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About Probiotics

Probiotics is the name given to the bacteria that live in and on our bodies and are considered to be a part of us (commensal) and to support the healthy function of our bodies.

Probiotics are also referred to as good bacteria, friendly bacteria, probiotic bacteria and live cultures.

Each of us has around 100,000 billion viable microbes (bacteria) living in our intestines, comprising over 1,000 different species and more than 5,000 strains. These microbes weigh around 1.5 kg in total and are referred to collectively as the microbiome.

Not all of the bacteria in the microbiome are beneficial, although some of the strains that are often considered pathogenic are also a natural part of the overall composition and only cause dysbiosis (an imbalance) if they are able to overgrow and colonize the intestines.

There are thousands of different strains of bacteria naturally present throughout the human body – on our skin, in our mouths, in the vaginal canal and in our gut. Together these bacteria are known as the microbiome and each person’s microbiome is unique to them. The gut microbiome has been the focus of much research over the past 20 years, including that done by ProVen Probiotics.

The strains used in the Lab4 bacteria blend in ProVen Probiotics have been specifically chosen from the most researched families of bacteria (Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria) and offer a synergistic effect which cannot be gained from a single strain.

Lactobacillus strains tend to provide benefits to the upper intestine (duodenum, jejunum and ileum), whereas Bifidobacteria are considered to provide a greater effect in the large intestine (cecum and colon).

The European Consensus, taken in 2004, outlines a number of criteria to help people distinguish good quality probiotics as follows:

• Have clinically proven health benefits demonstrated using rigorous scientific trials (randomized, double blind, and placebo-controlled designed trials).
• Are alive and reach the gut in sufficient number, surviving gastric and bile acid and digestive enzymes during the gastro-intestinal transit until they reach the gut.
• Are clearly defined using modern biological detection methods.
• Are clearly labeled, including the genus (eg. Lactobacillus), the strain (eg. acidophilus Cul-21) and amount (eg. 10 billion).
• Are shelf stable, thus guaranteeing delivery of the quantity of probiotic until the date of expiry.

You may also want to look for:
– No need for refrigeration
– Manufactured to current Good Manufacturing Practices standard
– Positive independent reviews
– Evidence of safety

To help you choose the perfect ProVen Probiotic for you give our probiotic finder a go.

The side effects of probiotics are usually mild and temporary and can include gas and bloating along with mild changes in stool consistency.

This is often a sign that the probiotics are having an effect as  the pathogenic strains of bacteria produce gas as a side effect of being ‘crowded out’ by the probiotic strains.

No, it is virtually impossible to overdose on probiotics, although taking very large amounts may mildly increase frequency of bowel movements

We all have billions (some estimates say trillions) of bacteria in our body and these are constantly being replaced – around half of our fecal matter is comprised of bacteria. Taking a probiotic can help to support these bacteria, but represents a small percentage of the overall numbers.

Prebiotics are completely different from probiotics – they are a type of fiber that cannot be digested directly by humans, but are used as food by the probiotics to help them to multiply and colonize the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract.

Some foods contain prebiotics and if eaten alongside probiotics, they can help to support the multiplication of the probiotic bacteria. These prebiotic foods include raw garlic, raw or cooked onion, raw leeks, raw asparagus, artichoke, dandelion greens and under-ripe bananas.

Some of the products in the ProVen Probiotics range also contain prebiotic fibers FOS (fructooligosaccharides) and GOS (galactooligosaccharides) to support the colonization of the Lab4 bacteria.

CFU means colony forming units, which are the number of viable bacteria or probiotic cells in the product, which are able to multiply and form colonies of bacteria. 

Probiotic supplements include varying numbers of bacteria – from 1 billion CFUs to 500 billion or more.

ProVen Probiotics are backed by research at a variety of CFU numbers – ranging from 10 billion to 50 billion.

There is no definitive number of bacteria that has been shown to be ‘best’ and probiotic supplements are available at widely differing doses from millions of CFUs to 100s of billions.

The right dose for you will depend upon the reason you are taking the probiotic supplement and it is important to identify a product that is supported by research for the specific numbers of bacteria it contains.

As well as supplements, probiotic bacteria are often added to  foods such as yogurt and yogurt drinks, milk, cheese and now even cereals.

The effectiveness of the probiotics from these sources will depend on the strains and numbers of bacteria and it may be useful to check out the evidence supporting these products and the specific strains of bacteria they contain.

These products may also contain dairy and have a high sugar content.

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