The health of your digestive system has a direct relationship with your overall health, and if your digestive system is unhealthy, you’ll be at greater risk of experiencing ill health. Your digestive system contains a large reservoir of digestive bacteria which play an important role in maintaining not only the health of your digestive system, but of your whole body.
Friendly vs unfriendly digestive bacteria
When there is a healthy balance between friendly and unfriendly bacteria in your digestive system, your body is in harmony and you enjoy good health. When that balance is disturbed, unfriendly bacteria can take advantage of this disturbance and begin to flourish and outnumber your friendly bacteria. Disturbances to this balance may occur through poor food choices, stress, medications (particularly antibiotics), excessive alcohol consumption and gastroenteritis. Friendly digestive bacteria are directly involved in the digestion of your food, supporting immune system function, protecting against infection, producing a number of vitamins and enzymes, and maintaining healthy mood.
‘Biotic’ refers to a living organism; therefore probiotic literally means ‘for life’ while antibiotic literally means ‘against life’. Probiotics are considered friendly bacteria which help to re-establish digestive balance while preventing the overgrowth of unfriendly digestive bacteria, and they can do this in a number of ways by:
- competing for nutrients
- producing anti-toxins
- increasing immune surveillance
- increasing mucous production to protect the digestive tract
Probiotics play an important role in maintaining the integrity of your digestive tract, reducing the risk of leaky gut and unwanted particles entering your bloodstream and may also help to resolve intestinal inflammation and dampen allergic responses. Around 80% of your immune system sits within your digestive tract, also known as gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), and probiotics interact directly with GALT to defend your body against unfriendly microbes including bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi.
Taking probiotics with antibiotics
Taking probiotics 2-3 hours away from antibiotics can help to maintain healthy digestive balance and offset some of the well-known side effects of antibiotics, including diarrhoea and thrush infections, and you should continue to take probiotics for 2-4 weeks after finishing antibiotic therapy.
Types of probiotics
Your digestive flora contains around 100 trillion micro-organisms which outnumber your human cells by 10 to 1, and there are more than 1,000 different species. A higher concentration of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium is associated with a healthier intestinal tract as the upper part of the digestive system naturally contains lactobacillus, while the lower part of the digestive system naturally contains bifidobacterium, so it makes sense to incorporate these probiotics into a comprehensive, high-strength, broad-spectrum formula to increase diversity.
Saccharomyces boulardii (SB) on the other hand, is a yeast with probiotic-like activity that prevents the overgrowth of unfriendly digestive bacteria and yeasts, including candida albicans, by crowding them out, while encouraging friendly digestive bacteria to colonise and multiply in your digestive tract.
Room-stable probiotics offer greater convenience
Room-stable probiotics have been processed using specialised stabilisation technology which allows for greater stability of certain probiotic strains, so that they can be stored at room temperature, alleviating the need for refrigeration and offering greater convenience.
Probiotics are beneficial for:
- Reducing side effects of antibiotics - take 2 hours away from antibiotics
- Urinary tract or vaginal yeast infections
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Gastroenteritis (inflammation and irritation)
- Poor immune function
- Recurrent illness
- Recovery after illness to boost immune function
- Bacterial and viral infections, including colds and flu
- Eczema or dermatitis
- Digestive disturbances, such as bloating, flatulence and pain
- Digestive comfort while travelling
- Allergies, sensitivities or intolerances
- Inflammatory bowel conditions