Don's Home Health Probiotics


Beneficial live bacteria and yeasts, called probiotics, have been associated with many benefits: weight loss and improved digestion and immunity, among others. Some evidence suggests that probiotics may help shorten a bout of diarrhea and improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Probiotic foods are made through the process of fermentation. As bacteria chemically alter the food - say, turning milk into yogurt - they secrete enzymes, organic, acids , and proteins. Some of the potential heaalth perks of probiotics may be due to those compounds.

Probiotic Supplements Vs. Probiotic Foods:
Probiotic supplements, usually pills, are a quick way of getting probiotics, but fermented foods have the added benefit of improved digestibility and other nutrients.

Freeze-dried probiotic bacteria in a supplement may not always have the same effect.

Gut flora | Type of Bacteria | Capsules | Yogurt

Gut flora:
Gut flora consists of microorganisms, mostly bacteria, that live in the digestive tract.
In addition to being able to break down indigestible polysaccharides to absorbable monosaccharides, the intestinal microbiota also modulates the uptake and deposition of dietary lipids.
Traditional estimates were that there from 500-1,000 species of microorganisms in your gut, but a 2007 study [1] suggested there were over 35,000. However, it is probable that 99% of the bacteria come from about 30 or 40 species.
See Gut Microbiota in Health and Disease (

70% of your immune function resides in the wall of the intestines? Your immune system is critically dependent upon good bacteria (probiotics) to keep the bowel wall healthy, to produce your B vitamins, folic acid and vitamin K, break down your food, reduce food allergies, fight off yeast and other invaders of the bowel.

Studies (source unknown) show when taking probiotics you get:
66% increase in immunity - your ability to fight infections, diseases and toxins.
12% fewer colds 
50% reduction in inflammatory bowel disease.
The Case for Probiotics | Original source unknown.

A bout with the flu, antibiotic treatments or Traveler's diarrhea (TD) (Dysentery) can destroy or cause a serious imbalance in your gut flora.
Probiotics, beneficial bacteria that live in your intestines and in yogurts and supplements, can ease digestive woes and may lower cholesterol and strengthen immune systems. Source: Best Yogurt, Consumer Reports
Probiotics take up residence in the intestines and prevent disease-causing bugs from settling in. They're found in live-culture cheese, kefir, and yogurt, as well as in supplements. According to a 2005 report by the American Society for Microbiology, probiotics show promise for relieving diarrhea, eczema in children, and urinary-tract and vaginal infections. Other research suggests that probiotics might also improve digestive problems and irritable bowel syndrome, offset side effects from antibiotics, and shorten the length and severity of the common cold.
Home remedies that work : CR

The Gut-Brain connection:
Think Twice: How the Gut's "Second Brain" Influences Mood and Well-Being: Scientific American Think Twice: How the Gut's "Second Brain" Influences Mood and Well-Being: Scientific American

Accumulating data now indicate that the gut microbiota also communicates with the CNS (Central Nervous System)--possibly through neural, endocrine and immune pathways--and thereby influences brain function and behaviour.
Source: Mind-altering microorganisms: the impact of the gut microbiota on brain and behaviour. - PubMed - NCBI

Types of bacteria:
Stonyfield Farm lists the benefits of some of the cultures they add to their yogurt:

Lactobacillus acidophilus
L. acidophilus provides various health benefits in the gastrointestinal tract. Several studies indicate that L. acidophilus helps lower cholesterol by interfering with cholesterol re-absorption in the intestine.

Bifidobacteria (Bifidus)
Bifidus stimulates the immune system, helps prevent common digestive ailments and supports healthy growth and development of the digestive tract.

Lactobacillus casei
L. casei enhances positive bacterial balance in the intestine. It enhances the immune system by inhibiting growth of diarrhea-producing organisms, alleviates constipation, reduces hypertension, inhibits the growth of carcinogenic tumors, and suppresses disease-producing microorganisms.

Lactobacillus reuteri
Stonyfield Farm is the only U.S. yogurt brand to offer L. reuteri in its products. L. reuteri inhibits the growth and activity of harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, E. Coli, Staphylococcus, Listeria and the yeast Candida. It also has a therapeutic and prophylactic effect on both viral and bacterial diarrhea.
L. reuteri boosts the body's immune system, enhancing the body's resistance to gastrointestinal disease.

Phillips lists the benefits of their capsules:

Lactobacillus gasseri - To support nutrient absorption and lactose digestion

Bifidobacterium bifidum - To help guard against occasional intestinal disturbances

Bifidobacterium longum - To support digestive and immune health. These bacteria help naturally defend against occasional digestive upsets

The amount of the bacterial species in probiotics is measured as colony-forming units, or CFUs. The recommended daily dose of Lactobacillus species or Bifidobacterium species is between 100 million and 35 billion CFUs. For Saccharomyces boulardii, the recommended daily dose is between 250 and 500 mg.

Culturelle claims that Many brands list the number of live cells at time of manufacture, not the number at the time of USE. Many products are also not manufactured or packaged in ways that insure you will receive any live bacteria when you take it.

Because probiotics are considered a food and dietary supplement, not a medicine, the Food and Drug Administration doesn't verify their claims.

A 2010 Consumer Reports survey is worth noting, too. Of respondents who reported using probiotics, 35 percent said that those they used "helped a lot."

Read more: Probiotics & Stomach Flu | LIVESTRONG.COM
Shop for Probiotics (
Name Ingredients CFU cost/
Culturelle Lactobacillus GG (LGG) 10 B .44 costco, .58 Amazon
Jarrow-Dophilus Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Lactococcus and Pediococcus (8 Strains in 4 Genera including B. longum BB536) 5 B .70 amazon
Jarrow Bifidus Balance Bifidobacteria Synbiotic (4 Strains, B. Breve BR03, B. longum BB536, B. bifidum BB01, B. Lactis BI-04) 5 B .40 amazon
Align Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 1 B .96 amazon
Vinco_ProBiotic Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Infantis 25 B .66
Vinco LadyBiotic® UTH Cranberry Juice Concentrate, Natural D-Mannose,
Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1(R), Bifidobacterium longum,
Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Fructooligosaccharide
5 B
Nature Made Triple Probiotic Lactobacillus gasseri PA 16/8, Bifidobacterium bifidum MF 20/5, Bifidobacterium longum SP 07/3 plus essential vitamins and minerals. .23 amazon
Nature Made Digestive Health Probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum 299v 10 B
Nature Made Acidophilus L Acidophilus 500M .16 Target
CVS Digestive Probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis 10 B
Natures Bounty Advanced Probiotic 10 Lactobacillus plantarum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus casei 20 B .21 costco
Phillips' Colon Health Lactobacillus gasseri KS-13, Bifidobacterium bifidum G9-1, Bifidobacterium longum MM-2 1.5 B .25 amazon
Dosage: Most suggest 1 tablet 1-4 times per day, preferably on an empty stomach. See:
Q. What is your advice on Probiotic supplements? :: Healthy Alter Ego

More research is needed before recommended levels are established, but some research suggests 1 billion CFUs of probiotics as a daily minimum for good health.

The Greek yogurts have 10 to 14 grams of protein per serving compared with 3 to 10 grams in the other yogurts and smoothies.) Source: Consumer Reports

One of the best probiotic foods is live-cultured yogurt, especially handmade. Look for brands made from goat milk that has been infused with extra forms of probitoics like lactobacillus or acidophilus. Goat's milk and cheese are particularly high in probiotics like thermophillus, bifudus, bulgaricus and acidophilus.

Some people eat more yogurt for several weeks before travel.
Review of three separate studies found that eating yogurt boosts immunity. Yogurt's active bacteria may hold the key to this. Some live yogurt cultures have the ability to survive in the digestive tract. Source: The Walking Magazine, June 2001

Evidence is mounting that Lactic acid and other substances produced by the cultures may prevent and treat gastrointestinal conditions such as diarrhea. They may also ease other ailments of the intestinal tract, and some researchers now advocate using these beneficial bacteria -- "probiotics" -- as medicine.

Researchers believe that at least some of these native bugs crowd out invading organisms that cause illness, by using resources that the bad bugs need and producing chemicals that kill them. Eat more of the helpful bacteria, the theory goes, and you can stave off stomach problems.

"It seems to work with the body's natural defenses to prevent the overgrowth of a bad bug," says Dr. Sherwood Gorbach, a professor of community health and medicine at Tufts University in Boston.

Yogurt has also been touted as helping to avoid ulsers, cancer, yeast infections, and reduce aging.

Some yogurt is pasteurized after fermentation which kills the bacteria. Look for the "Live and Active Cultures" seal established by the National Yogurt Association. This seal means that the product contains a significant amount of active cultures, to the tune of 100 million cultures per gram of yogurt.

The "Live active culture" seal established by the National Yogurt Association requires [108] viable lactic acid bacteria per gram at the time of manufacture for refrigerated yogurt and [107] per gram for frozen yogurts. However, these counts may not accurately reflect probiotic content as they do not differentiate probiotic bacteria from starter culture bacteria such as S. thermophilus. Culture manufacturers recommend including approximately [106] probiotic bacteria per gram for yogurt and acidophilus milk at the end of shelf-life. (Source: American Dietetic Assn)

In a March 2002 article Consumer Reports says:

"Research suggests that the two bacteria required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in making yogurt--Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus--aren't likely to survive the passage through the gastrointestinal system .

However, yogurts often include additional bacteria: Most we tested, for example, include Lactobacillus acidophilus. Stonyfield Farm says that its products contain six live, active cultures. Some of these additional bacteria are thought to be able to survive long enough to do some good in the gut.

The bottom line: It's still not clear what benefits you might derive from yogurt's live bacteria or which yogurts are best able to deliver them. But those cultures may help make yogurt more easily digestible than other dairy products for people with lactose intolerance. And eating yogurt can make good sense nutritionally.

An April 2011 article in says,
"Marketers may not legally label food products as "yogurt" without full compliance with the specific list of ingredients dictated by the federal government. ...Shockingly, numerous yogurt products facing this nation's consumers in the dairy case contain illegal ingredients, according to federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards of identity for yogurt.

Cultures including Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus are added to milk to create what we call yogurt. Some yogurts advertise the following additional active cultures which are added:
Yogurt Active Cultures FoodFacts
Stonyfield Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacteria, Actobacillus casei, Lactobacillus reuteri. B- to D
Dannon Activia L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus, Bifidobacterium Lactis DN 173-010 (Bifidus Regularis®) B- to F
DanActive L-Casei, L-Bulgaricus, S Thermophilus, C
Yoplait Includes L. Acidophilus C to F
La Yogurt L. Bulgaricus, S.,Theromphilus, Bifidobacterium, L. Acidophilus and L. Casei Cultures C+ to F
Mountain High L. Acidophilus, L. Bifidus, L. Casei

Gorbach discovered Lactobacillus GG, one of the most thoroughly studied probiotics. Research shows it significantly cuts the rate of many types of diarrhea, particularly the type that develops after a person has taken a course of antibiotics.

If you have diarrhea, are about to take antibiotics (which can kill the good bacteria in you digestive tract), or plan to travel to a developing country, advocates say there's no harm in trying probiotics. "I wouldn't hesitate at all," says Gorbach. "There's no downside."

Soy Yogurt or "Cultured Soy"
Soy does have some advantages: It has virtually no saturated fat, it may help lower cholesterol levels, and some brands like Silk and Whole Soy are made from organic soybeans. Whether soy reduces (or raises) the risk of breast cancer and whether it can prevent or tame prostate cancer or menopausal symptoms is still unclear.

Make your Own
You can get yogurt starter from places like
Natren to make your own yogurt.

You can also get capsules with a variety of probiotic bacteria at healthfood stores and places like Custom Probiotics. Probiotica, from the makers of Imodium® is a dietary supplement containing Lactobacillus Reuteri, healthful bacteria that resides in the gastrointestinal system. It is a chewable tablet in a box of 60 for around $15.
Bifidophilus (acidophilus with more varied bacteria types) is also available. See: Kornax, HealthyWarehouse

Benefits of Probiotics to Prevent Infections - Consumer Reports
3 Probiotic Foods To Try - Consumer Reports
Q. What is your advice on Probiotic supplements? :: Healthy Alter Ego Probiotics & Stomach Flu | LIVESTRONG.COM Shop for Probiotics ( "Powerful probiotics" at Medical Post. New York Times Dec. 25, 2001 Bifidus Regularis in Activia Yogurt is One of the Probiotics for Constipation Why Gut Health Matters: Keep the Bacteria Inside You Thriving With a Balanced Microbiome -
FDA Article Soy Yogurt, Stonyfield Farm O'Soy Yogurt Article on Yogurt at Nutrition Action. Acidophilus - The Friendly Bacteria What health effects do live yoghurt drinks have? Top 10 Probiotic Foods to Add to Your Diet | Natural Health & Organic Living Blog Antibiotics, Gut Health Can Affect Behavior, Lead to Depression Oksanen PJ, Salminem S, Saxelin M, Hmlinen P, Ihantola-Vormisto A, Muurasniemi-Isoviita L, et al, Prevention of travellers diarrhoea by Lactobacillus GG. Ann Med 1990;22:53-6.
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last updated 2 Apr 2013