Is Your Probiotic Just A Mutt?

To me, a dog is a dog.  If you are a dog lover and are familiar with the different breeds of dogs, and all of their strengths and weaknesses, then it must irk you when people like me talk about dogs.  Yes, there are some big dogs, little dogs, annoying dogs and lazy dogs.  That pretty much exhausts my knowledge of dogs.  Now my mother, on the other hand, is a definite lover of dogs.  I am surprised that her picture doesn’t pop up in Wikipedia when searching “dog lovers”.  She can tell you the characteristics and traits of different breeds (or can I say genus/species) of the huskey, or the German shepherd or the Irish setter.  Is this really important?  I would say it is if you are trying to race the Iditarod with a chihuahua, or are choosing a pit bull for your small children.

One thing I do realize though is that probiotics have certain strengths and weaknesses.  And yes, I must admit, it kind of irks me when people just talk about all probiotics being “created equal”.  Not all probiotics are the same.  There are different genus and species that play tremendous varied clinical roles.  It may interest you to note that not all the strains of bacteria in the probiotic you may buy at the local health food store have even been studied for efficacy.  The approach of just “throwing everything in” might not be the best when it comes to your health and well-being.

For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus, is just like saying “dog”.  But when you start saying, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM…now you are talking about the strain that has hundreds of clinical trials showing its efficacy in irritable bowel syndrome, decreasing arthritis, helping with obesity and being a great “watchdog”.  Lactobacillus acidophilus plantarum is the strain you want when you are significantly inflamed or suffer with inflammatory bowel disease.  Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 should be thought of when boosting immunity is the goal.

Now I know there is a lot of talk of cultured yogurt that has bioactive probiotics in each container.  That is great…if you eat 37 tubs a day.  Yep, that’s right!  You would need to consume 37 tubs of yogurt each day to equal one capsule of Ultra Flora Plus DF providing you with 15 billion CFU (colony forming units) of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacter lactic Bi-07.

Regardless of the supplier, you should ask for studies and assays to substantiate their claims of probiotic viability.  You should look for stability and expiration guarantees.  You should ensure that the product is stable at room temperature.  Many companies claim that their product contains “X billion CFU’s” at time of packaging, but when they get to you they may all be dead and useless!

You also want to make sure that you don’t have competing strains in your product.  If the company tries to throw all strains in there for a selling point, you might actually have too much competition for any of the strains to be effective.

So make sure that you are using the right strain, at the right time, for the right purpose to experience the greatest benefits.  Send me an e-mail ([email protected]) and I can send you a brief listing of probiotic formulas that I have found clinically effective.  I’m off now, I think I hear a dog barking.

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