What’s the Buzz About Probiotics?
Probiotics are healthy, live bacteria. They aid in digestive health by improving our gut flora (or microbiome). Therefore, if we have an unhealthy gut, we may see health problems manifesting in our bodies through skin breakouts, upset stomachs (such as gas, bloating, or diarrhea), fatigue, food intolerances, mood swings, and autoimmune conditions.
So how do we get this healthy bacteria in our bodies?
Well, you can get live probiotics from foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, or tempeh (just to name a few). Or, you can take it as a supplement.
There are many different types of probiotics, which contain different types of healthy bacteria. All of which serve their own little purpose in our bodies. Today I’ll highlight a possibly lesser known probiotic: bacillus coagulans. But first, let’s talk about how important the gut is.
The Fascinating Gut-Brain Connection
Okay, this is one of my all-time favorite topics. As someone who “listens to their gut” to guide many of my daily decisions, I’m pretty excited about the scientific journals and documentaries informing us on the complexities and intelligence of our gut.
My intention here is to blow your mind with some facts about our microbiome, in hopes that you may consider how important it is to nurture what science is calling our “second-brain”.
- First of all, there are up to 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells in our body. Most of which are housed in the gut. This means the numbers are in the trillions. There may be more bacteria in our guts than there are stars in the observable universe.
- Second, about 80% of our immune system lives in our gut. And we all know how important it is to care for our immune systems.
- Furthermore, the bacteria in our gut are like fingerprints or snowflakes. No two microbiomes are alike. In other words, that means you and your gut are completely special and unique. Instead of arguing on Facebook about politics, you should probably be arguing with your friends about who has better gut bacteria…..
- Lastly, the bacteria in our guts may control our emotions and personalities. When you’re stressed, anxious, or depressed, your gut knows about it immediately. Many of us may have a “gut feeling” or are told to “trust our instinct”. This is not just metaphorical. Our brain and gut connect by an extensive network of neurons. It is a highway of chemicals and hormones which constantly provide feedback to the brain. This information superhighway is called the brain-gut axis and constantly provides updates between the two ends.
Have I convinced you that you should be kind to your gut? If not, maybe some facts on the benefits of probiotics will assist you.
What is Bacillus Coagulans?
If you’ve already shopped for your own probiotics, you’ve probably seen the popular bacteria names of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. However, in this paragraph, I’ll highlight a possibly lesser known probiotic: bacillus coagulans.
Bacillus coagulans is a type of good bacteria. What is unique to this type of bacteria is that it’s able to withstand extreme environments, such as high levels of acid in the stomach. It is also unique because it is shelf stable, which means you don’t have to refrigerate it.
Health Benefits of Bacillus Coagulans
The following are some of the top benefits of this specific probiotic:
1. May help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Some research suggests that B. coagulans may help treat certain symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and other inflammatory bowel diseases.
A small study published in Postgraduate Medicine in 2009, for example, indicates that B. coagulans may help to relieve abdominal pain and bloating from IBS. At the end of the study, there was a significant improvement from pain and bloating from those who took the probiotic compared to those who took a placebo (1).
Additionally, a pilot study published in Methods and Findings in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology in 2009 found that B. coagulans may be helpful to irritable bowel syndrome patients suffering from diarrhea. Those given B. coagulans experienced significantly fewer bowel movements per day than those given a placebo (2).
2. May treat diarrhea
A 2019 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology affirms B. coagulans is effective in treating diarrhea. In the small clinical trial, 60 subjects with acute diarrhea and stomach pain took either B. coagulans or a placebo. Subjects taking the probiotic recovered sooner than the placebo group (3).
3. May boost immunity
B. coagulans may help boost the immune system by fighting respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold and the flu. (4).
In one study, participants had a 30 day treatment of B. coagulans. The participants were then exposed to adenovirus (which causes respiratory illness) and influenza A (a strain of flu virus). Researchers found that using B. coagulans significantly increased the production of cells that play a key role in the body’s immune response.
What are CFUs and How Many do I Take?
On every probiotic label you’ll see something like 5 billion CFU, 10 billion CFU, and up to 100 billion CFU. CFU stands for Colony Forming Units. It is a form of measurement that describes the presence of living, beneficial bacteria and yeasts present in a probiotic supplement.
So how many should you take?
Well, the bigger the number doesn’t necessarily mean the better here. Although it may be tempting to think the higher the number, the better the effect it will have on me, that isn’t always the case. Harvard Women’s Health Watch recommends a dose ranging from 1 billion to 10 billion taken several days a week. This recommended amount is plenty to maintain a balanced microbiome.
Now, this isn’t to say that doses larger than 15 billion CFU aren’t appropriate for some individuals. Some research suggests that high doses of probiotics may be beneficial for people who have experienced a significant alteration to their gut microbiome due to illness, intense antibiotic therapy, or exposure to environmental toxins. This is something to consult with a trusted physician.
Since Izee Native stands for simple and natural ingredients for maintaining everyday health, we believe 5 billion CFU is a well-balanced amount for our probiotic, without going overboard.
In conclusion, our bodies consist of some pretty complex matter. However, although we are complex, many common ailments can be treated quite simply. Start with taking proper care of your gut. Lower stress levels, get enough sleep, stay hydrated, eat a balanced diet, and try taking probiotics.
Izee Native has probiotic chewable gummies. They are naturally flavored and colored with black carrot extract and beta carotene. They contain 5 billion CFUs, making it a simple and easy probiotic to include in your wellness journey.