Did you know that your body contains TEN times more bacteria than human cells?! Most of them live in the gut, and they can have a surprising impact on the rest of your body.

Probiotics can help to keep your gut bacteria balanced, which is why many people are turning to probiotic supplements to boost their digestive health and their overall wellbeing. In this article, we’ll talk about what probiotics are, how they work, and what benefits you can expect from supplements like our Feel Supreme Inner Purity Probiotic Formula.

What are probiotics?

First, let’s talk about those gut bacteria. Together with other microorganisms like viruses and fungi, the bacteria in your gut make up a community called the gut flora or microbiome. This is mostly located further along your digestive tract in the large colon.

Your microbiome plays lots of essential roles, like creating vitamin K and some B vitamins. It also turns fibres into certain types of fats needed to strengthen the gut wall and keep your metabolic and immune systems functioning properly.

Some bacteria in the microbiome have the potential to be harmful, but in a healthy gut, they’re kept in check by commensal or “friendly” bacteria. However, if your friendly bacteria levels drop, the harmful bacteria can multiply and start to wreak havoc on your body.

An imbalance in gut flora can happen due to poor diet, antibiotics, or illness. It’s been linked to a number of serious illnesses like:[1][2][3][4]

  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome

Probiotics can prevent or correct bacterial imbalances in the gut by boosting the numbers of good bacteria.[5] Some foods are natural sources of probiotics, especially fermented foods like yoghurt, pickled vegetables, kimchi, tempeh, miso and sauerkraut. But if you’re not getting enough probiotics from your diet, you can take a supplement too.

What are probiotic supplements?

A probiotic supplement is usually a capsule or a drink containing large numbers of friendly bacteria. Some feature a single bacteria group (most commonly Lactobacillus, Saccharomyces or Bifidobacterium), while other “broad-spectrum” or “multi-strain” supplements feature a combination.

Probiotics are not to be confused with prebiotics. Rather than putting bacteria back into your body like probiotics do, prebiotics are designed to feed the bacteria that are already there.

What are the benefits of probiotic supplements?

There are lots of different strains of bacteria and they each have different effects on the gut microbiome. There are far too many strains to go into each one, but here are some of the most widely studied benefits. You can find out more about the associated strains in the references.

  1. Can reduce symptoms of some digestive conditions

Not surprisingly, the balancing effect of probiotics on your gut microbiome is shown to have several proven digestive health benefits.

First, probiotic supplements are known to prevent and treat antibiotic-induced[6], infectious,[7] and other types of diarrhoea.[8] There’s also evidence that they can relieve the symptoms of digestive disorders like ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.[9][10]

  1. May help weight loss

There’s growing evidence that certain probiotics can help you to lose weight.[11] Some strains are thought to prevent you from absorbing fat in the digestive tract,[12] while others are believed to boost calorie burning, prevent fat storage, and make you feel fuller for longer.[13][14] However, strains like Lactobacillus acidophilus may cause weight gain,[15] so if weight loss is your goal, it may be better to avoid this strain.

  1. May promote heart health

Some studies have shown that probiotics have a positive effect on cholesterol, lowering the “bad” LDL variety[16] and, in some cases, increasing “good” HDL cholesterol.[17] A series of studies also found that probiotics can lead to a small but notable reduction in blood pressure.[18]

  1. May support mental health

Often called the second brain, we’re increasingly finding that the gut can have a big impact on our mood, too. Some studies[19][20][21] have found that probiotic supplements can improve the symptoms of:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  1. May support immune health

By restoring balance in the gut microbiota, probiotics can prevent the growth of harmful gut bacteria.[22] The immune benefits extend beyond the gut, though. Some strains are also believed to help fight respiratory infections[23] and significantly reduce the frequency and severity of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women.[24] Other probiotics have also been found to boost production of the body’s natural immune cells and antibodies.

How do I take probiotic supplements?

We recommend taking probiotic supplements in capsules rather than drinks. The bacteria have to make it all the way to your large intestine in order to work their magic, but they can be killed by stomach acid and bile along the way. Drinks offer little protection for the bacteria, but a capsule will ensure they reach the large intestine alive and well.

It’s also important to take probiotics at a high-enough dose. Probiotics are measured in colony-forming units, or CFU, and depending on the bacteria strain, you’ll need a dose of at least two billion CFU to see the benefits (the higher the better!).

Are probiotics safe?

Yes. Probiotics are generally safe, although you should always ask your doctor if you have a pre-existing condition and/or you take medication.

Follow the recommended dosage on the packaging for best results, but don’t worry if you take too many. A study tested the effect of a 1.8 trillion CFU dose of probiotics and found that no harm was done.[25]

Try Feel Supreme’s Inner Purity Probiotic Formula now

If you want to try probiotics for yourself, our Inner Purity Formula is a great place to start! This high-dose blend features 4bn CFU from eight strains of friendly Lactobacillus bacteria, selected for their digestion-friendly composition and their ability to tolerate stomach acid and bile. That means maximum delivery where they’re needed, and maximum health benefits for you. Get yours here.

References

[1] Gargano, L. M., & Hughes, J. M. (2014). Microbial Origins of Chronic Diseases. Annual Review of Public Health, 35(1), 65–82. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-publhealth-032013-182426

[2] Musso, G., Gambino, R., & Cassader, M. (2011). Interactions Between Gut Microbiota and Host Metabolism Predisposing to Obesity and Diabetes. Annual Review of Medicine, 62(1), 361–380. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-med-012510-175505

[3] Tremaroli, V., & Bäckhed, F. (2012). Functional interactions between the gut microbiota and host metabolism. Nature, 489(7415), 242–249. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature11552

[4] Tuohy, K. M., Fava, F., & Viola, R. (2014). ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his gut microbiota’ – dietary pro- and prebiotics for the management of cardiovascular risk. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 73(2), 172–185. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0029665113003911

[5] Quigley, E. M. M. (2010). Prebiotics and probiotics; modifying and mining the microbiota. Pharmacological Research, 61(3), 213–218. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phrs.2010.01.004

[6] Newberry, S. J. (2012). Probiotics for the Prevention and Treatment of Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea. JAMA, 307(18), 1959. https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2012.3507

[7] Allen, S. J., Martinez, E. G., Gregorio, G. v, & Dans, L. F. (2010). Probiotics for treating acute infectious diarrhoea. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD003048.pub3

[8] Sazawal, S., Hiremath, G., Dhingra, U., et al. (2006). Efficacy of probiotics in prevention of acute diarrhoea: a meta-analysis of masked, randomised, placebo-controlled trials. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 6(6), 374–382. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(06)70495-9

[9] Moayyedi, P., Ford, A. C., Talley, N. J., et al. (2010). The efficacy of probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review. Gut, 59(3), 325–332. https://doi.org/10.1136/gut.2008.167270

[10] Saez-Lara, M. J., Gomez-Llorente, C., Plaza-Diaz, J., & Gil, A. (2015). The Role of Probiotic Lactic Acid Bacteria and Bifidobacteria in the Prevention and Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Other Related Diseases: A Systematic Review of Randomized Human Clinical Trials. BioMed Research International, 2015, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/505878

[11] Sanchez, M., Darimont, C., Drapeau, V., et al. (2014). Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus CGMCC1.3724 supplementation on weight loss and maintenance in obese men and women. British Journal of Nutrition, 111(8), 1507–1519. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114513003875

[12] Ogawa, A., Kobayashi, T., Sakai, F., et al. (2015). Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 suppresses fatty acid release through enlargement of fat emulsion size in vitro and promotes fecal fat excretion in healthy Japanese subjects. Lipids in Health and Disease, 14(1), 20. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12944-015-0019-0

[13] Aronsson, L., Huang, Y., Parini, P., et al. (2010). Decreased Fat Storage by Lactobacillus Paracasei Is Associated with Increased Levels of Angiopoietin-Like 4 Protein (ANGPTL4). PLoS ONE, 5(9), e13087. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0013087

[14] Yadav, H., Lee, J.-H., Lloyd, J., et al. (2013). Beneficial Metabolic Effects of a Probiotic via Butyrate-induced GLP-1 Hormone Secretion. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 288(35), 25088–25097. https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M113.452516

[15] Million, M., Angelakis, E., Paul, M., et al. (2012). Comparative meta-analysis of the effect of Lactobacillus species on weight gain in humans and animals. Microbial Pathogenesis, 53(2), 100–108. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.micpath.2012.05.007

[16] Agerholm-Larsen, L., Bell, M., Grunwald, G., & Astrup, A. (2000). The effect of a probiotic milk product on plasma cholesterol: a meta-analysis of short-term intervention studies. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 54(11), 856–860. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601104

[17] Kießling, G., Schneider, J., & Jahreis, G. (2002). Long-term consumption of fermented dairy products over 6 months increases HDL cholesterol. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 56(9), 843–849. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601399

[18] Khalesi, S., Sun, J., Buys, N., & Jayasinghe, R. (2014). Effect of Probiotics on Blood Pressure. Hypertension, 64(4), 897–903. https://doi.org/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.03469

[19] Akkasheh, G., Kashani-Poor, Z., Tajabadi-Ebrahimi, M., Jafari, P., et al. (2016). Clinical and metabolic response to probiotic administration in patients with major depressive disorder: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Nutrition, 32(3), 315–320. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2015.09.003

[20] Mohammadi, A. A., Jazayeri, S., Khosravi-Darani, K., et al. (2016). The effects of probiotics on mental health and hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in petrochemical workers. Nutritional Neuroscience, 19(9), 387–395. https://doi.org/10.1179/1476830515Y.0000000023

[21] Wang, H., Lee, I.-S., Braun, C., & Enck, P. (2016). Effect of Probiotics on Central Nervous System Functions in Animals and Humans: A Systematic Review. Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, 22(4), 589–605. https://doi.org/10.5056/jnm16018

[22] Resta-Lenert, S. (2003). Live probiotics protect intestinal epithelial cells from the effects of infection with enteroinvasive Escherichia coli (EIEC). Gut, 52(7), 988–997. https://doi.org/10.1136/gut.52.7.988

[23] Hatakka, K. (2001). Effect of long term consumption of probiotic milk on infections in children attending day care centres: double blind, randomised. BMJ, 322(7298), 1327–1327. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7298.1327

[24] Stapleton, A. E., Au-Yeung, M., Hooton, T. M., et al. (2011). Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Phase 2 Trial of a Lactobacillus crispatus Probiotic Given Intravaginally for Prevention of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 52(10), 1212–1217. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/cir183

[25] Kligler B, Cohrssen A. (2008) Probiotics. American Family Physician. 78(9):1073-1078. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19007054/