Probiotics Basics: Fermented Food Cultures vs Supplements
Probiotics are teeny-tiny organisms that live both on, and inside your body. Researchers estimate that there are over 100 trillion of these microscopic bugs living inside your digestive system alone in the GI tract.1 But that’s not the only place you can find microscopic bacteria living. They can also be found inside your mouth, and on your skin, too!
These microscopic bugs may sound disgusting, but the reality is that microbacteria are one of the most important parts of your overall health. Without them, you may suffer from these health problems, and more:
- Digestive upset including diarrhea, antibiotic associated diarrhea, and irritable bowels
- Chronic intestinal inflammation
- Dry, itchy, red skin
- Colic in infants
- Liver problems
- High stress, and anxiety levels
- More infections of the common cold, and flu2
How Can Probiotics Help Me?
Probiotics is a name for the many different species of what scientists are calling “good” bacteria. While all of the 100 trillion+ microbiota that call your body “home” are technically good, and needed to maintain your overall health, many of them can also be considered “bad” because if they are left to grow inside the GI tract they can become pathogenic, and lead to infections, or illness.
However, the key to good health lies in balancing all of the different strains inside your belly. Scientists are calling the vast ecosystem of microbacteria in your gut the microbiome, and by balancing it you may notice improvements in your digestion, immunity, slim waistline, and even your good mood!3,4
How Can I Get More Probiotics?
The “good” bacteria known as probiotics can be found in many different probiotic foods, and beverages. However, there is also the option of using a supplement to get more of the “good” bugs into your GI tract. But what’s the difference?
Ferments vs Capsules
One of the great debates in the world of probiotics is whether to use fermented foods, or capsules to balance the microbiome. The answer is not so simple because there are benefits to each approach to probiotic su plementation.
Ferments & Cultures
Everyone can make fermented foods, and create live active probiotic cultures at home. All you need to know is HOW to do it, and before you know it, you’ll be a fermenting expert! For most people who follow the Standard American Diet, eating fermented foods may take a while to get used to. However, the living concoctions of these foods provides one of the best sources of “good” strains of living probiotic bacteria. While everyone’s palate may not be ready for the traditional flavors of foreign fermented foods, you can start out with a basic probiotic culture recipe like pickles. It’s easy to do!
The major difference between pungent probiotic foods, and drinks, and their capsulized counterparts is the living properties they possess. The raw bacterium of fermented foods delivers active probiotic cultures that pre-digest foods, breaking them down into smaller more absorbable parts of essential vitamin, minerals, and phyto-nutrients.
The variety of bacteria strains of a living fermented culture is also often much more diverse than that of the average probiotics supplement. You see, that’s because eating pre-digested food that is already broken down before it enters your mouth gives your overworked digestive system a much needed break. Fermented foods, and the live active cultures they contain are also able to naturally withstand the potent digestive acids of your mouth, and GI tract. This is the #1 reason many people prefer fermented foods, and their live active cultures over a probiotic supplement.
Capsules & Powders
Probiotic supplements come in the form of both easy-to-swallow capsules, and mixable powders so that they can easily be integrated into your everyday health regimen. While many people do choose to supplement their gut health with these types of probiotics, you may not realize just how different all of the supplements can be.
Many lesser probiotic supplements on the market today contain only a small number of microbacterial strains that are not even designed to withstand the harsh environment of your GI tract. For this reason, they are not worth your money, because the live probiotic cultures cannot survive the journey through your digestive system. For this reason, many people end up thinking that probiotic supplements do not work – but there is nothing further from the truth. In fact, numerous studies have shown the efficacy of probiotic supplements.5 But which probiotic supplement is right for me?
The most obvious difference between probiotic supplements is the form that they take. A daily probiotic capsule is a simple, fast, and easy way to provide a range of “good” bacterial strains that will flourish your digestive system with healthy bacteria. In doing this, your microbiome may become filled with large colonies of beneficial strains like L. acidophilus, B. lactis, and more. But then of course, powder probiotic supplements are also convenient as they can be blended into any recipe including that of juices, smoothies, and even baked goods. Powder probiotic supplements are also a great way to supply your body a good dose of unique beneficial strains of bacteria for microbiome balance.
When making a fermented probiotic culture at home you may also choose to add in a probiotic supplement in any form. This is one fast, and simple way to increase the potency of your ferment no matter what you’re making. Add just one Perfect Biotics capsule into your fermented food, or drink recipe to diversify the probiotic strains of your culture.
Talk to Your Doctor
Taking back the balance of your microbiome may not be at the top of your to-do list – but it should be! Probiotics are one of the most vital nutrient-like substances needed to support a healthy digestive tract, as well as your immunity, slim waistline, and even your good mood. So, talk to your doctor about developing a probiotic guide to your good health! They can work with you to develop a plan for probiotic supplementation, and help you decide which Perfect Biotics formula will work best for your specific health needs. To your health!
- Luke KUrsell, Jessica L Metcalf. Defining the Human Microbiome.Nutr Rev. 2012 Aug; 70(Suppl 1): S38–S44.
- National Institute of Health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Probiotics: In Depth.
- Yu-JieZhang, Sha Li. Impacts of Gut Bacteria on Human Health and Diseases.Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Apr; 16(4): 7493–7519.
- MariliaCarabotti, Annunziata Scirocco. The gut-brain axis: interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems. Ann Gastroenterol. 2015 Apr-Jun; 28(2): 203–209.
- Ian Rowland, LucioCapurso. Current level of consensus on probiotic science. Report of an expert meeting-London, 23. November 2009. Gut Microbes. 2010 Nov-Dec; 1(6): 436–439.