How to choose the best probiotic for good gut health

Gut health – it’s all the rage these days. We’ve seen how overall health and wellbeing often starts with a healthy gut, which has led to an increased interest in supporting gut health, be it through various diets, lifestyle changes, or supplements – namely, probiotics. But not all probiotics are created equal! That’s why we’re breaking down what you should keep in mind when choosing a probiotic, as well as introducing you to one of the most-researched probiotics for promoting gut health, L. plantarum 299V™. Check it out!

First, a refresher! What are probiotics, exactly?
Probiotics are live, good bacteria that help promote a more balanced gut microbiome, aid in normal digestive function, and help to protect the body from harmful bacteria by restoring the gut’s protective barrier. In fact, 70% of the body’s immune cells live in the gut, so probiotics help stimulate the immune system to help fight infections better!

This is in contrast to prebiotics, which act as food to feed the aforementioned good gut microbes and help them thrive, so that they increase in number. With increased proportion of good bacteria, more beneficial metabolites are produced (important for both gut health and overall health) and the proportion of bad bacteria is reduced.

Probiotics and prebiotics work together– that’s why it's beneficial to combine probiotics and prebiotics, as this helps support gut health in two ways: by adding good bacteria and by feeding the good gut bacteria so that the proportion of good gut bacteria increases, in turn supporting a healthy gut and overall wellbeing.

Eating a diet that includes fibre-rich foods high in prebiotic fibre such as leeks, chickpeas, apples and oats help to feed your friendly bacteria – as well as fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut with natural occurring good bacteria – and of course, probiotic supplements.

However, not all probiotic supplements provide the same benefits!
That’s because no two probiotic strains are the same! Researchers give probiotic bacteria three names: the genus, the species, and the strain. For example, the probiotic that we’re focusing on, L. plantarum 299V™ is a probiotic that belongs to the following family:
• Genus: Lactobacillus (hence the L. in the name)
• Species: plantarum
• Strain: 299V™

Remember to look at all three names when considering types of probiotics, because even probiotics of the same species (ex. plantarum), don’t always provide the same health benefits. You should also pay close attention to the level of scientific evidence behind it. Other things to keep in mind:
• The strain (i.e., 299V™) is important, as not all probiotics of the same Genus and Species provide the exact same health benefits.
• Don’t forget about the dose! The dose is known as the Colony Forming Unit (CFU), which is the number of live bacteria in the product and is chosen based on the amount shown to be beneficial in human studies. Look for the CFU on the label when choosing a probiotic supplement.
• Last but not least, the level of scientific evidence behind the individual strain is the most important factor in determining the health benefits provided by the probiotic.

Which brings us to the next question: what is L. plantarum 299V™?
L. plantarum 299V™ is a probiotic strain of good bacteria that works to promote digestive health. It was first discovered by Swedish scientists at Lund University over 30 years ago. They noticed the bacterium’s ability to promote digestive health and decided to isolate it from the intestinal mucosa of healthy Swedish individuals. The good bacteria were initially used to help patients recovering from surgery1-2 and continued to be researched by scientists both in Lund and around the world for several decades – making it one of the most well-documented probiotic bacteria in the world. In fact, L. plantarum 299V™ has been thoroughly tested for safety and efficacy in over 60 human clinical trials, is documented in more than 160 publishes articles, and has continued to be used by millions of people safely to boost gut health for over 20 years1-2! What makes this probiotic strain so impressive?

The human digestion process involves acids, bile, and digestive enzymes. Given the harsh environment of the gastrointestinal tract, a high-quality probiotic should be able to handle these harsh conditions and survive in sufficient numbers in order to provide health benefits. L. plantarum 299V™ is one of the probiotics that has been shown to survive the stomach’s harsh acidic environment (no easy feat), meaning that it can travel to the large intestine where it exerts its health benefits3-4. At the same time, L. plantarum 299V™ has been shown to help balance the gut microbiome and help suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the gut, while also increasing gut diversity by increasing the number of good bacteria in the gut5-7. Boosting good gut bacteria also helps to reduce digestive issues, and clinical studies have shown that L. plantarum 299V™ excels at this, by reducing abdominal pain and bloating, gas formation and flatulence, as well as improving stool frequency and reducing diarrhoea8-10.

How can I use L. plantarum 299V™?
In order to reap the full gut health benefits of L. plantarum 299V™, clinical studies have shown that the optimal dose (CFU) is 10 billion live bacteria – which happens to be the very dose found in the Wellness by Oriflame Probiotic L. plantarum 299V™. By simply taking one of these probiotic supplements a day, you can reduce common digestive issues and optimise your gut health.

Should I take probiotic supplements every day?
There are numerous scientifically substantiated health benefits from consuming probiotics. And while probiotics can grow, metabolise, and interact with the gut microbiome, they rarely set up permanent shop in the gut – this is because they do not grow and divide in large enough numbers to displace the native gut microbiota. However, the native gut microbiota can easily be thrown off balance by lifestyle factors (such as antibiotics, travel, stress, or an unhealthy diet) and here probiotics serve an important role in improving balance and function. Because probiotics do not colonize, they need to be continuously consumed to reap all the beneficial metabolic effects. They might grow and divide and therefore could benefit from being combined with prebiotics that feed the gut microbiota. Since probiotics work together with prebiotics, we recommend combining the Probiotic L. plantarum 299™ with our Prebiotic Fibre Drink. All in all, we definitely recommend that you take a probiotic on a regular, in order to ensure that the gut is consistently topped up with good live bacteria – for a healthier, happier you!

Want to learn more about the Wellness by Oriflame Probiotic L. plantarum 299V™? Click here