Dr. Nigel Plummer
Managing Director, Cultech
Following a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, managing stress, and exercising can support gut health. If you’re looking to optimize your gut microbiome to preserve your overall health structure, probiotics are another important tool. In addition to contributing to good general gut health, probiotics can help manage specific conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation or antibiotic-associated diarrhea, and act as preventative agents for other health conditions throughout the body.
Your gut breaks down food to a simple form so that it can be delivered as nutrients throughout the body, but this is only possible with a healthy microbiome. The microbiome is a collection of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that helps fight off infection, break down potentially toxic food compounds and synthesize vitamins. A healthy gut also communicates with the brain through nerves and hormones, which helps maintain general health and well-being. It’s important to remember that the levels of beneficial bacteria in our gut may be reduced due to factors such as stress, aging, poor dietary habits, and taking antibiotics or other medications.
“Probiotics deliver the most beneficial members of the microbiome,” says Dr. Nigel Plummer, a microbiologist, a globally recognized authority on probiotics, and a key specialist in research and development for the Genestra Brands® probiotic line. “With probiotics, we’re taking those members, isolating them, purifying them and putting them back in much greater numbers than are in your body. Bloating, for example, is caused by an overgrowth or overpopulation of bacteria in the gut that produce gas. The bacteria in probiotics don’t produce gas; they outcompete the gas-producing organisms, resulting in reduced levels of bloating.”
“Additionally, the microbiome is hugely important in maintaining our immune system(health). Eighty percent of the body’s immune system is in the gut, and the microbiome constantly “primes” it to act more quickly and effectively — not just in the gut but throughout the body. In fact, the more we look in terms of roles that the microbiome plays in maintaining our health the more we find — it’s really quite amazing,” says Dr. Plummer.
Do your research to find the right probiotic product
While probiotics may be added to foods such as yogurt, probiotic supplements provide the highest amount of beneficial live and active cultures. Before looking for a supplement, Dr. Plummer recommends checking with your health care provider to ensure probiotics are right for you. When choosing a probiotic, make sure to read the label. Look for the number of colony forming units (CFUs) it contains, which indicates how much bacteria is in each dose. Keep in mind more is not always better since a smaller number of more targeted varieties may be optimal for what you want to treat. In the case of specific allergies, check the ingredients to ensure there’s nothing you’re allergic to or check the label to see if the probiotic is certified free of your particular allergen, such as dairy, soy, or gluten. Dr. Plummer also says to select probiotics that have clinical trial evidence for the condition you’re looking to treat.
“For example, Genestra Brands has a product called HMF IBS Relief. This is because we’ve provided clinical evidence that our product is effective for IBS,” says Dr. Plummer. While some labels list CFUs at the time of manufacture, Dr. Plummer advises looking for a product that guarantees potency when you use the probiotic until the time expires.
Probiotics benefit overall health and well-being
Genestra Brands is built upon a research-driven, evidence-based scientific foundation. Most recently, the company launched HMF Shelf-Stable probiotics, a line of probiotics able to maintain potency levels and stability without refrigeration.
“Probiotics promote good general gastrointestinal health and relieve some common symptoms, such as gas and bloating,” says Dr. Plummer. “They deliver many benefits for our overall health and well-being.”