From research scientists and beauty magazine editors to the millions of consumers who have discovered that probiotics aren’t just for gut health anymore. Probiotics have gotten a lot of good buzz lately. The more we get to know these tiny but mighty beneficial bacteria, the more astonishing their story becomes.
With the many added details about probiotics and the growing list of health benefits they bring to the table, it’s easy to wonder all over again…what exactly ARE these guys? One question that comes up quite often is, “Are probiotics considered a supplement?
The short answer to this query is “yes”…sort of. That’s because perhaps the most popular way to get probiotics into your system is with daily probiotic supplements. Yet, supplements aren’t the only way to get the job done. (More on this in a moment.)
Plus, probiotic supplements are unlike almost any other supplements you have ever known because they need to arrive LIVE to your gut in order to work their magic. That means they require extra TLC to help them survive the hazards they face throughout your digestive system, not to mention the trip from the manufacturer to your kitchen cabinet.
So, while probiotics can be considered a supplement, they are so much more than that. Exciting new details on their power and reach are being added as research on these miraculous microbes continues to grow. Let’s take a closer look at top take-aways—both old and new—to get a more complete picture of exactly what probiotics are and what they may be able to do for you.
Good-to-Know Basics About Your Gut Microbes
Probiotics are often defined as “good” microbes (mostly bacteria) that live throughout your body, but primarily in your gut. In fact, trillions of these microbes reside there and make up what’s known as your gut microbiome.
Beneficial bacteria aren’t the only residents in your gut microbiome, however. Not-so-friendly microbes are also present and these forces of good and evil battle daily to establish their own stronghold.
Best Known Probiotic Benefits
One of the very important (and best known) jobs that probiotics do is to maintain a healthy microbe balance within your gut microbiome—meaning the so-called “good” microbes outnumber and outperform the so-called “bad” ones. The truth is, they need each other to thrive–they just need to be in perfectly balanced harmony.
You may recognize the payoff of this balance as comfortable, smooth-running digestion, with less gas and bloating and improved regularity.
Another critical thing probiotics do in your gut is support a healthy gastrointestinal lining, which acts as a gatekeeper for things both good and bad trying to enter your bloodstream. In this way, probiotics may play a key role in your body’s immune system. In fact, researchers who have investigated the gut-immunity connection estimate that as much as 70% of the human immune system is located in the gut!
Beyond Gut Microbiome Balance
Certainly, probiotics get the most praise for the good deeds they do to support digestion and immune system health. But they have a whole lot more to tout on their resumes, including synthesizing vitamins, enzymes, and fatty acids. That’s right. Probiotics actually play a primary role in many metabolic processes that support your health from head-to-toe.
Plus, your gut microbiome isn’t the only one that exists in your body. Other microbiomes are found in the mouth, skin, urinary tract, and vagina. Each of these microbiomes is unique, with certain probiotic strains that flourish there, but they are also interconnected and can influence one another. Bottom line? Probiotics promote many surprising aspects of good health, both as star actors and in supporting roles.
Priority Probiotic Sources
Because probiotics work hard for you in so many ways, and because they need to keep up their strength and numbers in your body’s microbiomes, it’s a great idea to replenish them regularly. One way to do this is to eat probiotic-rich foods, like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut, and tempeh.
But if you’re not likely to include these items on your daily menu, taking a quality probiotic supplement is a smart way to go. As we mentioned earlier, it’s the best-known method for supporting healthy probiotic numbers and their benefits in your body.
Here at Probulin, we wholeheartedly believe in the many benefits of probiotics and we offer a wide range of science-backed supplement formulas that make it easy to keep you on your probiotic A-game. From our bestselling Total Care Probiotic, to our specialty formulas for immune health, women’s UT health, colon support and more, we have you covered.
How Probiotic Supplements Are Different from Other Supplements…And Why It Matters
As you know, probiotics are commonly found in supplement form, but because they are live organisms that need to arrive to your gut healthy, happy, and ready to go, they are quite unlike most other vitamin, mineral, and multinutrient supplements you’re familiar with. Why does this matter? Because special care needs to be taken to safeguard probiotics through every step of their journey.
Transit Through Your Digestive System
In order to reach your gut, probiotics must first make their way through a plethora of physical and chemical obstacles throughout your digestive system. Those digestive juices and muscle contractions that work so well to break down and move along the food you eat are like a minefield for those little, live probiotic bacteria.
That’s why delivery technology is so critical for a successful probiotic supplement. Breakthroughs like protective capsules and gels can help probiotics survive the dangers of your digestive system and Probulin’s innovative MAKTrek 3-D system uses both of these. Plus, it provides prebiotic inulin and vital electrolytes to feed and hydrate the encapsulated probiotics for gold standard delivery support.
Travel to Your Home
Another (often overlooked) part of the probiotic journey comes before those probiotic supplements ever reach your mouth, and that’s the travel from manufacturing site to your home. Temperatures in transit can sometimes reach over 150 degrees and these extreme conditions can render tender probiotic bacteria seriously compromised, if not absolutely dead.
Think about that. Formulas with robust blends of bacteria strains and impressive colony forming unit (CFU) counts won’t do you an ounce of good if they are DOA. Unfortunately, few probiotic manufacturers take the over-the-road, door-to-door delivery hazards into account. But we do!
We always ship our probiotics cold and protected with special thermal insulation packaging. It’s made from recycled cotton wrapped in bio-based film that’s environmentally friendly and decomposes over time to minimize impact on the environment.
Another part of the probiotic supplement life cycle to consider is the wait time in your home before you use them. This, too, is a period when probiotics can be vulnerable to environmental stressors, like heat and humidity.
Some formulas require refrigeration in order to protect their potency and effectiveness. Others, like every Probulin formula, are shelf stable, meaning they can survive room temperature environments– usually up to two years. How is this done? With high quality bottling materials that block bacteria-killing conditions better than others. To make the most of these protections, try to store even your shelf-stable supplements in cool, dry places in your home.
Wrap Up—5 Things You Need to Know About Probiotics and Probiotic Supplements
- Probiotics are live, “good” microorganisms that reside throughout your body, but primarily in your gut. They compete with other not-so-good microorganisms and try to maintain a balanced environment to support your health in numerous ways, including promoting comfortable digestion and a strong immune system.
- Probiotics are an essential part of the microbiomes in your mouth, skin, urinary tract, and vagina, but primarily in your gut. In addition to helping balance these microbiomes, probiotics can actually synthesize vitamins, enzymes, and fatty acids to support many aspects of head-to-toe wellness.
- You can add probiotics to your system in a number of ways, including eating probiotic-rich fermented foods and taking a quality probiotic supplement.
- Probiotics may be considered supplements, because this is a popular way they are used. But, unlike most other supplements, probiotics are live organisms that must not only survive, but thrive, in order to take hold in the microbiomes of your body and do their good work.
- Because probiotics are alive, they require special care and handling during their journey to and through your body. Advanced packaging and capsule technology can protect these beneficial bacteria from the many hazards they face.