Benefits of Probiotics Including Improved Gut Health
“Probiotics” has become quite the buzzword – with countless products and supplements proudly toting their probiotics as the very best. But what exactly are probiotics and why are they supposedly so beneficial for our health?
And how on earth do you go about choosing the right probiotic when there are thousands of different products to choose from – all claiming to be superior? Well, we’re here to take the overwhelm and confusion out of understanding what probiotics do and which ones have the most bang for their buck.
In this blog post, we’ll define what probiotics are, how you can get more of these magnificent microbes, and review some of the science behind a handful of the most potent health-impacting strains. Let’s dive in.
What Are Probiotics, What Are Probiotics Good For?
While we’d like to think of our bodies as our own, the truth is, we are actually quite dependent on the trillions of microbes that collectively make up what’s known as our microbiome. These microscopic organisms make up a complex and delicate ecosystem that works in conjunction with your own cells to keep your body functioning properly. This intricately intertwined relationship between our bodies and our microbiome is so deeply ingrained that we quite literally can’t survive without them.
But when it comes to our microbiome, not all microbes are created equally. Some microbes are harmful, while others are beneficial. These beneficial, friendly bacteria are known as probiotics. The term probiotics is an umbrella term – referring to a variety of microorganisms that have been found to be beneficial for your health rather than a single specific microbe.1
So what exactly are probiotics good for and what do probiotics do? The answer to that is – a whole lot. To scratch the surface of answering that question, let’s look a little deeper at one specific (and arguably the most important) branch of your microbiome – your gut microbiome.
The Gut Microbiome and Gut Health
Your gut microbiome is the ecosystem of microbes that reside within your digestive tract. And these mighty microorganisms play a hefty role when it comes to your gut health. Your gut microbiome impacts:
- The integrity of your gut lining: The cells that line your intestines are designed to be packed together tightly to create a strong barrier between your gut and your bloodstream. Your microbiome can be pivotal in just how strong and effective this barrier is – with a healthy microbiome bolstering and enhancing its integrity and an imbalanced microbiome weakening this crucial barrier.
- Nutrient breakdown and absorption: Your body relies heavily on your microbiome to assist in the breakdown of nutrients you absorb. A healthy microbiome helps properly break down food into digestible nutrients while releasing a plethora of health-supporting compounds like vitamins and short-chain fatty acids.
- Waste removal: Having regular and healthy bowel movements is crucial for gut health, eliminating toxins from your body, and combating inflammation. Your gut microbiome can have a major impact on the peristalsis or movement of the muscles within your intestines that helps promote regular bowel movements.
The health of your gut has a ripple effect – impacting everything from your mood to your immune system and from your skin to your weight. So how can you support a healthy microbiome and increase the good bacteria in your gut?
How to Increase Good Bacteria in Gut Naturally
Your gut microbiome and your gut health are influenced by a number of things such as:
- Your diet
- Your exercise and movement patterns
- The length and quality of your sleep
- Your stress levels
- Your exposure to environmental toxins and your overall toxic load
All of these factors are crucial to address when it comes to supporting and maintaining a diverse and flourishing microbiome. But the fastest and most effective way to introduce good bacteria to establish a healthy microbiome is through incorporating specific foods and probiotic supplements. Let’s take a little deeper look at these.
The foods you eat can support your microbiome in two distinct ways – by providing prebiotics and probiotics. So prebiotics vs probiotics – what’s the difference?
Prebiotics are a form of carbohydrate found in foods like green bananas, raw plantains, and raw potato starch that your body can’t digest. These indigestible carbs serve as a source of nutrients and fuel for the beneficial microbes that live in your gut. 2
Certain foods can actually contain probiotics. Foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and yogurt can all possess a live and active culture of friendly probiotics.3 Prebiotics and probiotics work together to support a healthy and efficient microbiome. So eating a diet that includes prebiotic-rich and probiotic-rich foods is an easy and tasty way to support your microbiome.
While your diet is a great place to start, the truth is, many times your diet isn’t quite enough to reinoculate your gut with good bacteria. That’s where probiotic supplements come in. Probiotic supplements give you a concentrated dose of good bacteria so they can set up camp in your gut and you can fast-track your way to a balanced, thriving microbiome.
But with so many probiotic supplements available, how on earth do you know which types of probiotics are right for you?
Different Types of Probiotics
The term probiotic encompasses many different microorganisms – with each one having a distinct effect on your health. While at first glance, it can seem like searching for specific probiotics for women, probiotics for men, or probiotics for kids would make sense, it’s actually much more effective to narrow down probiotic strains based on the impact you’d like them to have.
Let’s take a look at some specific probiotics that have some well-researched and potent health-boosting properties.
Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium
Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium are two distinct genera of bacteria that play a crucial role in the human microbiome. These probiotic organisms are excellent at colonizing and regenerating your gut – making them one of the most commonly seen strains found in many conventional probiotics. A lack of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species has been associated with a plethora of pathological conditions because of their potent health-supporting properties which include:4,5
- Shielding you from harmful pathogens by blocking and inhibiting their growth
- Strengthening the mucus membrane of your gut
- Contributing to a healthy environment that supports other strains of probiotics
- Neutralizing and promoting the elimination of toxins
- Reducing inflammation in the gut and systemically
While these powerful strains of probiotics can be found in many conventional probiotic supplements, not all blends are created equally. If you’re looking to incorporate these foundational probiotic strains, two of the best probiotic blends include:
- BioImmersion’s High ORAC Synbiotic formula: ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbent Capacity which is a measurement of antioxidant capacities. By combining an exceptionally high ORAC level with the most potent strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, this supplement offers unmatched support when it comes to regenerating your microbiome – making it particularly useful as post-antibiotic support to help your microbiome bounce back after a round of antibiotics.
- BioImmersion’s No 7 Systemic Booster: While Bioimmersion’s High ORAC Synbiotic formula is better suited to be used as a short-term reboot for your gut, their No. 7 Systemic Booster formula is designed to be taken daily. This comprehensive anti-aging formula incorporates a unique blend of several different Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains that have been scientifically proven to enhance longevity and prevent the development of chronic disease.
To learn more about these remarkable probiotic strains, tune into our webinar replay with Dr. Bardell (add who she is: Founder of BioImmersion). And you can find both of these incredible probiotic blends through our online store by clicking right here.
Spore-Based Probiotics: MegaSporeBiotic and HU58
Spore-based probiotics, sometimes also called spore-forming probiotics, are distinct types of probiotics that originate in the soil. Because these spore-based probiotics evolved alongside us for most of human history when we ingested them through food that came from the earth, they play an integral role in our health. Spore-based probiotics encompass multiple species such as Bacillus Subtilis (HU58), Bacillus Clausii (SC-109), and Bacillus Coagulans (SC-208) to name a few.
The science behind the probiotics benefits of these unique soil-based microbes is far too robust to do justice in this article. So if you want to dive deeper into just how powerful these probiotics are, head over and check out the following articles:
- The Science Behind MegaSporeBiotic Spore-Based Probiotics
- MegasporeBiotic: Learn About Benefits of the World’s Best Probiotic Supplement
- The Science Behind Bacillus Spore-Based Probiotics
- HU58 Supplement: High-Potency Dose of Bacillus Subtilis
And if you want to tap into the power of spore-based probiotics, hands down the most effective all-spore blends you’ll find are Microbiome Labs’ MegaSporeBiotic (also referred to as Megaspore probiotics) and HU58 High Potency Bacillus Subtilis.
Saccharomyces boulardii is a yeast-based probiotic strain that has extensive studies highlighting its ability to:6
- Support digestion
- Enhance immune function
- Restore and bolster the integrity of your gut lining
- Reduce inflammation
- Crowd out harmful microbial species
To learn more about how Saccharomyces boulardii exerts its potent health-boosting effects, check out our article RestorFlora: Everything You Need to Know. And you can grab your own bottle of Saccharomyces boulardii-containing RestorFlora right here.
Paraprobiotics (Aka Postbiotics)
Para means dead or killed. So paraprobiotics are heat-killed probiotics. Now you’re probably wondering why on earth would we want to be taking dead probiotics? As it turns out, when you take specific strains of probiotics and kill them before they reach a fully mature state the immature probiotics’ cellular membrane triggers a very different reaction in the body than live, mature probiotics – creating a whole host of health benefits like:
- A smarter, more efficient immune system
- Improved gut health and decreased sensitivity to food intolerances
- Increased mental clarity
- Improved exercise performance
- Better oral and gum health
- Decreased allergies
- Better quality of life
To really dive into the remarkable science behind paraprobitics, you have to head over and check out our Webinar replay with Steve Wright, Digestive Specialist & Founder of Healthy Gut called Double Feature: A New Concept in Probiotics & The Most Important Mineral.
Paraprobiotics are not nearly as mainstream as probiotics, but it’s still crucial to ensure you’re purchasing quality, research-backed products. The two brands we trust and recommend are:
- HoloImmune by Healthy Gut: This paraprobiotic combines 3 powerful strains of heat-killed probiotics with beta-glucan – a cellular component of mushrooms or yeast that serves as sentinel that shields and protects your small intestine while enhancing important immune modulators.
- Supernatant Synbiotic by BioImmersion: This combines 5 different strains of heat-killed probiotics with Supernatant – a fermented “soup” of potent probiotic metabolites, enzymes, vitamins, short chain fatty acids, and other health-boosting, immune-enhancing compounds.
You can learn more about both of these products and try them for yourselves through our online store.
There is an intimate connection between your gut and brain known as the gut-brain axis. If your gut is inflamed or your microbiome is out of whack, that imbalance is directly translated to your brain – impacting things like brain inflammation, neurotransmitter levels, how your brain communicates with the rest of your body, and more.
An imbalance in your gut microbiome can trigger a whole host of mood and neurological issues like:
- Sleep disturbances
- Brain fog
- Elevated stress
- Neurodegenerative disorders
Psychobiotics directly target the gut-brain axis to support and enhance both gut health and mental health. Two of our favorite psychobiotic blends are:
- ZenBiome Cope: ZenBiome Cope pairs the well-researched Bifidobacterium longum also known as psychobiotic 1714™ with other vital nutrients like B vitamins and herbal extracts. This provides targeted support for coping with stress, boosting mood and brain function, and enhancing overall vitality.
- ZenBiome Sleep: ZenBiome’s Sleep formula is also powered by psychobiotic 1714™ paired with L-theanine and lemon balm extract. This blend is designed to support feelings of relaxation, alleviate tension, promote alpha brain waves, and support you in drifting off into a restful slumber.
You can find both of these powerful psychobiotic blends through our online store. Or if you want to dive deeper into how psychobiotics work, check out our Webinar Replay New Research on the Gut-Brain Connection & Psychobiotics with Kiran Krishnan, Microbiologist & Chief Scientific Officer of Microbiome Labs.
Probiotics for Dogs
Humans aren’t the only ones who can benefit from probiotics. Both dogs and cats rely on a balanced, healthy, and diverse microbiome to support their gut health and overall well-being. FidoSpore uses a unique blend of probiotics carefully calibrated to target your pets’ microbiome – helping your furry friends live a happier, healthier, and longer life.
As an added bonus, studies have found that having pets in your home (dogs in particular) can actually benefit your own microbiome. The microbes that your pet carries as well as those they bring inside after they’ve been out sniffing and exploring outside actually boost the health and diversity of your microbiome.
To learn more about how your furry friends can benefit from probiotics, you can head over and read our article FidoSpore: Everything You Need to Know. Or to grab your own bottle of Fidospore Probiotic for the pets in your life, you can click right here.
Ready to Take Your Gut Health to the Next Level?
Your gut health, your microbiome, and the probiotics that call our bodies home play an irreplaceable and monumental role in your health. And while taking the right blend of probiotics is an excellent place to start, it’s only a piece of the puzzle.
Creating and maintaining optimal gut health and a balanced, flourishing microbiome requires a big-picture approach that addresses all of the factors that influence this foundational aspect of your well-being. If you want to take your gut health to the next level, you’ve got to download our RHT Gut Repair & Microbiome Optimization Guide.
This guide is packed with all of our favorite suggestions, tips, and action steps for improving gut health and digestion, and optimizing your microbiome – all in one simple downloadable PDF. Think of it like your cheat sheet or shortcut to up-leveling your gut health. Click here to download your RHT Gut Repair & Microbiome Optimization Guide now!
Once you’ve downloaded your guide, you can head over and check out our blog, our podcast, and the Wellness Vault. These resources are all bursting at the seams with information and value to help you optimize your health from the inside out. If you enjoyed this article and your RHT Gut Repair & Microbiome Optimization Guide, drop us a line and let us know your thoughts!
- Probiotics: What You Need To Know | NCCIH (nih.gov)
- What Are Prebiotics and What Do They Do? – Cleveland Clinic
- Foods With Probiotics That Help Digestion (webmd.com)
- Comparison of probiotic lactobacilli and bifidobacteria effects, immune responses and rotavirus vaccines and infection in different host species – PMC (nih.gov)
- The Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium Microflora of-the Human Intestine: (caister.com)
- Saccharomyces boulardii: What Makes It Tick as Successful Probiotic? – PMC (nih.gov)