- Mon, 10/12/2020 - 19:41
- A probiotic a day keeps the doctor away
- by IMI health
Introducing probiotics, your friendly bacteria
We usually think of bacteria as something that makes us ill, but our bodies are teeming with bacteria, both good and bad- around 100 trillion of them in fact! With only 35 trillion human cells, bacterial colonies actually outnumber our cells by 3 to 1.
Probiotics, the 'friendly' bacteria, do a number of things that our bodies rely on for good health. They produce enzymes that support digestion and keep our gut healthy. They bolster our immunity and prevent allergies, as well as reducing inflammation.
Probiotics also help lift our moods, alleviating anxious and depressive symptoms. They help create soothing neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA, which help us feed calm and happy. 
Studies have also revealed that those who take probiotics experience around half the number of fevers, and take half the number of sick days off school and work compared to those who do not.
Common reasons probiotic colonies are depleted
Helpful bacteria can be particularly sensitive, and their levels may be reduced by the following:
Antibiotics can kill off the good bacteria in your gut, as well as the bad.
Stress also has a negative effect on your gut microbiome, reducing probiotic levels and weakening your immunity.
Tap water contains chlorine, which kills off both helpful and harmful bacteria.
Herbicides, like glyphosate, the world's most commonly used herbicide, deplete the friendly bacteria in your gut, while increasing the population of the pathogenic clostridium bacteria.
Prescription drugs like laxatives, oral contraceptives, anti-diabetic medications, radiation and chemotherapy can all damage your gut microflora.
Refined, processed foods with high fat and sugar contents can seriously deplete your levels of friendly bacteria in your gut. A diet low in vegetable fibre and high in alcohol consumption may exacerbate these negative effects.
Studies have definitively proven that probiotic depletion is an unfortunate side effect of modern living. Some of the reasons we lose our friendly bacteria are unavoidable, therefore the key is to continuously replenish them in order to maintain their optimum levels.
Probiotics can be obtained from fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kimchee and natto. Other sources are cultured dairy products, like yoghurt, kefir or buttermilk. Though it's a great option to incorporate some of these foods into your diet, they come with limitations. Many may be loaded with sugar, and some may not even contain the live cultures promised by the packaging, especially when they approach their 'use by' date.
Opting for a probiotic supplement is a great option. However, if you do, it's important to look at the variety of strains used and the number of CFUs (colony forming units) provided per dose, in order to ensure you get the most 'bugs for your buck'. Research suggests that adults should look for supplements that provide at least 10 billion CFUs in order to feel their benefit.
When looking for a probiotic supplement, Graeme Bradshaw, Naturopath and founding director of IMI, notes that it’s vital to ensure the beneficial bacteria reach your gut live, otherwise they will be ineffective. He says that “The methods of manufacturing, shopping, storage and freight are all crucial to achieve this. Our probiotic supplements are always kept under tight regulation, ensuring temperature and humidity are controlled every step of the way. We take great care to ensure that our probiotics are always live and effective when they reach our customers. That's why it's so important that you buy probiotics from a reputable seller."
For a clinical grade probiotic supplement, we recommend Klaire Labs' Ther-biotic Complete, which delivers broad spectrum protection from 12 different species of probiotic, and 25 CFUs per capsule. This synergistic blend also has a sister formula, designed for children, called Ther-biotic for Infants - a safe but powerful probiotic, delivering 5 billion CFU from 10 different strains.
Our range of probiotics are potent, pure and varied. Whether you’re looking to boost your immunity or lift your mood, we’ll have something to support your needs. Explore our full range here.