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Home About Live Cultures Live Cultures About Live Cultures Live Cultures What are Probiotics? Fermented foods have been part of the traditional diets of many different ethnic groups for centuries.
Even when taken on a daily basis and at high doses it is extremely difficult to over-dose on probiotics, so natural health practitioners and retailers can confidently recommend them to their clients. Outside of this, probiotics can be taken safely by many groups of people and on an ongoing basis.
To read more about how dietary factors affect the microbiome, and which steps you can take to boost your friendly bacteria through diet you may like to read Jacob's informative blog post entitled 'Gut microbiota responsive to diet '. April 12, 2013 By Sarah 19 Comments I’ve been a big believer in probiotics and their value to my health for a long time. As a busy mom of 3 little kiddos I know firsthand just how hard it is to take care of ourselves as Mothers.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with probiotics here is a little breakdown of what they are.
One of my favorite examples of good versus bad bacteria comes into play when we use antibiotics. Other things that can lead to a disruption in bacteria levels are change in hormone levels, diet and spermicides.
When looking for a probiotic it’s important to note that not all probiotics are created alike.
Provella not only protects your GI tract and restores your natural flora it also protects your vaginal health.
I learned that supplemental good bacteria may not stay in the system long, so to get the full benefit of Provella it’s important to take Provella every day.
I learned that stomach acid is one of the biggest reasons for good bacteria not to survive in the gut. Provell helps women restore and maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria to support digestive and vaginal health.
I was surprised to learn that only as few as 20-40% of other probiotics actually make it through the gut. I learned that Provella™ is formulated using a patented controlled-release technology that helps protect probiotics from harsh stomach acid. Make Your Own Mini PB&J Finger Foods Perfect For Toddlers Learning To Feed Themselves! Many people find the idea of taking a supplement containing bacteria slightly out of their comfort zone and the question 'are probiotics safe?' is often asked. An increasing amount of research is being carried out on probiotics, and more precisely on the balance of our gut bacteria and the importance of the different strains of bacteria. It might be interesting to outline the differences in the types of research as there are several.
Generally speaking, the more researched a microorganism is, the more reassured one can be in regards to its safety. The genus, species and strain of the microorganism (e.g Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM®) is important. At the end of the day, the safest probiotic for you is going to be the one that is most tailored for your needs. Yes – it is safe to do so, as long as, if suffering from a serious health condition, you have checked with your doctor first. Melaena is the medical term for blood in the stool which has come from relatively high up in the digestive tract. Someone who has had major surgery may find their immune system is compromised, leading to a higher risk of an infection entering through the site of the open wound. Patients in the ICU are severely unwell and their immune system will be under severe pressure. Severely immunocompromised or immunosuppressed individuals do not have the ability to mount an appropriate response to any microbe that they come in contact with microbes, even those that are normally neutral or considered beneficial.
A Central Venous Catheter is a tube into a vein in the neck, chest or groin, to deliver nutrients or medications to a patient, or to take regular blood samples. These are examples where caution should be used when taking probiotics, however, in general probiotics are a safe supplement that are now widely believed to be a positive approach to optimal digestion, immunity, skin health, among many other aspects of our health. Whether someone is looking to alleviate specific symptoms, or just hoping to give their health a bit of a boost, then probiotics can be helpful.
As a Registered Nurse I’ve seen the benefits of pairing probiotics with other healthy habits to improve your health.
Probiotics are not drugs or vitamins, but are live microorganisms, usually bacteria, which may benefit human health. It has been estimated that as few as 20%-40% of certain probiotic bacteria survive passage through the gut. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
Probiotics, or also known as ‘live cultures’, ‘gut bacteria’, ‘healthy bacteria’, 'gut flora', are natural substances; organisms which are found in all of us. Problems arise when the non-beneficial bacteria outweigh the beneficial bacteria – this is called dysbiosis.

The body constantly tries to obtain a state of homeostasis (defined as ‘the tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements’). For example, probiotics have been shown to affect weight, with an increasing level of evidence linking a healthy balance of friendly bacteria with a healthy body weight and appetite. This is partly because the names are real tongue twisters and may mean little to most people, and also because it is a real unknown to most as to which strain is the one you are looking for for your particular needs and symptoms. Clinical trials are predominantly carried out in order to test the efficacy of the probiotic.
In-vitro research describes where a product or microorganism has been tested for something in a petri dish, or in a test tube. In-vitro tests give a good assessment for the efficacy of a product or strain, however the more human trials a product has been assessed in, the better.
Many products list only the genius and species, but different strains provide different benefits and therefore a reputable company will list these with the entire name. If you have constipation and you are taking a probiotic intended for those with diarrhoea, whilst it should not have any particularly negative effects, this is possibly not the best option. Of course when it comes to safety, if you are allergic to certain foods and ingredients, check the allergens by reading the packaging, and contacting the company if in doubt. GRAS is a regulation that comes under the Federal food, drugs and cosmetics Act in the USA, and denotes when a ‘substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use’. Naturally they ingest it from their mother as they pass through the birth canal, however, more babies are born by caesarean sections now. As you get older taste and smell changes, mastication of food can become a little more tricky, additionally stomach acid and digestive enzymes start to decline. In fact they can help support the mum’s immune and digestive system and therefore ultimately her absorption of nutrients and the health of her baby. Our body naturally needs these bacteria, yet there is a constant onslaught of factors which may attack our microbiome.
Whilst many probiotic manufacturers do not list any contraindications, perhaps as the risk is generally very low for natural supplements such as live cultures, we prefer to err on the side of caution and list any possible contraindications in terms of particular health conditions.
By the time the blood is excreted it has formed a back, tar-like colour and an unpleasant smell. If you have had pancreatitis in the past then it is best to consult with your doctor as to whether probiotics can be taken.
At this time it’s not advisable to give probiotics, as all efforts need to be focused instead on the body regaining strength. There may in fact be a benefit in taking probiotics for patients with severe immunosuppression, but there is also believed to be a possible risk in these circumstances.
There is a fair risk of an infection developing in the area where the catheter is inserted into the body, so these patients are carefully monitored for this. Unfortunately antibiotics don’t discriminate the good bacteria from the bad bacteria and the get rid of it all. Provella contains a proprietary blend of 6 bacterial strains chosen specifically for maximum benefit to women. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. She is a Registered Nurse currently staying home with her four children while her husband works full time.
The digestive tract is home to trillions of microorganisms; some of these are beneficial, some are harmful, and some are neutral.
This balance is very finely tuned and can be upset by antibiotics, being born via Caesarean, excessive cleanliness, what you eat and drink, consumption of sugar and processed meats, among other things.
It ensures that the body stays at the right temperature, that the body is brought back to a relaxed state after a stressed state, and that the blood is at the right pH level among other things. Probiotics have also been shown to strengthen our response to stress, anxiety and depression.
So make sure you are looking at a probiotic which has ideally, been tested in people like you. All of the species in the OptiBac Probiotics range are on the list of substances which are considered to be safe. A wide variety of biological agents such as bacterial and fungal species or viruses used for plant protection purposes may be authorised in the European Union for use in the food or such like.
Very young children may also be given antibiotics at a young age, as well as at times being kept possibly overly clean. These shifts can lead to changes in the gut bacteria, and alongside antibiotic therapy, the microbiota in an elderly person can be impaired leading to all sorts of potential digestive issues.
Her bacteria will also be passed on to the child if having a vaginal birth and there has been research to show that some strains of healthy bacteria can be found in breast milk2. The short answer is yes it is, and in fact many doctors are now advocating a probiotic supplement to support a patient’s digestive system and immunity whilst on a course of antibiotics. As mentioned above, antibiotics, illness, stress, diet, excess alcohol consumption, anti-bacterial washes and soaps, ageing, and foreign travel are some of these. It is different from red blood in the stool or on the toilet paper, as this is fresh blood coming from a tear on the anus or piles. Additionally for those who have had abdominal or heart surgery, it is overall best to wait until wounds have healed following surgery before taking probiotics, unless advised otherwise by a doctor.

If you are otherwise fairly healthy then it will probably fine to take them, but it’s best to check at your next GP appointment. Since probiotics boost the immune system it might seem like a good idea to take them at this time, but when the immune system is under such pressure it’s advisable not to give probiotics, as they might challenge the body, instead of working with it. Due to currently insufficient clinical evidence around this area, at OptiBac Probiotics we do not recommend probiotics for individuals who are severely immunocompromised or immunosuppressed.
To be prudent, we recommend that those with a CVC consult their doctor before taking probiotics. The human body, and particularly the lower gastrointestinal tract, contains a complex and diverse community of bacteria that help to keep your body working properly. That can lead to things like diarrhea and yeast infections because the balance of good bacteria is thrown off by the antibiotics. However, Provella is formulated using a patented controlled-release technology that helps protect probiotics from harsh stomach acid and is designed to ensure that live organisms reach the intestines, where they can begin working. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. When considering whether probiotics are safe or not it might be useful to remember that the term 'probiotics' describes the beneficial microorganisms which, amongst other actions, help to crowd out harmful bacteria in order to keep us healthy. Interestingly, generally speaking it’s the diversity and balance of your bacteria that enhance health. When any of these systems become unbalanced it causes the body stress, and at times illness. If you are concerned about the safety of probiotics, choosing a well researched brand which has undergone clinical trials is probably your safest bet! In-vivo research describes a trial that is performed on living organisms – so this would include both animal and human trials. A certificate of QPS is where a ‘substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use’.
It is safe for an elderly person to take probiotics and may even help prevent some digestive impairments mentioned as well as support immunity in the elderly.
Breast milk from a mother with a healthy microbiota will also be more supportive from an immune point of view. You may find you like to take one daily because it feels supportive or you may prefer to take them when you feel under stress or at certain times of the year. Melaena may be a sign of ill-health in the upper digestive tract, and so it must be investigated medically. Effects of seven potential probiotic strains on specific immune responses in healthy adults: a double-blind, randomised, controlled trial. By taking probiotics along with your antibiotics (which is completely safe and doctor approved) you can help maintain the balance of good bacteria and eliminate those problems typically caused by antibiotic use.
This is important because more than 70% of the body's immune defences are thought to be based in the gut. As 70% of the immune system lies in the gut, taking probiotics has been shown to boost the immune system. However, if any of the below contraindications are present then advice should be taken from the doctor. At OptiBac Probiotics, most of the supplements are suitable for pregnant and breast feeding mums.
This particular product in our range is best taken with breakfast, and can even be taken at the same time as the antibiotic.
Once the cause of the melaena has been found it’s best to check with the doctor if probiotics can be taken.
Supplemental good bacteria may not stay in the system long so, to get the full probiotic benefits, it’s important to take Provella every day. However, if you have an over active immune system, such as allergies, probiotics can help down-regulate that to a normal response level. These are the most highly sought after trials as they most accurately indicate the effect of something on an actual human being. However, it is advisable to give one appropriate for their age; this should have specific types for infants and children, and may be at a lower dose. In order to be prudent we recommend avoiding ‘For daily immunity’ due to the antioxidant present, and we also advise you to consult your doctor before taking Saccharomyces boulardii. It is detrimental to health when they become imbalanced, with pathogenic bacteria outweighing our beneficial ones.
We therefore take probiotics in order to address this and help rebalance our healthy bacteria. Only in exceptional situations where probiotics have perhaps not been quite so well researched, or a person is extremely unwell is it advised to be cautious with them (see the examples below).
After all bacteria outnumbers our body cells 10 to 1!* Adding in a few billion more from a well researched and trialled brand shouldn't make a huge difference!

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