Probiotics 101 | All About Probiotics - The Good Bacteria

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms made up of bacteria and yeast that provide numerous health benefits, particularly for gut health. When you hear bacteria and yeast, we tend to think of them causing disease however did you know there’s “good” bacteria and fungus as well? 

According to Harvard Medical School, there are over 500 species of probiotics with each strain providing slightly different benefits. The most commonly found types of probiotics are in the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families while the most common yeast probiotic is Saccharomyces boulardii.

What is the best source of probiotics?

Probiotics are naturally found in fermented foods like yogurt, kombucha, pickles (homemade not store bought), sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, miso soup, cottage cheese, sourdough and more. Yogurt is one of the most common and easiest to access sources of probiotics however be sure to check the label for added sugars as yogurt often has a lot of added sugars which can often defeat the purpose of taking probiotics. 

If you don't like fermented foods and/or can't eat dairy, taking a high quality probiotic supplement is also very effective and will often have multiple probiotic strains where foods may only have one or two. When choosing a probiotic supplement make sure it has a minimum of 1 Billion CFU (colony forming units) in order to be the most effective. Anything less than 1 Billion CFUs will not have much of an effective on gut or overall health. 

(A Colony Forming Unit (CFU) is a unit of measurement used in microbiology to estimate the number of viable microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, in a sample. The term is commonly used in relation to probiotics, where it helps quantify the live and active microorganisms present in a probiotic supplement.)

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Probiotic Strains

A strain of probiotic refers to a specific variant or subtype of a microbial species that is used in probiotic supplements or found in probiotic foods. Probiotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria or yeast, that may provide many health benefits when consumed in large amounts. Within a particular species of probiotic, there can be multiple strains, and each strain may have distinct characteristics and functions.

Why are strains important in probiotics?

  • Functionality: Different strains of the same species may have different effects on the body. Some strains may be more effective in promoting gut health, while others may have specific benefits, such as supporting the immune system.
  • Targeted Benefits: Certain strains are researched and selected for their ability to address specific health conditions or symptoms. For example, a strain might be chosen for its potential to alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or support the immune response.
  • Survivability: Some strains may be more resilient to stomach acid or bile, allowing them to survive the digestive process and reach the intestines in a viable state.
  • Safety and Efficacy: Each strain is studied individually for safety and efficacy. Therefore, the choice of strain can impact the overall quality and effectiveness of a probiotic supplement.

Learn More About Different Probiotic Strains

When selecting a probiotic supplement, it's essential to consider not only the species but also the specific strains included. The product's label should provide information about the strains present and their respective colony-forming units (CFUs). Consulting with a healthcare professional can also help you choose a probiotic that aligns with your specific health concerns or goals.

What are the benefits of taking probiotics?

Everyone of all ages can benefit from consuming probiotics, either via food or supplements, even those who don't suffer from any health issues. Probiotics are most commonly known for their benefits on managing a healthy gut biome however they have also been shown to help manage overall immune health, skin disorders, chronic yeast & thrush infections, inflammation, anxiety disorders and general mental health as well as helping to manage the symptoms of various autoimmune disorders. 

Did you know that regularly taking probiotics can help prevent you from developing a cold, flu & covid and if you do get sick it can decrease the severity of your symptoms? Probiotic supplementation has also shown to decrease the viral load in Covid-19 infections. 

Healthy gut bacteria levels can lead to: 

  • Better digestion and bowel movements
  • Reduced inflammation in the body
  • Better immune system function
  • Better nutrient absorption
  • Reduction in allergy and asthma symptoms

Probiotics are also extremely beneficial to take during and after a course of antibiotics as taking antibiotics kills off both bad AND good bacteria. Yeast and thrush infections are common after a round of antibiotics as all antibiotics kill off healthy bacteria needed to fight off yeast infections however taking a good probiotic supplement and eating food high in probiotics can help counteract the negative side effects of antibiotics.

Side Effects of Probiotics

In general, probiotics don't tend to have too many negative side effects and most people will not experience any (negative) side effects at all. However some people may experience some minor symptoms the first week or so which may include a mild upset stomach with gas and bloating and, rarely, diarrhea. In general, most people do not not these symptoms. 

While extremely rare, some may experience an allergic reaction.

Are probiotics safe to take?

Yes! Probiotics are safe for people of all ages to consume however it is always recommended that you speak with your health care provider before starting any new supplements. 

Best Probiotics for Autoimmune Disease

Probiotics are beneficial for all sorts of health issues, including people with various autoimmune & other diseases including but not limited to:

ImmunaRelief's ImmunaPro probiotics contain 5 different strains of probiotics as well as a prebiotic which work in conjunction to help manage the symptoms of many autoimmune diseases

Probiotics FAQs:

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria or yeast, that may over some health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. They are often referred to as "good" or "friendly" bacteria.

What are some of the benefits of taking a probiotic supplement?

Probiotics are believed to promote a healthy balance of gut microflora, which can contribute to better digestion, improved immune function, and potential relief from certain digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Can you purchase probiotics over the counter? 

Yes! Probiotics are available over the counter and do not require a doctors prescription although it is always recommended that you speak with your doctor or healthcare provider before starting any new supplements, including probiotics. 

Are your probiotics FDA approved? 

The FDA does not currently regulate vitamins and supplements and therefore probiotics are not subject to FDA approval. However, you can look for probiotics made in the USA in an FDA approved, GMP certified facility to ensure the best manufacturing practices. 

Can children take probiotics? 

Yes, most children can safely take probiotics! Again, it's always important to speak to your children's pediatrician before starting any new supplements and children may require a lower CFU count than an adult. 

What are the most common probiotics in food? 

The most common probiotics in food include those made from the lactic acid bacteria (commonly known as lactobacillus) as well as bifidobacteria. 

Can probiotics help with digestive issues?

Probiotics may be beneficial for certain digestive problems, such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). However, the effectiveness can vary from person to person.

Can I take ImmunaPro with ImmunaCBD CBD oil? 

Yes! It's generally safe to take our probiotics alongside our CBD oil

Can I take ImmunaPro with one of ImmunaRelief's mutlivitamins? 

Yes! It is generally safe to take ImmunaPro alongside LupaVita, RheumaRelief, FibroAid & ImmunaRelief PM.

ImmunaRelief is proud to announce a new sister company, ImmunaCBD CBD Oil Company