Do you want to hear a statistic that will blow your mind? There are more bacteria in your body than there have ever been human beings on the planet. According to Carolyn Bohach, a microbiologist at the University of Idaho, there are ten times more bacterial cells in your body than human cells, that’s about 100 trillion bacteria! Some people avoid the germ world at all costs, but the fact is that we are walking, talking petri dishes. Bacteria are involved in many processes in the body including digesting food, protecting you from illness, and absorbing and manufacturing nutrients. In fact, they are vital to good health.

Studies show that when bacteria in the intestinal tract becomes unbalanced, chronic diseases can occur. So how do you rebalance your microbial ecosystem? Probiotics! Here are a few things to look for when choosing a probiotic:

Culture Count
This refers to the total amount of bacteria per serving and can vary widely from product to product.

Targeted Formulas
Most people would benefit from a high potency, multiple strain formula. There are child-specific formulas for kids and infants, and if needed, you can choose formulas that are specific to certain areas of concern such as colon health or vaginal support.

Delivery System
Most bacteria cannot survive the high acid environment of the stomach. A probiotic with a delivery system will protect the probiotics from harsh stomach acid and deliver them directly to the intestines where they are needed and utilized by the body.

Guaranteed Potency
Always ensure that the product packaging states that the potency is guaranteed at expiry, not at the date of manufacture. This ensures that you are getting what you paid for and more importantly, the health benefits of the probiotic itself.

Number and Type of Strains
Since we all have a different microbial make-up in our body, it is important to choose a probiotic supplement with multiple strains. Bifidobacteria is primarily found in the large intestine and lactobacilli in the small intestine. Those unpronounceable bacterial strains all have different roles to help ensure good health.

  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
    Has the ability to protect the body against rotavirus diarrhea, it modifies the gut flora and is supportive therapy for intestinal infections and intestinal disturbances. Immune strengthening properties have been reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition especially in relation to colon health and its suppressive effect on tumors. It reports that B. bifidum is well tolerated without side effects, reducing the inflammatory response of the colon and stimulating the body’s fluid immunity.
  • Bifidobacterium breve
    Helps decrease intestinal permeability, improves intestinal microflora, and has a positive effect on the intestinal immune system.
  • Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum
    Helps in the formation of lactic acid along with small amounts of formic acid. These acids lower the PH of the intestines, thereby making the region undesirable for harmful bacteria. It is also a substantial producer of B vitamins.
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
    Helps reduce the levels of harmful bacteria and yeasts in the small intestine and also produces lactase, an enzyme that is important in the digestion of milk. Acidophilus is involved in the production of B vitamins (niacin, folic acid, and pyridoxine) during the digestive process. This is the most prevalent strain in the body.
  • Lactobacillus casei
    Inhibits growth of E.coli, as well as being effective against urinary tract infections.
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
    Is useful for the inhibition of vaginal and urinary tract infections. It helps the body resist pathogenic bacteria and viruses, and prevents rotoviral or Clostridium difficile induced diarrhea.
  • Lactobacillus salivarius
    Is useful in helping impair the growth and activity of harmful pathogenic bacteria, including H. pylori and salmonella. It also helps break down undigested protein and disengage the toxins produced by protein putrefaction.
  • Lactobacillus fermentum
    Is capable of releasing glutathione and has been shown to prevent colonic inflammation such as colitis in animal studies.
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
    Makes use of its potential to block receptor sites for gram- negative bacteria. L. plantarum is capable of metabolizing semi-resistant fibres, such as onion, garlic, artichoke, wheat, oat, rye, bananas, and yeast. It is also an important tool in antimicrobial defense and its effect both against extra- and intercellular pathogens.

All of these strains are found in Ultimate Flora Critical Care. It is a powerful once a day probiotic supplement that has 50 billion good bacteria in a single capsule, and it’s enteric coated to ensure the probiotics are getting to where they are needed most. It’s an easy and convenient way to get your daily dose of probiotics without having to eat 50 servings of yogurt a day!

By Caroline Farquhar, R.H.N., B.A.