Most of us have heard about probiotics, the “good” bacteria that reside in your intestinal tract. Learn more about what they are and how they can benefit your health.

Bacteria is not a dirty word; even though we have been taught that it is something to disinfect and eradicate. In fact, inside each of us is about 100 trillion bacteria, most of which reside in the gut. This is 10 TIMES the number of cells in our body! The bacteria that grow naturally in the intestinal tract aid in the nourishment and defense not only of the digestive tract but of the whole body. These beneficial bacteria are known as probiotics which actually means “for life.”

Just like we all have a unique set of fingerprints, we all have a unique bacterial make up in our body. The bacterium that is established in your intestinal tract within the first two years of life is what you will have into adulthood. This microbial “fingerprint” may dictate the difference between someone who has strong digestive health and someone who does not.

What do these bacteria do? 
• Synthesize vitamins such as thiamine (B1), folic acid (B9), pyridoxine (B6) and vitamin K.
• Produce digestive enzymes and aid in the absorption of calcium, magnesium and iron.
• Improve the strength and function of the lining of our colon. This mucosal barrier helps to prevent harmful organisms and toxins in the intestinal tract from passing into the bloodstream.
• Help to control inflammation in the body.
• Stimulate and support the immune system.
• Maintain regularity and health of the bowel.

Pathogenic organisms are always present to some extent in the digestive tract, but are normally outnumbered and neutralized by the beneficial bacteria. When the beneficial and harmful bacteria levels become imbalanced you have what is called Dysbiosis. This can lead to digestive upsets in the short term and sets the stage for the development of disease in the long-term. A variety of factors can cause dysbiosis including antibiotic use, antacid use, lifestyle factors such as poor diet, yeast overgrowth or parasites, and even aging.

As we can see, you don’t have to suffer a major illness to upset the balance of bacteria in your gut. To combat this, make sure to eat a diet rich in organic vegetables, eat fermented foods, drink purified water and minimize your use of antibiotics/antacids. Along with these behaviors for healthy living, boosting the levels of ‘good bacteria’ in your digestive tract is beneficial.  Bottom line is that whether you are 1 or 100, if you have a colon it is a good idea to supplement with a probiotic!

Which probiotic is right for me?
With so many probiotics on the market, it can be confusing. There are over 500 types of bacteria in the digestive system and they weigh around 4 pounds (the weight of a brick!).  There are two main strains of bacteria that we are familiar with, Lactobacillus for the small intestine and Bifido-bacterium for the colon. A good rule of thumb is to look for a multiple strain probiotic with lots of L’s for the “little” intestine and B’s for the “big” intestine.

Ultimate Flora Critical Care by Renew Life contains both Lactobacilli and Bifidobacterium, making it one of the more potent products on the market. Each capsule provides 50 Billion active cultures from 10 different strains in a ‘once a day’ serving. Ultimate Flora Critical Care also contains FOS (fructooligosaccharides), which is an optimal food source for probiotics. FOS aids in the colonization of probiotics in the intestinal tract.

If you are a woman that is concerned about yeast, then Ultimate Flora Vaginal Support (VS) by Renew Life is the product you should reach for. Each capsule contains 45 billion live Lactobacillus cultures and 5 billion live Bifidobacteria, mirroring the prevalence of Lactobacilli and the lesser numbers of Bifidobacteria in the vagina. The 9 strains in the Ultimate Flora VS formula were chosen for their prevalence in a healthy vagina and urinary tract.
Ultimate Flora Critical Care and Ultimate Flora VS both use a unique water-based enteric coating that protects the probiotics against being destroyed in the acidic environment of the stomach, yet still allows the probiotics to populate the intestinal tract.  Whatever your health concern or goal, Renew Life probiotic formulas offer the ULTIMATE in probiotic protection.