Choosing the most suitable probiotic dietary supplement

Choosing the most suitable probiotic dietary supplement

Probiotics are living micro-organisms which can help to maintain a healthy digestive system and improve overall health. The best probiotics are those which contain specific strains of bacteria that have proven their effectiveness in meeting your needs. The most commonly used strains belong to the lactobacillus and bifidobacteria families. Probiotics are available as dietary supplements, but can also be found in certain foods, such as yoghurt, kefir, miso and lacto-fermented vegetables. Probiotics have a role to play in prevention as well as during sensitive periods.

Which strain in your dietary supplement?

A very special Lactobacillus!

Lactobacillus (lb) is a gram-positive rod bacterium found in the endogenous flora of the ENT, gastrointestinal and genital tracts. Species from this family dominate probiotic supplements, but are also present in dairy products and fermented foods. 

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG: the Probiotic star!

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, which has been documented in an exhaustive body of scientific literature, is the main driver of intestinal flora balance1. What makes it special is its ability to adhere to the intestinal mucosa thanks to the presence of a pilus. It is known to boost children’s intestinal flora when digestive problems arise. Its versatility makes it one of the most popular ingredients with manufacturers, who combine it with Bifidobacterium lactis for children’s ENT areas.

Lactobacillus acidophilus: an effective producer of lactacin B

The Lactobacillus acidophilus strain is found in dietary supplements which are recommended when taking antibiotics. It produces lactacin B, which inhibits the growth and development of certain germs, including Streptococcus faecali.

Lactobacillus reuteri: supporting stomach flora

Lactobacillus reuteri is present in the gastrointestinal tract, the vaginal mucosa and the oral cavity. The reuteri strain helps to balance the stomach microbiota by interacting with Helicobacter pylori. This by-product of the fusion of two bacteria is then eliminated by the digestive tract, reducing the presence of H. pylori in the stomach.

Lactobacillus crispatus: the probiotic for intimate flora 

The intestinal microbiota is a bacterial reservoir for the vaginal microbiota, and studies have shown that micro-organisms have the capacity to pass from one to the other. The characteristic bacterium of the vaginal microbiota is Lactobacillus crispatus. This probiotic strain protects mucous membranes from pathogenic bacteria, including Candida albicans, by limiting their growth. On the other hand, it is highly sensitive to the presence of Gardnerella vaginalis bacteria, known to cause vaginosis. 

Bifidobacterium is priceless! 

Another large family of natural probiotics, otherwise known as “good bacteria”. From birth, Bifidobacteria make up the bulk of the microbiota. 

Bifidobacterium breve

Bifidobacterium breve is the dominant variety in the intestines of breast-fed babies. According to scientific publications, this strain is involved in immunity modulation. Probiotic supplements for children include them to improve digestive comfort and to regulate transit.

Bifidobacterium infantis

This bacterium typically uses the oligo-saccharides contained in breast milk.  Its peptides help to maintain the integrity of the intestinal barrier. It also produces vitamins B1, B6, B9, B12 and vitamin C, and is thought to help adapt the immune response.

Bifidobacterium bifidum

Among probiotic bacteria, Bifidobacterium bifidum is generally combined with other bacteria from the intestinal flora, such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, to maintain species diversity. Like its fellow ingredients, it helps to support the body’s natural defences, particularly during the winter months when the microbiota may be vulnerable.

Flat stomach, immune defence, transit regulation problems, constipation, bloating etc. Which is the best probiotic?

In general, product descriptions provide an overview of the capabilities of each bacterial strain or of the relevant combinations in your case, so you can choose the best probiotic to promote your well-being. The implications of the microbiota’s influence on general health are constantly being revealed. They are used for digestive problems, to restore healthy mucous membranes and improve nutrient absorption, to boost the immune system etc. 

Please refer to the Latin names to identify them: Product labels must comply with health claims and tell you how to use the supplement. Lactic ferments are identified by a strain number, a guarantee of quality. 

The number of capsules to be taken daily is shown on the bottle, together with the quantity of bacteria contained in one or more capsules, expressed in billions of CFUs. 

How long should I take probiotics?

That would depend on your expectations! Rebalancing the intestinal flora depends first and foremost on a healthy diet rich in prebiotics and probiotics. If dietary supplements are necessary, they can be taken over several weeks. For periods of particular digestive problems, a few days may be enough.

A discussion with a health professional can help. You can generally do this online or by talking to your  local pharmacist.