In the spring, after the winter snow and the blossoms are bursting into bloom, for many of us spring cleaning is top of mind. We prepare to open the windows and clean our homes with a little more “gusto”. This season, consider improving your immune health with a spring cleaning for your body. Your digestive tract is responsible for about 70% of your body’s immune system, and so keeping it balanced is a must. When our immune system is taxed or off-balance, we become more vulnerable to colds and flus. We all try to make healthy choices at mealtimes, and include lots of fruits and vegetables in our diet; and while this may have been enough in the past, today there are many new and stronger viruses. For this reason, just like your house, your body can benefit from a good cleaning each year to keep your immune system balanced and working at peak performance. That’s why more and more people are turning to probiotics and we’re seeing many different types of food with added probiotics on the label.
So what exactly are probiotics, why are they good for us and how do we choose the most effective ones for our families? According to the World Health Organization, “probiotics are live micro-organisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” Probiotics can help your intestinal bacteria perform tasks more efficiently. They’re the good bacteria that take over the bad when your intestinal system is weakened by antibiotics, stress, poor nutrition or any other negative factor. Sounds like a big job for something so small that we need billions in a single dose to be effective. It isn’t really, when you think that our intestinal flora contains hundreds of billions of bacteria, good and bad. We need more good than bad to be healthy. Probiotics work by protecting our gastrointestinal tract and stomach from the bad bacteria by crowding them out. This improves our digestion and elimination as well as keeping us balanced and making us less susceptible to viruses.
But, not all probiotics are created equal, and their effectiveness can vary dramatically. It’s all very confusing and figuring it out requires a little effort. For a probiotic to be effective, you need 3 parts; genus, species and strain (e.g.: Lactobacillus acidophilus CL1285). The strain is related to the health benefit, and without the strain we can’t know which health benefits, if any, can be associated with the probiotic product. The strain is a combination of letters and numbers. In the case of Bio-K+ probiotics, the product label will read: L. (Lactobacillus) acidophilus CL1285. Make sure that the probiotic you’re choosing is supported by clinical studies and that the studies were done on the finished product and not just the bacterial formulation. The reason for this is because the testing is done on the finished product, it is accurate and its effectiveness is proven.
In the case of Bio-K+, a brand to watch in the probiotics field, its probiotic capsules have an enteric coating to survive the journey down the digestive tract through the gastric acids and bile salts in the stomach as well as making sure that it will be delivered to the intestines where it will start to work. Its probiotic supplements have also undergone numerous clinical trials and its testing is done on the finished product as you find it in stores, which confirms its reliability and effectiveness. Bio-K+ capsules come in formulations that contain 12.5, 25 and 50 billion bacteria each and the Bio-K+ bottle of culture contains 50 billion friendly bacteria. Its latest probiotic supplement made with organic sprouted rice is free of dairy, wheat, corn, and soy and it’s certified organic. It is also the ideal probiotic for those with Celiac disease and anyone with food sensitivities. As well, Bio-K+ is certified gluten-free. It’s offered in various fermented substrates: Dairy, Soy and Organic rice. www.biokplus.com