You’ve probably heard the buzz about the “good” bacteria-we call probiotics- that can promote healthy digestion and immune function. If fact, biologists have discovered that we are hosts to about 100 trillion cells of good bacteria in our gut and on our body.
But if you’re having a hard time wrapping your mind around the idea that there’s a kind of bacteria we want in our lives, it may be time for a primer on probiotics.
What is a Probiotic?
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization defines probiotics as “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” Such prestigious scientific journals as the European Journal of Nutrition, Pediatric Research and the Journal of Food Science have published research on probiotics. And at least one famous actress promotes the benefits of probiotics in a series of television commercials for a brand of yogurt that incorporates probiotics into one of its products.
How do Probiotics Work?
Your gut is host to both beneficial and potentially harmful bacteria. These bacteria, also known as microflora, may aid healthy digestion. Age, stress, illness, antibiotics and/or certain medicines, poor diet and hydration, lack of rest, and harmful environmental conditions may endanger the fine balance that is needed to support the normal intestinal flora. This imbalance can result in the reduction of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can lead to digestive concerns that may not only be physically uncomfortable but also possibly harmful to your health.
Digestive health is the core of overall health. If our digestive system is not functioning properly, we may have problems breaking down nutrients that we consume into forms that our body can use for energy. A healthy, efficient digestive system helps us maximize the benefits of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that defend us against nutritional deficiencies. And, with up to 80 percent of the immune cells in our bodies concentrated in the digestive tract, digestive health is strongly linked to immune health.
Probiotics can be beneficial for anyone who wants to maintain good digestive health and support their immune function.
Where are Probiotics found?
Friendly bacteria should naturally occur in our bodies. Sometimes, however, poor eating habits, antibiotics or unfriendly microorganisms like disease-causing bacteria or yeast can upset the balance of good bacteria in our bodies. When this happens, you may experience diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating. Taking probiotics can help replace friendly bacteria.
Several yogurt brands have introduced products that incorporate probiotics into their formula. But if you’re not a yogurt fan, have lactose intolerance, travel regularly, or just want to get as pure and effective a form of probiotics as possible, you may want to consider a probiotic supplement instead.
The beneficial effects of one strain of probiotics do not necessarily hold true for others, or even for different varieties of the same species or strain. A sufficient quantity of high-quality bacteria strains must survive stomach enzymes and enter the intestinal tract alive to be effective. Verified to supply 12 billion Colony Forming Units (CFU) of viable bacteria—a level shown to be effective in clinical studies—the USANA® Probiotic contains Bifidobacterium BB-12 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG, two strains well-documented to survive transit through the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach to colonize the intestines.*
Important facts about Probiotics
Not all yogurt contains probiotics. And bacteria – good or bad – may not survive the acidic conditions in your stomach in sufficient numbers to effectively colonize your digestive tract. There are also many species of probiotic bacteria and they vary in their ability to colonize your system and provide digestive and immunity benefits.
Because they are a naturally occurring bacteria, probiotics are generally accepted as being safe. But, you should check with your doctor if you’re combining probiotics with conventional treatment for any condition, just as you would with any dietary supplement.
USANA Probiotic is a blend of probiotic bacteria that has been shown to support healthy digestion and sound immune function.* The bacterial strains were carefully selected to survive the harsh environment of the stomach to ensure effective colonization of the GI tract. USANA Probiotic is dairy free, sugar free, and is also guaranteed to remain effective for at least 18 months when stored at room temperature. Few probiotic products can make these claims. And it is so convenient—you can easily add a stick pack to your favorite MySmart Shake or Fibergy® Plus. Take charge of your digestive health with USANA Probiotic.*
BB-12 is a registered trademark of Chr. Hansen
LGG is a registered trademark of Valio Ltd.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease