Bluebonnet Nutrition: 2016 Science of Supplement Winter Issue
12915 Dairy Ashford
Sugar Land, TX 77478
Phone: (281) 240-3332
More to Digest Surrounding the Science of Probiotics
By Jennifer Weinhardt
Q: Can probiotics benefit more than just digestion?
A: Of course, the first consideration when discussing probiotics is digestion, but emerging science demonstrates that probiotics can also be helpful for:
Improving Nutrient Absorption: Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body depends on optimal nutrient absorption from food, which is only possible through proper digestion. Research continually demonstrates that by maintaining GI (gastrointestinal) tract health and proper digestion, probiotics help support cellular health and perform many vital bodily functions.
Facilitating Immune Response: Approximately 70 percent of the immune system is contained in the digestive tract. In fact, the GI tract serves as a physical barrier, defending against harmful bacteria. Conversely, poor digestive capability increases the toxic load, and your body may not be able to defend itself against bad bacteria.
Supporting Respiratory Health: The respiratory and digestive tracts share a common passageway, so they also share good and harmful bacteria. Dysfunction in one may easily induce problems in the other. There is increasing evidence that as probiotics work in the digestive system, they are also able to regulate immune responses in the respiratory system.
Addressing Allergies and Food Intolerance: The right balance of beneficial bacteria helps strengthen your immune system, which includes fighting off allergens. Researchers believe that probiotics can encourage the production of antibodies in babies and children that can protect them from allergies later in life.
Promoting Skin Luminescence: Your skin is closely connected to the GI tract. In fact, both are organs of detoxification. When the digestive system’s balance of bacteria is out of whack, inflammation can arise, resulting in a number of skin issues.
Modulating Mood/Emotional Well-being: The digestive system has actually been called the body’s “second brain” because it produces 90 percent of the serotonin in our bodies. This hormone not only regulates intestinal movements, it is believed to promote feelings of relaxation, optimism, and overall emotional well-being.
Maintaining Urinary Tract and Vaginal Health: A woman’s urogenital tract is particularly susceptible to harmful bacteria and this finely tuned environment can be easily thrown out of balance from antibiotics, birth control, and other factors. By restoring the equilibrium of good and bad bacteria in the GI tract, probiotics help address many common female issues.
Supporting Healthy Weight Management: Good nutrition is essential for controlling weight. If your body isn’t properly absorbing nutrients or efficiently eliminating toxins, your weight may be affected.
Q: What should I be looking for in a probiotic? Is CFU count important?
A: People often concern themselves only with the number of bacteria in the formula, known as the CFU (colony forming unit) count. Science has shown that quantity should not always be the priority. It’s far more important to understand the quality of your probiotic, and each strain’s specific applications. For example, depending on one’s food sensitivities, dietary benefits, such as made with non-GMO (genetically modified organism) ingredients and free of most allergens, may be more vital. At the very least, you should select a probiotic with the following key advanced features:
Scientifically Supported Probiotic Strains: Today, the best probiotic formulas are quite sophisticated. Research has shown that a single probiotic may have many different strains—each performing different functions in your body. Therefore, including probiotic strains that have been shown in research to provide benefit to a specific demographic is important.
DNA-Verification: Genetic—DNA—identification is the only way to ensure that you’re getting the most effective probiotic strains. All probiotic strains in Bluebonnet’s new Advanced Choice SingleDaily Probiotic formulas have been genetically identified and characterized by the Pasteur Institute, the prestigious scientific non-profit foundation dedicated to the study of microorganisms. This is important because the ability to characterize the DNA sequence of each probiotic strain is bringing to light that not all strains are created equal.
Symbiotic Probiotic Strains: Probiotic blends can be especially beneficial since multiple strains often act complementary to one another. Compatibility is essential. Tests have shown that dominant probiotic strains can kill off less resilient strains even before consumption. To ensure compatibility and efficacy, it is important that probiotic formulas combine multiple, scientifically supported probiotic strains relevant to a specific demographic (e.g,. women, children, etc.).
Made to Survive: Probiotics are living microorganisms that not only have to survive the manufacturing process, but also all the acids encountered as they travel through the GI tract. To protect the integrity of probiotics, it is important to use advanced technology—such as freeze-drying each strain under low temperature and pressure—which protects them from the normal acidic conditions of the GI tract (pH 3 or 4) until they reach their target site of action—the lower small intestine.
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Jennifer Weinhardt holds a master of science in nutrition from Texas Woman’s University and a bachelor of science degree in nutrition from Texas A&M University. Weinhardt is currently a research and development specialist at Bluebonnet Nutrition where she provides educational training to the sales staff, assists in the launch of new products, and aids in the collaborative writing of marking pieces and technical papers. Weinhardt is an advocate for healthy living and the responsible use of supplements.