Today's Health Awareness Blog is entitled,
"Does Your Probiotic Survive Your Stomach Acids?"
The media tells us time and time again that probiotics are the way to go to correct our digestive tract.
We're told, the product they are advertising is the best product out there because they are loaded with live active cultures.
And this may be true, but do YOU know the truth about probiotics and your stomach acids?
First, let's talk about what probiotics or "friendly bacteria" really are.
New Medical says, "According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. Thus, we can see that these so-called "friendly bacteria" consist not only of bacteria but of other microorganisms too, such as yeast. Probiotics are thought to work by increasing the number of beneficial microorganisms in a person's intestinal system and decreasing the number of potentially detrimental microorganisms.
Where are probiotics found? In addition to yogurts, probiotics are found in dietary supplements, such as tablet and powders, as well as suppositories and creams.
Are "live cultures" the same as probiotics? In short . . . NO! The National Association developed the term "live and active cultures." They use this term to define yogurts that contain the organisms Lactobacillus bularicus and Streptococcus thermophiles. These are the organisms used in the fermentation process which they say gives yogurt its "healthy attributes." Although . . . despite these "healthy atturbutes," it's possible that yogurt labeled that contain "live and active cultures," do not meet the requirements of the definition of probiotics. That is, they may not contain sufficient amounts of live microorganisms to bestow a health benefit on the consumer.
Does the body already contain "friendly bacteria?" Yes! In fact, most of the bacteria in our bodies are not harmful given that the number of microorganisms in a healthy adult is thought to be many more than the number of human cells themselves (estimates suggest a ratio of 10:1, microorganisms:human cells) it follows that the body not only contains "friendly" bacteria, but it contains lots of them
How do Probiotics survive the harsh acidic environment of the stomach? The pH of the stomach tends to be between 1.3 and 3.5. This means it is very acidic. The acidic nature of the stomach destroys bacteria that may enter the stomach in food. If the stomach acid kills bacteria, then how do friendly bacteria, or probiotics survive? Whether the probiotics survive the harsh environment of the stomach may depend on the type of bacteria they contain. Some bacteria do live naturally in the stomach; therefore, certain types of bacteria may survive the acidic conditions.
There have been concerns over the types of bacteria in some probiotics and whether they do actually survive the stomach conditions. In Japan, there are many probiotics based on spore forming bacteria. This is because the spores may be able to survive in the stomach until they reach the small intestine, which are less acidic."
Bowel Cancer Foundation Trust says, " Probiotics are a big business here in New Zealand and estimated to be over $30 billion dollars world-wide. But is this a wonder product delivering the good bacteria the body needs and serves as our health savior or is it just another food fad?
There are almost 100 different types of good bacteria that naturally live in our stomach helping regulate our bowel, break down the foods we eat and absorb nutrients. This good bacteria is often killed off by modern day medicines and antibiotics disrupting our internal flow. Bad bacteria contributes to malabsorption leading to diarrhea and promotes gas production causing bloating and cramping. They can also promote the production of toxins leading to more serious problems including changes in the bowels leading to colon cancer. Probiotics repopulate the digestive tract with the healthy bacteria, restoring our natural balance."
But are we wasting our money?
What type of probiotics are we ingesting?
And are these little buggers surviving their journey to help your digestive tract?
The Bowel Cancer Foundation goes on to say, "Not all probiotics are created equal! It can get confusing trying to figure out which is the best probiotic to purchase. There are many forms of probiotics on the market depending on species and strain of bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Acidophilus, Phamnosus or Plantarum. Firstly, they must all survive the acidic conditions of the stomach and evade digestion of the small intestine."
But do they?
Dr. Tripp, the Natures Sunshine Products Chief Scientific Officer says, "The human body contains about 100 trillion cells, 90 trillion of which are bacteria and fungi that live on us and in us and perform needed or harmful activities. Some of them help with digestion or help extract vitamins or nutrients from food. Others can cause serious illness when not kept in check. Over the past 10 years or so, researchers have discovered that some gut bacteria - when not kept in check by a healthy microbiome - can produce enough endotoxins to trigger a host of problems. For example . . . endotoxines in the bloodstream have been associated with blood sugar imbalance and weight management issues.
The health of the microbiome is directly linked with energy levels, immune system health and more. So it's vital to keep the gut healthy for overall well being. Probiotics (friendly flora) taken daily help maintain the levels of good bacteria in the gut."
But the problem with taking probiotics is that 95% of the microbes ingested don't make it passed the body's stomach acids.
Therefore, how many actual microbes are getting into our small and large intestines to keep us healthy?
Dr. Tripp goes on to say, "Bacillus coagulans is a unique, gut-friendly, spore-forming bacteria. Studies show that this strain provides relief from digestive upset, including occasional diarrhea, bloating and gas. It helps detoxify the microbiome and supports immune health. Bacillus coagulans is a heat-stable spore, so it's got a higher survival rate in the stomach's acid environment than most probiotics."
Wikipedia said this, "Bacillus coagulans is a lactic acid forming bacterial species within the genus Bacillus.
And Lenard Lane, Ph.D. of Life Extension says, "One common cause of impaired digestive health is an age-related decline in the digestive enzymes needed to extract essential nutrients from the foods we eat. Without these crucial enzymes, food passes through the gastrointestinal tract without yielding its beneficial constituents. The result is poor nutritional status, which can contribute to numerous disease processes.
Digestive health can be further impaired by an imbalance between beneficial and pathogenic bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, which can contribute to symptoms of gas and bloating as well as poor utilization of nutrients.
Fortunately, advanced enzyme supplements, along with specially encased probiotics, can help restore balance to the digestive system, allowing for the optimal utilization of precious nutrients. The benefits of a healthy gastrointestinal system include digestive comfort, improved immune health and decreased inflammation.
Spore-producing Bacillus coagulans is a unique probiotic that has been found to be superior to other probiotics in terms of surviving the gastric environment (stomach acids), colonizing the intestines, and producing lactic acid."
If your wondering what lactic acid is,
The National Institute of Health says, "Lactic acid is mainly produced in muscle cells and red blood cells. It forms when the body breaks down carbohydrates to use for energy during times of low oxygen levels. Like when exercising."
So Dr. Lane goes on to say, "Emerging research suggests that Bacillus coagulans holds promise in boosting immunity and in averting conditions such as hyperlipidemia, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, osteoarthritis, andrheumatoid arthritis."
So the question still stands: Why should you question the probiotics you're taking and paying good money for?
Dr. Lane says, " While probiotics are essential for optimal health, capturing their benefits from most conventionally available products can pose a technical challenge. The reason is that many of the living organisms these products are supposed to contain don't even survive the high heat and pressure common to the manufacturing process. All too often, the remaining live cells die quickly while sitting on the self; or they cannot survive exposure to stomach acid or bile in the gut so that they may go on to colonize the colon.
An advanced probiotic formulation containing strains of the bacterium Bacillus coagulans offers promise in sidestepping the difficulties and maximizing the benefits of probiotic supplementation. These microorganisms are each surrounded by a natural shield, which helps them survive the heat and pressure of manufacturing and the acids and bile of digestion, so they have a far better chance of arriving alive and well in the intestines, where they go to work. This provides Bacillus coagulans with a significant therapeutic advantage over conventional probiotics."
So what is this spore formation they spoke of?
Dr. Lane says, "One important reason for the superiority of Bacillus coagulans is its ability to produce spores. Spore-forming bacteria are something like ordinary plant seeds. When left alone, seeds are dormant-not alive, but not dead either. Rather, they remain in their protective shield in a state of "readiness." However, as soon as they encounter an environment with the right temperature and moisture content, they start to germinate or grow.
Spore-forming bacteria, such as Bacillus coagulans, work in a very similar way. In the stomach, the spores are activated by the low pH, mechanical churning, and moisture. They absorb water and start to swell, which increases the bacteria's metabolic rate. As the bacteria pass through the duodenum and into the small intestine, out-growths begin to protrude from the spore-coats and the cells begin germinating and transforming into viable cells. Proliferation begins in earnest in the small intestine, where the bacteria multiply rapidly, gain motility by growing flagella, and begin colonizing and going to work producing lactic acid - which discourages the growth of harmful pathogens - and helping digest food."
So now I was on a mission to find this Bacillus coagulans.
I saw commercials for several probiotics and decided to do a little investigating on the ingredients.
Not only did I find the majority of probiotics fell true to the information I researched about not surviving stomach acids, but they also had other detrimental ingredients. One of them being, Maltodextrin.
Maltodextrin is an additive used as a sugar and sweetener. And the ironic thing is that sugar feeds this bad bacteria that causes an impaired digestive system in the first place. So to me . . . I don't see where adding a sweetener that fuels pathagens to destroy our digestive tract is condusive to a product that is meant to repair this digestive system. Which is another whole blog for another day.
The product I found to hold true to its label without any additives and contains Bacillus coagulans is
NutriBiome Bacillus Coagulans
sold by Nature's Sunshine Products.
You can purchase this probiotic and more on my online store at:
(Receive wholesale pricing with a $40 order)
So PLEASE read the label on your probiotics today!