The Dirty Little Secret of Probiotics


We may get in trouble for this one, but you know what? We don’t really care. This industry secret shouldn’t be a secret any longer, so we’re going to spill the beans.

The average supplement company counts on you never looking at the back of the box. They want you to read the front of the box, or the face of the bottle, and just be blinded by all the bright colors and accept the bold lettering as fact. So, when you see PROBIOTICS splashed across the front of their packaging, you don’t bother to turn it around, read the label, and make sure you’re getting the correct strain(s) of probiotics that will actually do what you need them to do.

Contrary to popular belief, all probiotics are not the same. While yes, they’re all touted to be helpful with digestive health, you can’t even depend on that. Turns out, there are only a small handful of probiotics that have been shown in placebo controlled, double-blind studies to actually restore digestive health.

Instead, it helps to think about probiotics in 3 distinct ways. First, look at genus – generally speaking, this is either Bifidobacterium (B.) or Lactobacillus (L.). Then, look for species – the word that comes next. Think of it like a person’s last name. The third piece is the strain number or name, because that’s as important as the genus or species and what makes that probiotic strain UNIQUE (much like our social security number). Finally, make sure that the specific strain (with an identifying strain number you’re taking has actually been studied in double-blind, placebo controlled trials and shown to truly work. You’d be surprised how rare that last step is!

With all this information, though, you can find probiotics for…

Depression, anxiety, stress, and mood—You probably don’t think about there being a connection between your gut health and your mental health, but research is indeed linking the two. In fact, about 70% of your immune system is controlled by your gut.  Participants in several placebo-controlled studies reported a decrease in these emotion-based symptoms and an increased sense of well-being when given certain probiotics. More than just self-reporting, blood tests showed a lower level of stress hormones and increased levels of “feel-good” hormones, as well.

3 known strains that have been studied appropriately for mental health symptoms are: Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota, Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 along with Bifidobacterium longum R0175

Heart and cardiovascular health—Everyone knows that what you eat affects your heart health, but you may not realize that eating—or taking—probiotics gives your heart a real boost. Since many probiotics eat cholesterol, taking them can impact your cholesterol levels in healthy ways—by raising HDL levels, and lowering LDL levels. Plus, taking probiotics for an extended period of time, eight weeks or more, has been associated with lower blood pressure numbers, too!

Look for a formula containing a combination of: Lactobacillus acidophilus 145, Bifidobacterium longum 913, and Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242

Overall health —What do you mean when you think of “overall health”? A strong immune system? Maybe the ability to fight off colds or reduce the inflammation we’re learning is linked to so many health problems. From controlling allergies, to reducing the risk of cancer, probiotics have been linked to reducing and preventing a wide range of health concerns.

You’re looking for: Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum W23, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, and Bifidobacterium longum MM-2

And yes, digestive health—The main reason most people take probiotics to keep their gut healthy is, well, to keep their guts healthy. Diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating—whatever your digestive symptoms are, there’s a probiotic that can help.

Look for a formula containing a combination of: Bifidobacterium breve BR0, Lactobacillus plantarum LP0 1, and Bifidobacterium lactis BS01

Now you know the secret. Rather than just ordering a probiotic randomly, based on the sales pitch on the front of the box, you can check out the back, where the ingredients list is, and choose the right probiotic for your health needs!



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