Probiotics | ... Free Vitamin Encyclopedia.


What are Probiotics?

We all have intestinal flora (that’s the word for all the bacteria in our intestines, good or bad). There are millions of different strains of these bacteria, and each person’s unique mix of those strains is called our microbiome. The more beneficial strains of bacteria are often called “Probiotics,” a term that literally translates as “for life.”

The human body contains more bacteria than it contains human cells – 10 times more.[1] These bacteria help digest your food, regulate your immune system, and produce vitamins such as K and B complex.[2] They are an essential part of life.

But even with 25-28 feet of the intestinal lining to cover, space is limited. And there are many different strains of bacteria-fighting for that space. Health experts say we’re at our healthiest when at least 80% of our flora is what’s considered “good” or beneficial bacteria and only 20% “bad,” (which can be neutral to possibly detrimental).[3] Most of us, however, have exactly the opposite ratio.[4]

Potential Reasons For Unhealthy Intestinal Flora

There are many reasons why individuals have greater numbers of neutral-to-negative strains of bacteria in their personal flora than they do beneficial strains.[5] Some is determined at birth, but diet[6] and lifestyle play an important role in shaping our microbiome over the course of a lifetime.[7] Several studies have found that certain strains of bacteria are more or less present for people in different countries or areas of the world.[8] [9]

Antibiotics have one of the strongest impacts on the diversity of human intestinal flora. A single course of antibiotic treatment causes extreme disruption in the existing makeup of an individual’s flora in the short term, and some of that change can still be detected after as long as 6 months.[10] Repeated courses of antibiotics can permanently alter this critical makeup,[11] even wiping out some beneficial strains altogether.[12]

Effects Of Poorly Balanced Intestinal Flora

Much research has linked poorly balanced intestinal flora to a host of health issues.[13] In fact, a 2009 meta-analysis concluded that our overall immune system is not influenced by intestinal bacteria, but in fact, controlled by them.[14] Poorly balanced intestinal flora can greatly weaken our overall immunity.[15]

The most obvious issue to stem from a poor balance of flora would be digestive problems. Increasing evidence suggests a “combination of host genetics and gut microbiotia are essential for the development of Crohn’s disease.”[16] People suffering from irritable bowel syndrome have “significantly different” intestinal flora than those who do not.[17]

Other health problems that have been associated with a poor balance of intestinal flora include:

  • Cardiovascular Disease[18]
  • Heart Failure[19]
  • Metabolic disease[20]
  • Obesity[21]
  • Diabetes[22]
  • Inflammatory/ autoimmune diseases and cancer[23]
  • Chronic Inflammation[24]
  • Depression[25]
  • Anxiety[26]
  • Brain Disorders[27]
  • Alzheimer’s Disease[28]
  • Insomnia[29]
  • Lack of energy[30]

Improve Your Intestinal Flora And Your Health With Probiotics

With all the negative things poorly balanced intestinal flora can do, it’s no wonder that introducing probiotics to your system can have a dramatically positive effect – improving everything from systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, glycemic control, tissue lipid content and even mood itself. [31]

But what’s the best way to do so? Probiotics have been added to multiple different types of foods, especially yogurt and other dairy products. However, it seems that probiotics in food are not very effective at altering gut bacteria.[32]

Yet probiotic supplements have been shown to alter gut bacteria in a positive way.[33] Of course, there are some limitations. Studies indicate that different strains provide different benefits, and millions of specific strains have still not been studied at all. Ones that have been shown to be effective must survive the trip through the digestive tract and reach their intended destination to matter at all.[34]

The intended destination along the intestinal tract will differ for different strains.[35] One way to ensure coverage for the entire digestive tract is to take a probiotic supplement that contains strains from all 5 genera (or “families”) of bacteria.[36]

How Probiotics Work

As you begin taking a Probiotic supplement, billions of good bacteria move into your small and large intestines. Day after day they’re joined by billions more. And the older, existing bacteria will have no room to live, so before long you’ll have that optimal ratio of good flora.[37]

Suddenly, there’s no room for infectious organisms to take hold. So you get sick much less often. Every system in your body is eventually impacted in a positive way.[38]

Choosing A Probiotic Supplement

Considering the information above, an effective Probiotic supplement will:

  • Contain specific strains that have been scientifically studied and shown to actually provide some health benefits
  • Contain strains that have been shown able to reach their intended destination in the intestinal tract
  • Contain strains from all 5 genera of bacteria to ensure coverage of the entire intestinal tract
  • Contain prebiotics – substances that beneficial bacteria feed on, to help stimulate their survival and growth[39]

Product Recommendation

Probiotic products that meet or exceed current research include:

Pinnacle Probiotic

Pinnacle Probiotic contains at least one documented, researched strain from each of 5 Genera of bacteria, plus an added prebiotic.

Pinnacle is available from the following retailers:

Search Google for Pinnacle Probiotic

More products are to be evaluated soon. If you know of a product we should consider, please email us at

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