Probiotics & Live Cultures
Probiotics are known commonly as “friendly bacteria”. They are living organisms that are typically found in the gut (stomach, intestines and bowels).
They can be found naturally in food like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut and miso.
Probiotics are important because they compete for food in the gut with harmful bacteria. As a result, the more friendly bacteria you have in your gut, the fewer harmful bacteria that can survive.
This is why Probiotics are not just linked to good health but also are believed to help the immune system to function better. There are also studies which link gut diversity with mood, sleep and so many other elements of a healthy lifestyle.
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All you need to know about Probiotics & Live Cultures
How many types of Probiotics are there?
Whilst there are hundreds of different strains of bacteria they can be grouped into two that are commonly found in probiotic supplements:
There are responsible for producing lactase. Lactase is an enzyme which breaks down lactose products. Lactose products include dairy like milk and cheese.
These bacteria can also help to improve the absorption of calcium, copper, magnesium and iron.
This bacteria is commonly found in the intestine and colon. They have a big role to play in digestion overall and help to break down big molecules into smaller ones that the body can then make more efficient use of. Thus they also help improve the body’s absorption of nutrients. There are studies that show that Bifidobacterium can help reduce the incidence of diarrhoea.
Does it matter which strains of Probiotic I take?
It depends on why you are using probiotics. Generally for overall health and wellbeing benefits we always recommend taking probiotics with a wide range of bacterial strains. This is beneficial because it improves the overall diversity of bacteria in the gut and should deliver a variety of benefits.
That said, there are individual strains that have been shown to have specific focusses on benefits for the body. If you have a specific complaint it can be worth considering this as sometimes a single strain in a concentrated dose might be more beneficial than a multi-strain approach. People sometimes take specific strains for IBS, if they have UTIs or other vaginal health issues and expecting mother’s also take specific strains.
Do probiotics need to be kept in the fridge?
Not all probiotics need to be kept in the fridge. It’s important to check the bottles for storage instructions.
A lot of probiotics are hermetically sealed, meaning that there’s no air in the bottles. This means that the probiotics can survive outside of the fridge (e.g. when you order them online and they’re shipped to you) but once opened it is advised that they should be kept in the fridge.