Why Taking Just Any Probiotic is Not Enough
What makes a healthy gut? A happy and healthy gut microbiome. What is the gut microbiome? Think of your gut microbiome as your digestive tract’s personal collection of microorganisms, which, in turn, allow your digestive tract to do its thing. There has been an increasing amount of research on how the gut microbiome can affect not only gut health but also the health of the entire body; therefore, maintaining a healthy gut has implications for overall health. Researchers and the public alike have been keen to understand how we can influence the state of our gut microbiome so that we are giving it its best life. Probiotics are one such way.
But not just any probiotic will do. The type of probiotic, as well as the amount matters.
What do probiotics do?
Probiotics, which literally translates as “for life,” add good bacteria to the gut, helping restore and maintain a healthy balance between the good and bad bacteria that already exist in the gut. Think of it as keeping your body in neutral—throw it out of balance and you find your gut engine screaming because it’s in a gear it doesn’t want to be in.
One way to keep the gut happy and the temper tantrums at bay is by having an appropriate amount of good bacteria. About 100 trillion bacteria (the good and bad kinds) live in the gut, and of those, there are about 1,000 different species, comprised of about 5,000 different strains. Age, diet, environment, genes, and medications all affect the composition of your gut bacteria, making the “right” amount of good bacteria unique to each person1. Having a generally good amount of good bacteria is important for supporting immune function and controlling inflammation. Certain types of good bacteria can also aid in digestion, prevent bad bacteria consumed through food or drinks from entering the bloodstream, and breakdown and absorb nutrients2. However, it is important to keep in mind that each strain of probiotic works in its own way and has different effects on the body.
Why You Should Take a Probiotic Every Day
The balancing act between good and bad bacteria happens naturally in your body 24/7, but probiotics are one way to make sure the good bacteria outweigh the bad. Regularly taking probiotics is the equivalent of sending a constant crew of morale-boosting peacemakers in an endless battle of the gut. The more we keep the peace, the more likely we are to feel good.
Probiotics Protect and Prevent
Probiotics are generally assumed to be beneficial as complementary treatment for defined illnesses and over-the-counter treatment for general well-being3. If you are experiencing gut issues (we’ve all been there!), it’s likely that the balance between good and bad bacteria is out of whack, and a probiotic could be just what you need to bring everything back to normal. Taking a daily probiotic can help you restore the balance and prevent future imbalances. Remember, a neutral gut is a happy gut.
Of note, as probiotic supplementation for gut and overall health continues to be researched, it is important to keep in mind that one size does not fit all. Each person’s gut microbiome is like a fingerprint: it is unique. Therefore, it is in your best interest to consider the type and amount of probiotic that will suit your needs.
Choosing the Right Probiotic for You
Though all probiotics add good bacteria, their health benefits are strain specific. In other words, it is best to consider the health benefit you are trying to achieve before you select a probiotic to welcome into your body. Don’t just roll out the red carpet for any one probiotic. Remember, how you influence your gut microbiome has implications for your entire body. Be choosy.
Bacillus coagulans is a type of bacteria that is commonly taken as a probiotic to ameliorate general digestive problems. In addition, some research has shown that Bacillus coagulans produce enzymes that help digest proteins more efficiently than the enzymes that already exist in the gut alone4.
One study found that taking Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 (all those letters and numbers refer to the strain) with protein significantly increased recovery in athletes 24 and 72 hours after exercise; the athletes also had reduced muscle soreness 72 hours after exercise. The researchers concluded that the protein plus Bacillus coagulans supplement led to faster recovery and less of the dreaded DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).5 Two birds, one stone. Whether you are an elite athlete or leisure time exerciser, Bacillus coagulans may be a key ingredient to recouping the benefits of your hard work.
Another reason Bacillus coagulans is a popular choice of probiotics is that it is more resistant to strong gastric acid and high temperatures6. In other words, Bacillus coagulans is well trained for the acidic environment of the gut and thus is more likely than other types of probiotics to be successful in keeping the peace. This is significant because in order for the probiotic to do its job, it must first survive the acids the gut throws at it! Where other probiotics might fall to the sourness of the gut, Bacillus coagulans stands tall. This is no easy feat, and its survivability makes it stand out among the rest. You want this one in your corner.
What can we take away from all of this? The gut is more than it seems. Like our general health, we take our gut health for granted until something goes wrong. Probiotics are an easy, proactive way to give your gut the good stuff so it can keep doing its job, day in and day out. Like a healthy diet and regular exercise, think of probiotics as a preventive prescription to everyday health.
Ready to take action? Check out our Digest Support Protein with Bacillus coagulans. We’ve matched protein with probiotics so you can rest easy knowing your body is getting the protein and good bacteria it needs.
Note: Even with the growing body of evidence to support probiotic supplementation for gut and overall health, it is important to keep in mind that as with any supplement, it is best to let your healthcare provider know what you are doing.
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2016, October). Can gut bacteria improve your health? Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/can-gut-bacteria-improve-your-health
- Probiotics: What is it, Benefits, Side Effects, Food & Types. (2020, March 9). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/14598-probiotics
- Abid, M. B. (2019, September 2). Probiotics in health and disease: fooling Mother Nature? Infection. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s15010-019-01351-0?error=cookies_not_supported&code=d43cb28f-0086-482f-961c-bae67d508cc4
- Effect of probiotic on growth performance and digestive enzyme activity of Arbor Acres broilers. (2010, October 1). ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0034528810000834?via%3Dihub
- Jäger, R. (2016, July 21). Probiotic Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 reduces exercise-induced muscle damage and increases recovery. PeerJ. https://peerj.com/articles/2276/?utm_source=TrendMD&utm_campaign=PeerJ_TrendMD_0&utm_medium=TrendMD
- Potential Use of Bacillus coagulans in the Food Industry. (2018, June 1). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6025323/