From the very first breath you take, you’re exposed to probiotics.
On the way through the birth canal during a normal delivery, a newborn gets dosed with bacteria from their mother. This event starts colonization in the infant’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract of ‘good’ bacteria. Compelling new research now shows many caesarean-section infants have less-than-optimal health after birth. This is most likely because they are not exposed to the mother’s healthy bacteria in the birth canal which would then serve to populate its own GI tract.
As you mature, you’re faced with many threats to the beneficial bacteria in your gut… from chlorinated drinking water… to overly-processed foods.
The ‘good’ bacteria in your gastrointestinal system can only provide you with optimum health if the proper balance of different types of bacteria is maintained in your gut.*
This is where probiotics can have a profound effect… not just on your GI health, but on your overall health as well.* Keep in mind, 80% of your immune system actually lives in your gut.
Probiotic formulas are available with many different types of bacterial strains… with the most common being Lactobacillus acidophilus. But as you’ll find out shortly, not all probiotics are created equal… and not all probiotic formulas are properly produced to provide optimal benefits.*
In general, if formulated properly, the major benefits of a high-quality probiotic are to…
- Aid you in digesting food, particularly hard-to-digest foods and foods to which some individuals are more sensitive.*
- Enhance the synthesis of B vitamins and improve calcium absorption*
- Help you keep a healthy balance of intestinal microflora*
- (In women) Promote vaginal health*
- Support your overall immune function*
It’s believed that the key to an optimal probiotic formula is through science-backed research by a qualified non-biased laboratory… and through a manufacturer with rigorous high-quality process standards in place.
You are probably wondering why using nearly any commercial yogurt might not be as beneficial as a probiotic supplement. Afterall, traditional cultures have been consuming cultured, fermented foods like yogurt for years for digestive health promotion. Most commercial yogurts are not a good source of probiotics. Heat pasteurization significantly reduces most of the ‘good’ bacteria benefits
The problem arises because…
- Traditional yogurts were phenomenal sources of beneficial bacteria due to their raw and unpasteurized state.
- Most of today’s yogurts are pasteurized, unless specially purchased raw and unpasteurized from a local farmer. Sadly, pasteurization radically reduces most of the benefits.
- Even most of the yogurts certified organic by the USDA are pasteurized in some fashion.
So what’s wrong with pasteurization?
Well, it basically kills or sterilizes most of the beneficial and other bacteria during the heat processing. And some yogurts (particularly the frozen ones), don’t contain any live bacteria at all.
So, as great-tasting as many of them are, don’t be fooled by yogurt products advertising live cultures beneficial to your digestive system… many have likely had the beneficial bacteria already reduced or wiped out by heat-intensive pasteurization processes.
This is one of those cases where it appears that in our collective zeal to rid ourselves of every trace of infectious agents in our food supply and homes, we may have outdone ourselves.
As a whole, we’re less exposed to bacteria now than in the past, including beneficial bacteria. Antibacterial products, hand sanitizers, and the like have made for a world that’s a whole lot cleaner, but is it really that much healthier?
Due to strict food safety regulations, less bacteria (including the ‘good’ ones) survive the manufacturing process. Many overly-processed products, just like yogurt, undergo pasteurization or sterilization, which may destroy beneficial bacteria. While this may be helpful in some ill-health prevention, it also means we are exposed to less health-enhancing bacteria.*
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