Probiotics Benefits, Foods and Supplements
Probiotics hold the key not just for better health and a stronger immune
system, but also for treating digestive issues, mental health illness and
neurological disorders. Research continues to prove that probiotics
benefits and side effects go far beyond what we previously thought.
In this complete probiotic guide, you will learn everything you ever need
to know about probiotics, including the top
10 probiotics, best probiotic
foods, best probiotic supplements and how to use them.
Probiotics Benefits Begin in the Gut
The first and most overlooked reason that our digestive tracts are critical
to our health is because 80 percent of your entire immune system is located
in your digestive tract! That is an astounding percentage.
In addition to the impact on our immune systems, our digestive
systems are the second largest part of our neurological system.
Its called the enteric nervous system and is located in the gut. This
is why its called our second brain!
If these issues and many others are connected to our gut health, then what
elements are essential for digestive health? Consider this: According to the
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, upward of
60 million to 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases. In
addition, digestive disease and disorders cost the U.S. over $100 billion per
These statistics are staggering, yet poor gut health actually affects much
greater numbers than these statistics illustrate. Thats because your
digestive health affects every physiological system in your body.
The many toxins were subjected to today decrease digestive function,
affecting our ability to utilize nutrients and rid ourselves of cholesterol,
triggering chronic inflammation
in the body, which is the cause of many chronic conditions and diseases.
The secret to restoring your digestive health is all about balancing out
the good and bad bacteria in your gut. If youre going to be healthy, you
MUST consider consuming probiotic-rich foods and supplements daily.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are bacteria that line your digestive tract and support your
bodys ability to absorb nutrients and fight infection. There are
actually 10 times more probiotics in your gut then cells in your body!
Your skin and digestive system by themselves host about 2,000 different
types of bacteria. Probiotics benefits have been proven effective in
supporting immune function and healthy digestion, as well as beautiful skin.
Your good gut bacteria is also responsible for:
- Producing vitamin
B12, butyrate and vitamin K2
- Crowding out bad bacteria, yeast and fungi
- Creating enzymes that destroy harmful bacteria
- Stimulating secretion of IgA and regulatory T-cells
Probiotics have been in our systems right
from the moment that we stepped into the world. When a newborn is in the birth
canal of the mother during delivery, thats when the baby is exposed
to the bacteria of his or her mother for the first time. This event
starts a chain of events inside the babys GI tract, and the infants GI
tract starts to produce good bacteria.
If you dont have enough probiotics, the side effects can include
digestive disorders, skin issues, candida, autoimmune
disease, and frequent colds and flus.
Historically, we had plenty of probiotics in our diets from eating fresh
foods from good soil and by fermenting our foods to keep them from spoiling.
However, because of refrigeration and dangerous agricultural practices like
soaking our foods with chlorine, our food contains little to no probiotics
today, and most foods actually contain dangerous
antibiotics that kill off the good bacteria in our bodies.
By adding more probiotic foods into your diet, you could see all of the
following probiotics benefits:
- Stronger immune system
- Improved digestion
- Increased energy from production of vitamin B12
- Better breath because probiotics destroy candida
- Healthier skin, since probiotics naturally
treat eczema and psoriasis
- Reduced cold and flu
from leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory bowel
- Weight loss
Top 7 Probiotic Killers
Most people, including children, are in need of a probiotic boost due to
the use of prescription medication, particularly antibiotics, as well as
high-carbohydrate diets, the consumption of chlorinated and fluoridated
water, and conventional foods, such as non-organic meat and dairy that contain
antibiotic residues. These chemicals kill off probiotics in your system, which
over time damages your digestive tract. (2)
Here are the top seven probiotic killers that can prevent your body from
getting all the tremendous probiotics benefits it needs:
- Prescription antibiotics
- Emotional stress
- Chemicals and medications
In order to improve your gut flora balance,
make sure to avoid the probiotic killers. Were exposed to many of these
foods, toxins and stressors on a daily basis, and if youre going to restore
your digestive health, they must be addressed. If theyre not addressed,
your gut micro-organisms become imbalanced, and your system can become
a breeding ground for bad bacteria, yeast, viruses, fungi and parasites. (3)
The only way to fix this issue and heal your gut is to eliminate the foods
that feed bad bacteria and start consuming probiotic-rich foods and
supplements so probiotics benefits can work their magic.
20 Probiotics Benefits Proven by Research
The strongest evidence to date finds that probiotics benefits include:
and treating urinary tract infections
- improving digestive function
- healing inflammatory bowel conditions like IBS (4)
- managing and preventing eczema in children
- fighting food-borne illnesses
New studies underway may soon prove that probiotics can:
flu and colds
- reduce overuse of antibiotics
- prevent cavities and gum
colitis and Crohns disease
- combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria
- treat liver
- battle cancer (5)
- manage autism
- lower cholesterol
- fight bacteria that causes ulcers
- improve acne
- lose weight
How Probiotics Work
Your gut contains both beneficial and harmful bacteria. Digestive experts
agree that the balance of gut flora should be approximately 85 percent
good bacteria and 15 percent bad bacteria.
If this ratio gets out of balance, the condition is known as dysbiosis,
which means theres an imbalance of too much of a certain type of fungus,
yeast or bacteria that affects the body in a negative way. By consuming
certain types of probiotics foods and supplements, you can help bring these
ratios back into balance.
Also, its important to understand that probiotics are not a new idea.
Throughout history, cultures have thrived on probiotics found in fermented
foods and cultured foods, which were invented for food
preservation long before the refrigerator.
In fact, the refrigerator
could be one of the worst inventions for you digestive health
because now we dont have to culture or ferment our foods to keep them from
spoiling so we lose out on those vital probiotics and probiotics benefits.
4 Steps to Get More Probiotics in Your System and Reap Probiotics
1. Eat More Sour Foods
Step No. 1 is consume more sour foods. Embrace what I call the power
of sour and sour foods like apple cider vinegar, specifically, and fermented
vegetables. They contain some probiotics, but also they contain
certain types of acids like gluconic acid and acetic acid, healthy acids that
create a certain type of pH in your body that supports the growth of
probiotics in your system.
So again, its great to get some healthy sour foods. What I would start
doing is add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a drink two times a day.
So before breakfast and lunch or breakfast and dinner, add one tablespoon of apple
cider vinegar in your meal, and then start consuming more
fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi, or drinking kvass. Get some
fermented vegetables like sauerkraut several times a week in your meals;
thats one way to boost probiotics in your system.
2. Consume More Probiotic-Rich Foods
The second way is just to start consuming more probiotic-rich foods. Now,
probiotic-rich foods are things like high-quality goat
milk yogurt, kefir or even different types like coconut kefir,
but getting more probiotic-rich foods in your diet is essential to boosting
and increasing your probiotics.
I would start trying to consume one serving of probiotic-rich food a day.
You can add kefir, one of my favorites, in your morning smoothie, and you
can eat some organic probiotic
yogurt during the day. And again, get some good fermented foods
in your diet at least one serving a day or more.
3. Feed the Probiotics in Your System
Step No. 3 to naturally boost probiotics in your system is to start to
feed the probiotics. So think about this: Probiotics are living organisms. If
they re going live in your body, they need fuel, they need to feed off
something, they need good soil. That soil is fermentable fiber.
Getting good, high-quality fiber in your diet can actually cause probiotics
to increase in your body. And the best type of fiber is soluble fiber, known
as fermentable fiber. Some of my favorite high-fiber
foods include chia seeds. Chia
seeds benefits include that it is a great form of fermentable
fiber, as are
beneficial flaxseeds adding chia and flax into a
morning smoothie is fantastic.
Along with that, organic fruits and vegetables are a great option. And then
sweet potatoes and regular potatoes are also good forms of
fermentable fiber. A high-fiber
diet consisting of these foods fuel probiotics.
4. Take a Quality Probiotic Supplement
Last but not least, taking a quality probiotic supplement is a great way to
get more probiotics in your body. Taking a quality probiotic supplement can
naturally boost the good probiotics in your system.
Top 10 Probiotic Foods List
If you want to start consuming probiotic-rich foods, here is a list of the
most beneficial probiotic foods:
Similar to yogurt, this fermented dairy product is a unique combination of
milk and fermented kefir grains. Kefir has been consumed for well over 3,000
years, and the term kefir was started in Russia and Turkey and means
Kefir is created by the fermentation of milk by the bacteria, and yeasts in
kefir starter break down lactose in the milk. Thats why kefir is suitable
for those who are otherwise lactose intolerant.
It has a slightly acidic and tart flavor and contains anywhere from 10 to
34 strains of probiotics. Kefir is similar to yogurt, but because its
fermented with yeast and more bacteria, the final product is higher in
If you want to learn more, check out this article on how kefir
benefits your health.
Made from fermented cabbage and other vegetables, sauerkraut
is not diverse in probiotics but is high in organic acids (what gives food its
sour taste) that support the growth of good bacteria. Sauerkraut is
extremely popular in Germany today.
Sauerkraut is high in vitamin C and digestive
enzymes. Its also a good source of natural lactic acid
bacteria, such as lactobacillus. Sauerkraut juice has been studied to benefit
digestive issues like leaky gut, diarrhea and constipation,
and is also effective at helping you kick a cold fast.
is a cousin to sauerkraut and is the Korean take on cultured veggies.
Its created by mixing a main ingredient, such as Chinese cabbage, with a
number of other foods and spices, like red pepper flakes, radishes, carrots,
garlic, ginger, onion, sea salt and fish sauce. The mixture is then left aside
to ferment for three to 14 days.
4. Coconut Kefir
Made by fermenting the juice of young coconuts with kefir grains, this
dairy-free option for kefir has some of the same probiotics as traditional
dairy kefir but is typically not as high in probiotics. Still, it has several
strains that are great for your health.
kefir has a great flavor, and you can add a bit of stevia, water
and lime juice to it to make a great-tasting drink.
A popular dish in Japan consisting of fermented soybeans, natto
contains the extremely powerful probiotic bacillus subtilis, which
has been proven to bolster your immune system, support cardiovascular health
and enhance digestion of vitamin K2.
Natto can also contain vitamin B12, which is lacking in vegan diets and is
one of the highest plant-based sources of protein at 17.7 grams per 100-gram
Possibly the most popular probiotic food is live cultured yogurt or greek
yogurt made from the milk of cows, goats or sheep.
Yogurt in most cases can rank at the top of probiotic foods if it comes
from raw, grass-fed animals. The problem is there is a large variation on the
quality of yogurts on the market today. Its recommend when buying yogurt to
look for three things: First, that it comes from goats, sheep milk or A2
cows milk; second, that its grass-fed; and third, that its organic.
is a common fermented beverage in Eastern Europe since ancient times. It was
traditionally made by fermenting rye or barley, which gives it its mild
flavor. In more recent years, its been created using beets, fruit, along
with other root vegetables like carrots.
Kvass uses lactobacilli probiotics, which have blood- and
Miso is one of the mainstays of traditional Japanese medicine and is
commonly used in macrobiotic
cooking as a digestive regulator. Miso
has been a staple in Chinese and Japanese diets dating back approximately
Today, most of the Japanese population begins
the day with a warm bowl of miso
soup believed to stimulate the digestive system and energize
Made from fermented soybeans, rice or barley, adding a tablespoon of miso
to some hot water makes an excellent, quick, probiotic-rich soup.
The fermentation process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of
years to complete, and the end result is a red, white or dark brown paste with
a buttery texture.
Miso soup is famous throughout the world, and its very easy to prepare.
Simply dissolve a tablespoonful of miso in a pot of water filled with seaweed
and other ingredients of your choice.
Kombucha is an effervescent fermentation of black tea thats started by
using a SCOBY, also known as a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.
Kombucha has been around for over 2,000 years and was thought to originate in
212 B.C. in the Far East. It later surfaced in Japan and then spread to
Many claims have been made about kombucha, but its primarily health
benefits include digestive support, increased energy and liver detoxification.
Read more here on the health
benefits of kombucha.
10. Raw Cheese
Goats milk, sheeps milk and A2 aged cheeses are particularly high in
probiotics, including thermophillus, bifudus, bulgaricus and acidophilus.
Always buy raw and not pasteurized or you will not be getting any of the
How to Pick the Best Probiotic Supplements
Its important to note that there are different types of strains of
probiotics. The probiotics benefits experienced with one probiotic strain may
be completely different from the health benefits seen from another probiotic.
Certain strains of probiotics support immunity, others digestion, and
some even help burn fat and balance
If you want to use probiotics to help with a specific health concern,
its vital to select the right probiotic for the right condition. Or you can
consume a wide range of probiotics in your food to be covered.
As we said earlier, you are what you digest, and there are no other
compounds in the world that support digestion and the assimilation of
nutrients better than living probiotics. While many companies now produce probiotics,
the majority of them are ineffective at best. Most probiotic supplements today
are destroyed by your stomach acid before they ever get to your digestive
When reading a probiotic label, it should reveal the genus, species and
strain of the probiotic. The product should also give you the colony forming
units (CFUs) at the time of manufacturing.
Also, the majority of probiotics can die under heat so knowing the company
had proper storing and cooling of the facility is also important.
There are five specific things you want to consider when buying a
- Brand quality
- Look for brands that are reputable like Garden of
- Life, MegaFood and Axe Naturals.
- High CFU count Purchase a probiotic brand that has a
higher number of probiotics, from 15 billion to 100 billion.
- Strain diversity Search for a probiotic supplement that
has 1030 different strains.
- Survivability Look for strains like bacillus
coagulans, saccharomyces boulardii, bacillus subtilis, lactobacillus
rhamnosus, and other cultures or formulas that ensure probiotics
make it to the gut and are able to colonize.
- Research Do your homework and look for brands that have
strains that support your specific needs.
Here are a few more things to look for:
Stay away from general health claims and consider how much information is
really on a label.
- Stability: Probiotics need to be kept cold in order to
preserve their potency. This applies to their production, transport,
storage and sales.
- Date: The fresher the better when youre talking
about living organisms.
- Sugar: Sugar is not a good food source for probiotics. Prebiotics
are the food source meant to keep probiotics alive. A synbiotic is a
supplement that contains both prebiotics and probiotics. The best
synbiotics contain healthy plant starches and fiber.
- Living vs. dead: Live and active cultures is a
better bet than made with active cultures. After fermentation, the
product may be heat-treated, which kills off both good and bad bacteria
(extending shelf life).
- Bacteria type: Live and active culturesdoes not
necessarily mean that the kinds of bacteria the product holds have been
proven as beneficial. The bacteria strain should consist of two names
and two letters: the genus, species and strain. If the label lists two
names, it could be any one of hundreds of bacteria without research or
proven health benefits behind it.
- Potency: This is where it gets tricky. Most
probiotic products dont list the amount of bacteria their products
contain, and the amount thats effective depends upon many qualifiers.
Health benefits can occur with 50 million CFUs for certain conditions and
may take as many as 1 trillion CFU for others. The higher the number the
better. The Food Standards Code claims that at least one million live
bacteria per gram are necessary in yogurt and other fermented drinks to
provide the 10 billion CFU needed for health effect.
Beneficial Probiotic Strains
- Bifidobacterium bifidum the most
dominant probiotic in infants and in the large intestine, supports
production of vitamins in gut, inhibits harmful bacteria, supports immune
system response and prevents
- Bifidobacterium longum supports liver
function, reduces inflammation, removes lead and heavy
- Bifidobacterium breve helps colonize
healthy gut community and crowd out bad bacteria. (8)
- Bifidobacterium infantis alleviates IBS
symptoms, diarrhea and constipation. (9)
- Lactobacillus casei supports
immunity, inhibits h. pylori and helps fight infections. (10)
- Lactobacillus acidophilus relieves
gas, bloating, improves lactose
intolerance. Shown to help with a 61 percent reduction in E.
coli, lower cholesterol levels and creation of vitamin K. (11)
Also, important in GALT immune strength.
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus a powerful
probiotic strain that has been shown to fight harmful bacteria that
invades your digestive system and is stable enough to withstand the acidic
digestive juices of the stomach. It also neutralizes toxins and naturally
produces its own antibiotics.
- Lactobacillus brevis shown to survive
the GI tract, boost cellular immunity, enhanced natural T-killer cells and
kill h. pylori bacteria. (12)
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus supports
bacterial balance and supports healthy skin, helps fight urinary tract
infections, respiratory infections, and reduce anxiety by reducing stress
hormones and GABA neurotransmitter receptors. (13) Also,
survives GI tract.
- Bacillus subtilis an endospore
probiotic thats heat-resistant. Elicits a potent immune response and
supports GALT. (14,
Suppresses growth of bad bacteria like salmonella and other pathogens.
- Bacillus coagulans an endospore
probiotic thats heat-resistant and improves nutrient absorption. Also
has been shown to reduce inflammation and symptoms
of arthritis. (16)
- Saccharomyces boulardii a yeast
probiotic strain that restores natural flora in the large and small
intestine and improves intestinal cell growth. Its proved effective in
treating inflammatory bowel disease like Crohns disease.
Its been shown to have anti-toxin effects, be antimicrobial and reduce
Are There Probiotic Side Effects?
Probiotic side effects can sometimes include diarrhea if you take too much
too fast. You can start off with a smaller amount like one tablespoon of kefir
or one probiotic capsule a day and work your way up.
But overall, the side effects of probiotics are nothing but positive,
making probiotics benefits all the more sweet.
Final Thoughts on Probiotics Benefits
- Do your best to remove substances that can destroy probiotics, like
sugar, grains, GMOs, tap water, antibiotics and emotional stress from your
- Consume two servings daily of probiotic-rich foods from the top 10 list
to receive probiotics benefits.
- Another way to get all those great probiotics benefits it to take a
probiotic supplement that has at the very least 10+ strains of probiotics
with at least 15 billion CFUs.
Probiotics found to reverse depression without the violent side effects of SSRI antidepressants
Tuesday, April 04, 2017 by: Earl
(Natural News) Lactobacilli,
beneficial bacteria commonly found in probiotics, proves to be a
for depression. Researchers at the University of Virginia School of
Medicine examined the effects of stress in mice and noted a significant
loss of Lactobacillus in the process. The scientists found that the loss
in Lactobacillus results in the subsequent manifestation of symptoms
associated with depression. However, feeding mice with food containing
Lactobacillus reuteri helped the animals return to almost normal.
Lactobacillus appears to affect the levels of a blood metabolite called
kynurenine. The blood metabolite is known to trigger the onset of depression.
The researchers note a surge in kynurenine levels when loss of Lactobacillus takes
place, which in turn leads to the onset of depressive symptoms in the animals.
However, maintaining high levels of kynurenine diminishes the effects of
the beneficial bacteria, researchers say.
�The big hope for this kind of research is that we won�t need to bother
with complex drugs and side-effects when we can just play with the microbiome.
It would be magical just to change your diet, to change the bacteria you take,
and fix your health � and your mood,� says
lead researcher Alban Gaultier.
The findings are published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Results of the recent study are reflective of a systematic review published
in the journal CNS
& Neurological Disorders Drug Targets. According to the
analysis, gut microbiota play a key role in regulating stress response and in
the development of the central nervous system during critical stages. The
review confirmed that probiotics help mitigate anxiety and depressive-like
behaviors in animal models.
Human studies establish link between probiotics, depression
A vast number of human studies from the last few years have demonstrated
effects of probiotics in alleviating depressive symptoms. In 2011, French
researchers found that daily consumption of a probiotic formulation helped
ease psychological distress in study participants. Both L. helveticus and
B. longum strains were shown to promote beneficial psychological effects in
volunteers, the researchers wrote in The
British Journal of Nutrition. Researchers at the University of
California, Los Angeles also found that women who drank milk that contained probiotics
exhibited less activities in brain areas associated with emotions compared
with those who drank plain milk.
Another study published in the journal Nutrition showed that
participants with major depressive disorder who regularly took probiotic
supplements had significantly lower Beck Depression Inventory total
scores compared with those in the placebo group. A meta-analysis
published last year also revealed that study participants who were on
probiotics treatment had lower showed relatively low incidence of depression.
The findings appeared in the journal
Probiotics consumption may also help regulate mood, a Dutch study found.
Researchers at the Leiden University in the Netherlands examined 40
healthy participants and classified them into two groups: the probiotics group
and the placebo group. Study data showed that patients in the probiotics group
exhibited less reactivity to sad moods compared with those in the placebo
�Even if preliminary, these results provide the first evidence that the
intake of probiotics may help reduce negative thoughts associated with sad
mood. As such, our findings shed an interesting new light on the
potential of probiotics to serve as adjuvant or preventive therapy for
study author Lorenza S. Colzato.
Another study published in Psychopharmacology revealed
that people who took prebiotics � compounds that promote probiotic growth
� paid less attention to negative information and more focus on positive
information during a computer test compared with those who took a placebo.
Researchers also found that participants in the prebiotics group had lower
cortisol levels in their saliva than those in the placebo group. High cortisol
levels were known to induce stress.