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Probiotic 101

Words: Alex Peters

Look closely at the human body and you will discover not all is what it seems. In fact, half of it isn’t even human. At this very moment there are over 38,000,000,000,000 (that’s 38 trillion) microorganisms living in and on your body. Both good and bad, these microorganisms include bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeasts and live, on the whole, in your gut, although they are also found on every inch of your skin as well as in your eyes, ears, nose, mouth and genitalia. Outnumbering the 30 trillion human cells, they make up around 55% of your body. It would be more accurate, perhaps, if we were called Homo bactericus rather than Homo sapiens

Collectively, these microorganisms are known as the microbiome and it has become increasingly clear over the last century that they play an essential role in our health and well-being.

When the microbiome is happy and running smoothly it carries out a number of important functions in the body linked to immunity, digestive health, mood, and skin health. For example, our microbiome helps in the breakdown of certain foods and production of vitamins as well as training our immune systems to keep us safe against pathogens. However, when the microbiome becomes imbalanced these functions start to break down and it manifests as external symptoms. Seasonal allergies, skin conditions like eczema, digestive issues including bloating and IBS, and even trouble sleeping can all be indicators that something is not right in your gut. In short – if you aren’t feeling your usual self, the problem could lie in your gastrointestinal system.  

Luckily, there are small adjustments you can make that will help you rebalance your microbiome and regain your equilibrium. Microbiomes are constantly changing depending on what we do that day and what we are exposing ourselves to. Interactions with nature, other people, and our diet all contribute to our microbial biodiversity. Everytime we eat a meal, play outside, pet an animal, or even kiss someone, we are unknowingly shifting the composition of our microbiome. 

A happy microbiome is a diverse microbiome so introducing a varied diet filled with fresh and fermented foods will help keep things running smoothly. However, to achieve a significant impact and heal your gut from the inside, the best thing you can do is incorporate a daily probiotic and prebiotic into your routine. The probiotic to introduce beneficial bacteria into your gut and the prebiotic to feed those bacteria with essential nutrients to help them grow and thrive. But with so many prebiotics and probiotics on the market, it can be hard to know where to start.  

So, how do you choose the one that is right for you? First off, you want to look for probiotics that will arrive in your gut fully intact and alive. This may sound obvious but it is trickier than you might think. Most probiotic supplement products on the market contain what they claim is “live bacteria,” usually L-lactic acid bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. L-lactic acid bacteria, however, are very volatile and sensitive to heat, light and air, meaning they will most likely be dead long before you’ve even opened the packaging. For those that do survive storage, 99% of them will be killed by stomach acid before they reach the gut. And bacteria which is not alive is completely useless to you.

For probiotics to deliver any kind of health benefits they must be able to survive both the shelf-life and the journey through the intestine. The best way for them to do this is, ironically, if they are dormant when ingested. Spore-based bacteria (Bacillus) are alive yet dormant, hibernating using a tough protective shell until they reach the small intestine. The uniqueness of Bacillus spores is that they are innately resilient. Shielded inside their shells they are able to withstand heat, light and stomach acid. Once they have passed through the stomach they hatch and populate the small intestine with good bacteria, alive and intact, and fed by the prebiotics.

At Byome, we exclusively use spore-based strains in our products. These strains are acquired in our natural ecosystem, specifically in soil, and expertly-formulated for their unique health benefits, potency (i.e. scientifically confirmed) and safety (i.e. approved for human use by the relevant US and EU authorities). 

Functional Probiotic is formulated with high performance strains, Bacillus coagulans and Bacillus subtilis HU58, for their high performance targeted solutions: digestive issues, immunity, cognitive function, anti-inflammatory, and vitamin synthesis. So you know you that what you are putting in your body is only the best.