Whether we’re still in our mother’s womb, a child or a grown adult, consuming probiotics provides countless benefits.
The World Health Organization defines them as follows: “A probiotic is a living micro-organism that, when ingested in sufficient quantities, provides beneficial effects on the health of its consumer”. In other words, probiotics, meaning “for life”, are the good bacteria that are beneficial to our body, specifically for our digestive and immune systems. Probiotics have a positive effect on our body and constantly interact with our intestinal flora, also called the intestinal microbiota.
In order to understand the benefits of consuming probiotics daily, we must first understand the importance of the intestinal flora, which represents all bacteria, both good and bad, naturally found in our intestinal tract. Together, these bacteria form a complex ecosystem that plays a major role in maintaining our health.
In the mother’s womb, a baby’s intestines are deemed “sterile” and only upon birth are they populated with their first batch of bacteria. In fact, bacteria are the first organisms we come in contact with when we’re born, even before taking our first breath of air!
Studies have shown that the way a child is born has an impact on its intestinal flora.
Natural birth: Bacteria from the mother’s vaginal and intestinal flora are transferred to her child. As a result, the first bacteria to populate its intestinal tract are lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.
Caesarean section: Bacteria from the birthing environment, including air, medical staff and the mother’s skin flora, are transmitted to the child. As a result, flora integration differs from babies born naturally, and includes enterobacteria, staphylococcus and enterococcus.
Babies born via Caesarean section are more susceptible to immune deficiencies.
The length of the pregnancy, the labour process, the environment in which the baby grows, its diet and the medication it takes, especially antibiotics, will greatly affect its intestinal flora’s composition. Bacteria populations will increase and diversify; by age 2, it is said that a child’s intestinal flora corresponds to that of an adult.
Intestinal flora is an organ in its own right and plays a key role in our life and our bodily functions. That’s why we must take care of it.
(As said flora is comprised of microscopic bacteria, one can only imagine how many are needed to reach that weight!)
Intestinal flora fulfills multiple functions, and its bacteria are in constant communication with our body’s cells; to the point that our intestinal flora is said to be our second brain! The bacteria produce molecules that send signals to our intestinal cells; for example: we’re missing this or you should produce more of this. This is referred to as cross-talk, a sort of dialog between intestinal flora and the body’s cells. Bacteria can also be identified by our immune system and, based on the signal received, bacteria are then directed to where they would be the most effective. Bacteria are involved at all levels, which is why they are so important to us.
Nutritionists promote a varied diet as a way to stay healthy. As each type of food is “supported” by its own bacteria, the more varied our diet is, the more protected we’ll be by our intestinal flora 9.
When intestinal flora is unbalanced, the so-called “bad” bacteria take over, which can lead to illness, infections, digestive issues, fatigue, depression, etc.
Every day, our intestinal flora is disrupted by our diet, stress, medications (especially antibiotics) and lifestyle. Sometimes, this is for the better, but other times for the worse, and this is when problems happen7, 8.
80% of the immune system’s cells are found in the intestinal tract, so it goes without saying that your immune system can be thrown out of whack when your intestinal flora is unbalanced, like during a round of antibiotics10!
As our intestinal flora can have repercussions on our health, it is important to keep it diversified and balanced.
This is where probiotics come in!
In competing with bad bacteria (pathogens), probiotics help boost the amount of good bacteria throughout the intestinal tract, thereby contributing to the maintenance of a balanced intestinal flora.
Through a modulation process, probiotics, beyond their own positive effects, help intestinal flora fulfill its physiological functions.
While probiotics contribute to healthy bowel movements, they also do so much more!
Studies on probiotics have shown that they have over a hundred positive effects12.
As shown in peer-reviewed clinical studies published in scientific journals, Bio-K+® is a 100% probiotic product with proven benefits and effectiveness on human health.
The unique patented formula created by Bio-K+® (L. acidophilus CL1285®, L. casei LBC80R® and L. rhamnosus CLR2®) has been thoroughly studied, and its three bacteria have been proven to be synergistic (lack of competition between them) and therefore, work more effectively together.
Bio-K+® was created by a Québec-based company whose core priority is quality control. Moreover, standardized manufacturing processes that comply with the pharmaceutical industry’s good manufacturing practices. It ensures strict quality control to enable the company to provide consumers with a high-quality product at all times.
A study of 17 probiotic products in capsule form has shown that products WITHOUT any enteric coating did not survive their passage through the stomach13.