The Power of Probiotics for Gut Health

By Michael A. Smith, MD

The human gastrointestinal system has been handed some pretty lifesaving jobs to do. For one, it acts as a barrier to keep harmful chemicals out and important stuff in. Second, it has the all-important job of digesting food and absorbing nutrients. If it fails at this, you’ll quickly become malnourished and will wither away into nothing.

And don’t forget about this other critical role: Establishing immunity. As you can imagine, your gut system is exposed to lots of dangerous bacteria, molds and fungi. So of course, a vast majority of your immune defenses are right there in your gut.1

Now here’s something you may not be aware of. These important functions of your gut are managed mostly by bacteria and not by your own body. The bacteria in your gut comprise what is called your normal flora. Foods and supplements that replenish them are called probiotics. You’ll want to start taking probiotics if you don’t already do so.

The Power of Probiotics

Probiotics have formed a vital part of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern diets for thousands of years, in the form of fermented milk and vegetable products such as yogurt and pickles. They are credited, in part, for the remarkably low rates of chronic, age-related diseases that prevail in those regions.

Now, research is catching up with this traditional wisdom in the form of a new science called pharmabiotics — the use of broad spectrum probiotic products to improve intestinal and immune health.

The science of pharmabiotics is based on an explosion of research highlighting the amazing health benefits of the trillions of bacteria living in our bodies. These bacteria are so intimately involved with our lives and health that they are considered an actual part of the human organism.

Bifidobacteria is a Top Performer

Bifidobacteria is one of the most popular and best-studied probiotic strains. This large group of healthy gut bacteria has several health benefits that you don’t want to miss out on. Bifidobacteria-based probiotics have long been used in Japan to achieve optimal health — and it’s time for us to do the same.

A very stable and high-quality strain of Bifidobacteria is BB536®.2,3 This particular stain has been studied in Japan, resulting in several research publications. Here’s a summary of some of the BB536® research:

  • It reduces inflammation by decreasing production of inflammatory proteins, called cytokines.4,5

  • It showed benefit in alleviating allergic symptoms by decreasing nasal congestion and watery eyes.6,7

  • It may help reduce cardiovascular risk factors, though no conclusions can be made as of yet. But it was effective at lowering plasma LDL cholesterol in women with elevated lipid levels in an early trial.8
By the way, you won’t find BB536® in any significant concentrations in fermented foods. You really do need the supplement.

Pharmabiotics isn’t Complicated

Although developing and manufacturing a high-quality probiotic is complicated, from your perspective, pharmabiotics is easy - find a good one and take it!

There are a few high quality probiotics in the market. We suggest calling our advisors who will be happy to help you find one at 1-800-226-2370.

BB536® is a registered trademark of Morinaga Milk Industry Co., Ltd.


  1. Immunobiology. 1992 Feb;184(2-3):157-79.
  2. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2009 Dec;49(6):715-20.
  3. J Dairy Res. 2007 Aug;74(3):367-73.
  4. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2007;144(2):123-7.
  5. FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2009 Apr;55(3):324-34.
  6. Clin Exp Allergy. 2006 Nov;36(11):1425-35.
  7. Allergol Int. 2007 Mar;56(1):67-75.
  8. J Dairy Res. 2009 Nov;76(4):469-74.


Christine Eubanks said...

"By the way, you won’t find BB536® in any significant concentrations in fermented foods. You really do need the supplement."

I read in an some articles that fermented foods are really healthy specially in digestive track, is that true?

Unknown said...

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. I prefer bowtrol probiotic for my gut health.

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