Are probiotics for everybody? Are there some people who shouldn’t take them?
Probiotics come with many health benefits and are generally considered quite safe for everybody. Since different species of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are naturally found in the human body and many foods, they are usually well-tolerated and thought to be harmless.
Many doctors even recommend probiotics for babies as young as one day old, particularly if born via C-section.
Although people of all ages (newborn babies to 100 years old) can benefit from probiotics, it’s important to consider a person’s individual needs and choose the most appropriate probiotic for them. Since people have unique health goals and different requirements, a variety of formulations are available with varying potencies to different combinations of bacterial strains.
There are some cases where probiotics are not indicated such as in people who are severely immune compromised (e.g. AIDS, lymphoma, and patients undergoing long-term corticosteroid treatment). If you are unsure about taking probiotics, I recommend you speak with your doctor, pharmacist and/or primary healthcare practitioner.
What are the main differences between all the different brands on the market?
Some probiotics on the market only contain one bacterial strain or provide a very low dose (less than 1 billion active bacteria per capsule).
Other probiotics available provide a variety of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains (sometimes 10 or more strains per capsule) along with much higher potencies (e.g. 50 billion, 100 billion and up).
Different types of supplements are available – some are powdered, while others come in chewable or liquid form. I typically recommend capsules because a specially coated capsule (e.g. DR caps) works to protect the bacteria and safely transport the bacteria to the intestines where they are needed the most.
Bacteria that is exposed to the acidic environment of the stomach may be harmed by stomach acid. Since probiotic bacteria are alive, they need to be protected as they pass through the digestive tract. Some health experts suggest that capsules designed to dissolve in the small intestine are superior to other supplement forms.
Why is Renew Life a good choice compared to other brands?
With over twenty years of experience formulating natural health products, Renew Life is a trusted leader in the digestive health category. They are committed to delivering high-quality, high-potency probiotics that come with a delivery system (e.g. DR caps).
Once again, a delivery system ensures the probiotic bacteria arrive alive in the intestines. If you are taking a probiotic supplement that does not have a delivery system, the probiotic bacteria may be harmed before making it to the small and large intestine. These are key features to consider when shopping for probiotics since not all probiotics are created equal.
Should we take probiotics all year long? If not, when is it appropriate and why?
Taking probiotics following a course of antibiotic therapy is needed and usually recommended by MD’s and pharmacists. The Frontiers in Microbiology journal states that microbiota imbalances caused by antibiotics can negatively affect health in numerous ways and for long periods of time. Although some people choose to take probiotics only after antibiotics or when they show signs or symptoms, others are more proactive and take probiotics daily, all year long.
I explain to my patients that probiotics are like a “multivitamin for the gut” and since gut bacteria are easily killed off as a result of our fast-paced lifestyle – poor nutrition, high levels of stress, and the overuse of medications such as antibiotics – a daily probiotic can help replenish lost gut flora and support better gastrointestinal and immune health!