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What Do Probiotics Do?

What do Probiotics Do?

I’m pretty sure that most of you have heard about probiotics by now, but what do probiotics do and why would you consider taking a probiotic supplement?

To truly grasp how and why probiotics are so beneficial, it’s important to understand the scope that bacteria play in our health and wellness, especially the bacteria in our gut microbiome. The microbiome is the collection of all microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and their genes, that naturally live on and in our bodies.1

There are approximately 38 trillion bacteria that reside in the human microbiome, which is an astronomical number!2 These bacteria are rich in diversity, and through research, we know that they play key roles in the body including: 3,4,5

  • Producing some vitamins that we do not have the genes to make.
  • Breaking down our food to extract nutrients we need to survive.
  • Synthesizing key compounds such as B-vitamins and short-chain fatty acids.
  • Teaching our immune systems how to distinguish dangerous invaders from innocuous compounds.
  • Producing helpful anti-inflammatory compounds that fight off other disease-causing microbes.
  • Helping to improve motility.
  • Signaling components of the gut-brain axis.

Creating and maintaining good gut health is an important factor for good overall health. Supporting your microbiome includes a healthy diet, exercise, getting good-quality sleep, and may include supplementing with probiotics.


When it comes to diet, there are certain foods that have been shown to help support healthy gut bacteria.6

  • Omega-3 fats can increase good bacteria in the gut.
  • Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut contain healthy microbes.
  • High-fibre foods like nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables all contain prebiotic fibers that are good for your gut bacteria.
  • Polyphenol-rich foods such as cocoa, green tea, and olive oil all contain polyphenols which increase healthy gut bacteria.


Most bacteria in your gut support body functions, and our bodies support the health and growth of these microorganisms. They produce vitamins, fatty acids, and amino acids that are used for immune functioning, digestion, mood regulation, and more. Regular exercise accelerates the process, increasing the different kinds of microbial species in the gut, and encourages bacteria to flourish. 7,8


The intestinal microbiome produces and releases many of the same sleep-influencing neurotransmitters such as melatonin, dopamine, serotonin, and GABA that are also produced by the brain. Like sleep, and so much else about the body, it appears our microbiome is regulated by circadian rhythms. New research shows that when circadian rhythms are disrupted, the health and functioning of the microbiome suffer as well. 9

Set yourself up for good sleep by having a set schedule. Wind down, dim your lights, unplug from electronics, and find calming activities such as soft music, light stretching, reading, or relaxation exercises before you sleep. Have a comfortable mattress, pillows, sheets, and blankets, set a cool and comfortable temperature (around 65 degrees Fahrenheit), block out light with heavy curtains or an eye mask, drown out noise with earplugs or a white noise machine or fan, and try calming scents like lavender. 10

Probiotic Supplements:

Probiotics are friendly bacteria that live primarily in your digestive tract and support the health of the digestive and immune systems. Renew Life® has been a leader in digestive health for over two decades, and their comprehensive lineup of probiotic supplements continues to be one of Canada’s leading choices to empower people to elevate their quality of life through better digestive health.

Renew Life® 30 Billion Daily Care™ and 50 Billion Extra Care™ are 12-strain probiotic formulas that support and promote digestive health. They help to reduce functional gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation, flatulence, and abdominal pain, and help to reduce the risk of developing upper-respiratory tract illness in physically active adults.

For women, many gut wellness solutions weren’t created or tested for the unique needs of women, failing to effectively help balance their microbiomes. Renew Life® Women’s Extra Care™ Probiotic contains strains backed by 25 years of clinical research in feminine health. They contain Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, the most clinically studied strains for vaginal and urinary tract health that have been shown to help balance yeast and bacteria and are contained at the clinically studied levels. 11,12,13

Renew Life® 25 Billion Women’s Daily Care™ and 50 Billion Women’s Extra Care™ are 12-strain probiotic formulas to help maintain, promote, and support healthy vaginal pH/yeast/urinary tract/vaginal flora and feminine health. They can also be used in conjunction with antibiotics to help treat bacterial vaginosis.

All four of the above formulas are contained in delayed-release capsules that are packaged in stay-fresh bottles to help block out moisture and ensure quality & potency right through to expiration. The formulas are gluten, dairy & soy-free and non-GMO Project verified.

For the Little Ones:

Renew Life® Kids Daily Boost Probiotic is formulated with 10 billion active cultures and 2 clinically studied probiotic strains to support kids’ digestive and respiratory systems. Taken daily, this innovative probiotic supplement helps support respiratory-tract and intestinal and gastrointestinal health. Offered in a convenient, fruit punch flavored fast-melting powder, it’s a format that’s fun for kids to take.

The gut is the foundation of good health; make sure yours is up for it!

By Caroline Farquhar, RHN, EMP, BA, National Training Manager for Renew Life®

1. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences staff. (2022). Microbiome. [Online]. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Last Updated: 5 April 2022. Available at: [Accessed 9 February 2023].
2. Reference: Looi, M. (2020). The human microbiome: Everything you need to know about the 39 trillion microbes that call our bodies home. Available: Last accessed 27 Nov 23.
3. NIH Human Microbiome Project Staff. (2017). About the Human Microbiome. Available: Last accessed 27 Nov 23.
4. Bercik P, Collins SM, Verdu EF. Microbes and the gut-brain axis. Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2012 May;24(5):405-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2012.01906.x. Epub 2012 Mar 8. PMID: 22404222
5. Robertson, R. (2017). Why the Gut Microbiome Is Crucial for Your Health. Available: Last accessed 27 Nov 23.
6. Robertson, R. (2020). The Gut-Brain Connection: How it Works and The Role of Nutrition. [Online]. Healthline. Last Updated: 20 Aug 2020. Available at: [Accessed 18 January 2023].
7. Chai, C. (2022). Can Exercise Boost My Gut Health?. [Online]. Everyday Health. Last Updated: 2 Jun 2022. Available at: [Accessed 23 January 2023].
8. Clauss, M. et al. (2021). Interplay Between Exercise and Gut Microbiome in the Context of Human Health and Performance. Frontiers. Last Updated: 10 Jun 2021. Available at: [Accessed 23 January 2023].
9. Breus, M. (2022). The Latest on Sleep and Gut Health. [Online]. The Sleep Doctor. Last Updated: 13 December 2022. Available at: [Accessed 23 January 2023].
10. Suni, E. (2022). Sleep Hygiene. Available: Last accessed 27 May 22.
11. Reid G, et al. Oral used of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and L fermentum RC-14 significantly alters vaginal flora: randomized, placebo-controlled trial in 64 healthy women. FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology, volume 35, issue 2 page 131-134, 30 Nov 23.
12. Parma, M., et al. “Probiotics in the prevention of recurrences of bacterial vaginosis.” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Vol. 20, Suppl. 1 (2014): 52–57.
13. Vujic, G., et al. “Efficacy of orally applied probiotic capsules for bacterial vaginosis and other vaginal infections: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.” European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology, Vol. 168, No. 1 (2013): 75–79.
*Based on the number of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG®) clinical studies, as of February 2023.
Renew Life® Ultimate Flora® Probiotics

About the Author: Renew Life Team


When it comes to probiotics and gut health, Renew Life is amongst the top-selling brands in Canada. In Canada since 2002, Renew Life offers a full line of natural health product supplements for better digestive health, including probiotics, fibre, digestive aids, enzymes, and internal cleanses.