Probiotics support good digestive health. As such, probiotic supplements are popular choices for individuals who suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) problems and want to keep the gut (and immune system) as healthy as possible. Bovine colostrum offers stand-alone or additional support for improving gut health.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria that are added to the bacteria found in the human body. The “good” or beneficial bacteria help the bowel function properly and promote the growth of healthy bacteria within the GI tract. Good bacteria help the body produce vitamin B12, butyrate, and vitamin K2; eliminate fungi and yeast; and create enzymes that destroy harmful bacteria. Also, good bacteria have been shown to stimulate the secretion of immunoglobulin A (IgA) and regulatory T-cells that help modulate immune function.
Individuals are first exposed to probiotics as soon as they are born. A mammalian newborn receives probiotics as he or she passes through the mother’s birth canal during delivery. Then, a series of events begins inside the baby’s GI tract that leads to the colonization or proliferation of good bacteria.
The optimal balance of good and bad bacteria is 85% good and 15% bad, according to Sovereign Health Initiative. If this balance is disrupted and leans towards a higher percentage of bad bacteria, an individual’s gut health becomes compromised. This may lead to a number of health problems, including constipation, diarrhea, weight gain, and skin issues.
Probiotic supplements have been shown to foster the growth of good bacteria and contain common strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum, and Bifidobacterium lactis.
Are Probiotic Supplements Necessary?
A lack of good gut bacteria may cause an individual to experience autoimmune bowel conditions, digestive problems, frequent colds, flu, infections, and assorted skin issues. These health issues sometimes lead people to incorporate probotic-rich foods into their diets or use probiotic supplements.
There are many benefits to supplementing with probiotics, and these benefits include:
- Avoiding Candidiasis – an oral fungal infection commonly called thrush due to destruction of candida (yeast)
- Enhanced support against food-borne illnesses
- Healing of inflammatory bowel conditions
- Improved vitamin B12 production for increased energy
- Reduced risk of cold and flu symptoms
- Prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea
- Strengthened immune function
Ultimately, an individual’s digestive health affects every physiological system in the body. People are frequently exposed to environmental toxins such as herbicides, pesticides, and organic solvents, as well as internal toxins that are the natural byproducts of cellular functioning and digestion. These toxins can negatively affect the digestive function and make it difficult for people to utilize nutrients and remove cholesterol from the body. They may even cause chronic inflammation in the body, i.e. a primary cause of various chronic conditions and diseases.
Are You Getting a Sufficient Amount of Probiotics?
Getting the right amount of probiotics can be tough. Here are some tips to ensure you get plenty of probiotics in your diet:
- Eat sour foods. Fermented vegetables, foods that contain apple cider vinegar, and other sour foods are great sources of probiotics. These foods often contain acetic and gluconic acids, healthy acids that support the growth of probiotics in the digestive system. Homemade fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and other vegetables, are better than store-bought canned varieties; canned foods are subjected to high heat during the manufacturing process which kills the natural probiotics.
- Incorporate raw or probiotic-enriched dairy into your diet. Raw cow or goat milk, kefir, yogurt and raw dairy products are rich sources of probiotics. For example, adding a cup of kefir to a morning smoothie or snacking on yogurt during the day may make it simple for a person to increase his or her probiotic intake.
- Consume high-fiber foods. Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and other high-fiber foods offer a wide range of health benefits. In addition to serving as top sources of probiotics, these foods help feed the good gut bacteria, reduce cholesterol levels, and manage blood sugar levels.
Adding a daily probiotic supplement is also an effective way to get probiotics if probiotic food sources are not available or convenient. When evaluating probiotic supplements, take a look at the specific bacteria strains included in a product. The best probiotic supplements won’t necessarily contain the most bacteria (CFUs, or colony forming units); but they will contain a variety of bacteria strains. Read the label first to find out if the bacteria are alive or freeze-dried. If alive, be sure the label provides instructions for keeping them that way. Each bacteria strain in a probiotic supplement has a different function relative to the digestive system, so the goal is to select a supplement that contains multiple bacteria strains. A supplement containing a high concentration of only a small number of strains may be less effective overall.
At a minimum, you should choose a supplement that contains:
- bifidium: Helps the body break down carbohydrates, fat, and protein.
- longum: Helps the gut wall maintain its integrity.
- acidopilus: Helps the body absorb nutrients and digest dairy foods.
Although probiotic supplements are exceedingly valuable for gut health, they lack colostrum. Colostrum’s growth factors help the bacteria colonize (multiply) in the GI tract. Thus, taking a bovine colostrum supplement at the same time as a probiotic supplement is advisable. Taking Colostrum-LD® along with GastroDefense® Daily Therapy from Sovereign Laboratories may help people achieve the most benefit.
Colostrum – the Ultimate Prebiotic
A prebiotic is defined as a food that promotes the growth or activity of beneficial (good) microorganisms. In the case of colostrum, it does much more than that for the body. Bovine colostrum is 25 – 30% immunoglobulins which go to work immediately in the GI tract. They bind, recognize, and destroy pathogens, toxins, viruses, and other antigens. Unlike powerful antibiotics which destroy both beneficial bacteria as well as pathogens, colostrum’s immunoglobulins help to restore a healthy 80% beneficial bacteria to 20% harmful bacteria ratio in the body by aiding the beneficial bacteria to colonize and thereby restore balance or homeostasis in the gut.
A healthy gut is important as the foundation of overall health. In the center of the digestive system lives trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi we call the microbiome. These microbes have tremendous potential to impact our physiology, both in health and in disease. They contribute metabolic functions, protect against pathogens, educate the immune system, and, through these basic functions, affect directly or indirectly most of our physiologic functions.
Whenever the ratio of beneficial bacteria becomes imbalanced or in a disease state, called dysbiosis, it leads to gas, bloating, diarrhea, chronic inflammation, food allergies, cravings for sugar and processed foods, depression, and acne to name a few. If allowed to continue, studies have linked gut dysbiosis to intestinal and extra-intestinal disorders including IBS, celiac disease, asthma, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
What makes colostrum more powerful as a prebiotic and distinctive, is its growth factors. Any substance ingested, even probiotics, can be seen as a potential threat to the body if it can “leak” into the bloodstream. Research has shown 8 out of 10 people have intestinal hyperpermeability. Repairing the gut lining first is critical to establishing a healthy microbiome. Colostrum growth factors have been clinically shown to restore the “tight junctions” between the cells lining the bowel wall and preventing toxins, parasites, infectious bacteria and foreign materials crossing over into the bloodstream. Once a leaky gut is healed, colostrum becomes probiotics’ best friend. It is the growth factors in colostrum that help the probiotics colonize and thrive.
GastroDefense® Daily Therapy offers a clinically proven formula for GI tract protection. It contains a rich combination of probiotics and a small quantity of bovine colostrum. The probiotics in GastroDefense® Daily Therapy help minimize the risk of constipation while providing the most beneficial strains of bacteria. At the same time, the colostrum in GastroDefense® Daily Therapy helps the probiotics in the intestinal tract multiply and flourish. Colostrum-LD® also is included in GastroDefense® Daily Therapy to help speed up the colonization of good bacteria.
When it comes to gut health, it is important to note that probiotic and bovine colostrum supplements are not interchangeable in terms of health benefits. Colostrum-LD® is necessary to heal and prevent intestinal hyperpermeability (‘leaky gut’); probiotics do not heal the GI lining. So, when used together, these products may provide people with the nutritional support they need to optimize their gut and immune health.