probiotics in food or capsule form may not be enough to prevent more resistant vaginal infections.
A study in English conducted in 2015 found that L. gasseri is much more effective in reducing the recurrence of bacterial vaginosis when taken by suppository rather than orally.
It is a species commonly found in the human gut, saliva and some foods.
It has been shown to help prevent pathogens or diseases from becoming established in the gut. There is also evidence that L. plantarum induces an immune response that can protect the body from infectious diseases.
Other studies show that L. plantarum has powerful adhesive properties that allow it to "stick" to the intestinal wall and fight pathogens such as Candida albicans. It is also effective in blocking bacteria such as E Coli.
Another major benefit is its ability to help repair the intestinal lining. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help fight autoimmune diseases. By reducing brain inflammation, it can also help regulate mood and improve depression.
It is one of the most widely used probiotics. According to a study available on the NCBI siteLactobacillus rhamnosus is well documented for its various health effects, including the prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases and diarrhea. Lactobacillus rhamnosus also stimulates immune responses to vaccination and even prevents certain allergic reactions.
It also seems to have a specific effect on the prevention of antibiotic-related diarrhea due to its high resistance.
A study conducted on 40 people with high to normal blood pressure found that daily consumption of fermented milk powder tablets containing L. helveticus reduced blood pressure without any adverse effects.
Among other things, it seems to prevent gastrointestinal infections, improve protection against pathogens, modulate immune responses and affect the composition of the intestinal microbiota.
Several studies have suggested that specific enzymatic activities of L. helveticus may indirectly benefit its host by improving nutrient bioavailability, removing allergens and other undesirable molecules from foods, and producing bioactive peptides through digestion of food proteins.
It is often used to prevent IBS with constipation.
This strain boosts the immune system and can be used to promote the growth of good bacteria in your body. Acidophilus can also help treat a variety of medical conditions such as digestive problems, yeast infections and eczema.
Other potential uses include relief of urinary tract disease, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, IBS and lactose intolerance.
L. reuteri can produce antimicrobial molecules, such as organic acids, ethanol and reuterin. Due to its antimicrobial activity, it is able to inhibit the colonization of pathogenic microbes and to reshape the composition of the commensal flora.
For example, this lactobacillus can improve cholesterol levels, reduce levels of Helicobacter Pylori (the pathogen that contributes to ulcers), improve women's urinary and vaginal tract health, and infant gastrointestinal health.
It is also good for the host's immune system.
L. paracasei helps strengthen the intestinal barrier and improve the absorption of nutrients from food. When taken in conjunction with other varieties, it can promote the growth of intestinal epithelial cells and protect the intestinal barrier from chemicals and pathogens.
Bifidobacteria are found primarily in the gastrointestinal tract and vagina. In the colon, B. longum acts by fermenting sugars into lactic acid. This helps to regulate and lower the pH of the intestine (acidity).
Studies have shown that it has a powerful effect on the immune system, helping to strengthen the body's defenses against harmful pathogens.
In addition, it is an excellent treatment for problems related to lactose intolerance. It helps break down most sugars in foods, including lactose.
It has also been shown to help prevent constipation, reduce inflammation caused by certain intestinal conditions, prevent high cholesterol levels and prevent certain allergies from developing.
Researchers have noted that these good bacteria have the ability to influence the immune system. They appear to boost immunity by recruiting white blood cells to fight infection. However, more clinical trials on human subjects are needed to evaluate their effectiveness on the immune system.
They may also help reduce the effects of IBS. Researchers provided 62 people with a placebo and 60 with a tablet containing B. bifidum each day. After four weeks, about 47 % of subjects taking the probiotic reported significant symptom relief, compared with only 11 % of subjects taking the placebo.
This one has a very important characteristic: It is a component of nisin, an antibiotic-like substance that fights a wide variety of Gram-positive bacteria. This includes foodborne pathogens such as Listeria, Staphylococcus and Clostridium difficile.
For humans, the most important use of L. lactis is to stimulate the immune system. It has been shown to be particularly effective in delivering antigens that stimulate mucosal immunity against respiratory pathogens. It also appears to be protective against non-respiratory pathogens, such as HIV, human papillomavirus and malaria parasite.
Because this useful bacterium can survive the harsh conditions of the digestive system but does not colonize the gut (like other varieties of this family), it can be used as a "vehicle" to deliver therapeutics such as cytokines into the human body.
Because it can survive the harsh conditions of the gut without being destroyed by bile and stomach acid, S. thermophilus is an excellent probiotic for promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestines.
Studies show that it is best combined with other strains such as B. bifidum, L. plantarum and L. paracasei. Supplementation with these sets has been found to significantly improve symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders such as bloating, IBS and diarrhea.
It is also effective in improving the symptoms of lactose intolerance. Those who suffer from low levels of lactase (the enzyme needed to break down the sugar in milk) may find relief by taking supplements containing S. Thermophilus. S. Thermophilus aids in the digestion of milk by using its own lactic acid, thus reducing the symptoms caused by intolerance.
In addition, it fights viruses, fungi and parasites that invade the gastrointestinal tract and the urogenital system.
Prebiotics and probiotics: What is the difference?
Both prebiotics and probiotics are effective for gut health, but they work in different ways:
- Prebiotics are a type of fibre that good bacteria feed on. They help promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestines.
- Probiotics are live bacteria that help maintain the balance between good and bad bacteria in the intestines.
Where to find prebiotics in food?
Here are some foods rich in plant-based prebiotics such as fructo-oligosaccharides and inulin:
- Onion and garlic
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Chia seeds
- Brazil nuts
Natural probiotics in food
We can take advantage of their benefits by choosing what we eat every day. For example, here is a short list of foods that are rich in natural probiotics:
- Kimchi (peppers and lacto-fermented vegetables)
- Miso Soup
- Unpasteurized yogurt
- Pickles and olives in vinegar brine
- Hard or soft cow's milk cheese (except for lactose intolerance)
- Sheep and goat cheese
- Fermented soy products such as tempeh
- Brewer's yeast
There are also drinks and liquids that are good sources of natural probiotics, such as :
- Shoyu and tamari soy sauces
- Cider vinegar
- Milk or fruit juice kefir
How to promote healthy intestinal flora?
There are several things you can do to protect or restore your gut flora. First, you can eat foods that naturally contain them as listed above as well as prebiotic fermentable fiber.
If needed, you can take a food supplement that contains natural probiotics. They can help replenish the good bacteria in your intestine, especially after an antibiotic treatment or an illness that has given you diarrhea.
Probiology Review: Best natural probiotic ?
Sometimes it's important to be wary of appearances and do the right calculations before deciding when a product is expensive or affordable. Although Probiology's base price seems higher than its competitors on Amazon for example, this is not the case.
For example, due to the high resistance of the capsules when passing through the stomach, it is quite possible to obtain very good results with only one capsule per day.
In addition, Probiology is available worldwide with free shipping and a 60-day money back guarantee.
- L. Acidophilus
- B. Lactis
- L. Plantarum
- L. Paracasei
- Maktrek® Marine Polysaccharide Complex (protects probiotic bacteria)
- The strains are numerous enough to take only one capsule per day (20 billion CFU each)
- Very interesting rate with 5 months supply (possibility to use them over 10 months)
- No need to keep them in the refrigerator
- Durable envelopes with 250 times the survival rate of standard products
- 60 day money back guarantee
- Free delivery in one to two weeks worldwide
- Too expensive if you take 2 tablets a day and only have a one month supply
My buying advice
If you buy one bottle, take one capsule a day for 2 months. With its 20 billion CFUs and its ability to deliver them directly to the intestines, you should quickly feel the effects. Anyway, that's the option I chose and it works.
Finally, this puts the daily treatment at 0.91€.
And if you opt for the 5 bottle package, your daily rate drops to only 0.55€.
NOTE : Probiology is only available on the official website of the manufacturer. You will not find it anywhere else on the Internet or in stores, unless you are dealing with a counterfeit product.
Why buy natural probiotic supplements?
Today, the naturally occurring nutrients in food are diminished due to the industrialization of crops.
You may also need to buy them in tablet form when your microbiota is not strong enough, such as to prevent irritable bowel syndrome or after taking antibiotics. Indeed, the latter damage the intestinal flora which needs to be reconstituted quickly.
Taking probiotics can help restore the balance of good bacteria in the gut, which is important for intestinal health and transit. Probiotic supplements are also a good source of lactic acid and yeast, which help prevent diarrhea and bloating and improve digestion. Try them also if you suffer from flatulence.
Research on probiotics has progressed considerably over the past 20 years. However, researchers are still learning a lot about the supplements and their health benefits.
Taking probiotics as a dietary supplement: What are the risks?
It's true that many companies and influencers are encouraging everyone to use probiotics. But they don't have health benefits for everyone. In addition, their different strains have different effects on users. So in some cases, you need to be careful about which probiotic to use to treat your problem.
In any case, more work is needed on probiotic food supplements. Indeed, preliminary research has shown that some of them may be harmful to people with conditions such as AIDS, necrotizing enterocolitis, cancer or certain allergies.
NOTE : If you have any doubts, talk to your doctor.
What does UFC mean on packaging?
Probiotics are measured in colony forming units (CFU). These units represent the number of viable bacteria per dose.
Most supplements contain 1 to 10 billion in capsule form. However, some supplements contain much higher amounts.
To confer beneficial effects, probiotic capsules must contain high doses of microbiotic strains. Researchers suggest a minimum of 1 million viable CFU per gram for the microorganisms to survive digestion and exert positive effects.
Which food contains the most probiotics?
Yogurt is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But this is especially true if you prefer raw milk or homemade fermented yogurts. Indeed, probiotics disappear from pasteurized yogurts.
Drinks include kefir and kombucha.
Which cheese contains the most probiotics?
Cheeses are excellent probiotic carriers. Indeed, their low acidity and high fat content preserve and nourish the bacteria during their passage through the digestive system. The richest cheeses are either aged or made from raw, unpasteurized milk.
It seems that the champion in this field is Roquefort cheese made from raw milk.
What is the most effective probiotic?
There are two families that are the most popular and have been proven to provide health benefits: Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. Most probiotic supplements contain them.
How to store probiotic supplements?
Some supplements should be stored in the refrigerator. Check the product label for proper storage instructions.
In general, all of the microorganisms in the capsules are sensitive to heat. So, even if they do not require refrigeration, keep them in a cool, dry place.
Can I buy Probiology in a pharmacy?
No, this product is not available anywhere else but on the manufacturer's official website. You won't even find it in a drugstore.
If you find them elsewhere than on their site, it is probably a scam or a counterfeit.