Frequently Ask Question About Activated Probiotics

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Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re wondering how we’ve managed to keep our probiotic products stable without being stored in the fridge, or when the best time to take your probiotic is, you’ve come to the right place.

Find the answers to your questions below

Probiotics are defined as ‘live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host’.

Put simply, this means that probiotics need to be:

  1. Alive when you take them, and able to survive the passage through your gut to your intestines, where they are active. Probiotics are living creatures that can be killed by environmental conditions such as exposure to heat and moisture if not packaged and stored correctly. Further, probiotics must be able to survive the harsh conditions in the gut, including strong stomach acid, bile salts, and digestive enzymes.
  2. Delivered in great enough numbers to have a beneficial effect on your health. Each probiotic strain has its own individual effective dose, which depends on the probiotic itself and the condition you are trying to improve. The effective dose is determined by conducting clinical trials in people with the condition the probiotic is believed to benefit. For example, clinical trials have shown that a dose of 10 billion live bacteria of the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum 299v can help relieve the symptoms of medically-diagnosed Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which is why we selected that specific strain, at a dose of 10 billion live bacteria, for our Biome IBS™ Probiotic product.
  3. Have known health benefits in the human body, which is specific to the probiotic strain, not just the probiotic species. Even within the same bacterial species, different strains can be vastly different creatures in terms of their behavior and activity in our gut. Consider the bacterial species Escherichia coli: the strain Escherichia coli O157:H7 causes severe food poisoning, while Escherichia coli Nissle 1918 is used as a probiotic!

While most probiotics are bacteria, some yeasts – such as Saccharomyces boulardii – are classified as probiotics, too.

Probiotics are living creatures which are sensitive to heat, moisture, and oxygen, so if they are not stabilised and appropriately packaged by the manufacturer, they will need to be kept in the fridge to keep them alive. That’s where our probiotic products are different – we take probiotic stability seriously, with a three-tiered approach to ensure our probiotics arrive alive at their intended destination in your gut:

  1. Freeze-drying: our probiotic bacteria are freeze-dried, which is a process which removes all moisture from the bacteria. This puts them in a dormant state, which is just like very, very deep sleep. The bacteria remain dormant until they come into contact with moisture, which happens when they are released from the capsule in your gut.
  2. Microencapsulation: for many of our probiotic products, we use an innovative delivery technology called Microbac™, which stabilizes the bacteria by coating them with a very thin layer of plant-derived lipid. This layer protects them from the strong acid in the stomach and is removed by our digestive enzymes in the small intestine, liberating the bacteria and allowing them to grow. It also helps to ensure they are more stable on the shelf at room temperature, too.
  3. Blister packaging: our probiotic capsules are individually sealed in blister packs between two layers of coated aluminum, which keeps them in a controlled environment, protecting them from moisture, oxygen, and ultraviolet (UV) light.

Finally, our Live Probiotic Promise™ guarantees that our probiotic products contain the number of probiotic bacteria stated on the label, as a minimum, right up until the end of their shelf life, which is 24 months from their date of manufacture.

Different probiotic bacterial strains, even within the same species, can have very different properties and activities in the gut, which is why it’s so important to know exactly which strain/s of probiotics you are taking.

This is where the numbers come in – they are unique to a specific bacterial strain and refer to the culture collection where the reference bacteria are lodged. Most of our probiotic strains are identified by a ‘DSM’ number, which is given by the DSMZ, a microorganism collection in Germany which stores over 31,000 individual bacterial strains. Two of our strains have an ‘LMG’ number, which refers to a culture collection in Belgium, while just one strain has an ‘ATCC’ number, which is given by the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC), which is the largest culture collection in the world.

As an example, there are over 100 different species in the genus Lactobacillus, such as acidophilus, rhamnosus, plantarum and paracasei. If the bacteria within a single species still exhibit differences, they are further classified as individual strains. For example, within our range, we use four different strains of Lactobacillus plantarum in different products: Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL9 (DSM 15312) and Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL 19 (DSM 13513) in Biome Osteo™ Probiotic, Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (DSM 9843) in Biome IBS™ Probiotic, and Lactobacillus plantarum 6595 (DSM 6595) in Biome Prenatal+™ Probiotic and Biome Daily Kids™ Probiotic.

You wouldn’t take a medication that hadn’t yet been tested in humans, so why should a probiotic supplement be any different?

All of probiotic strains in our products have been clinically trialled, with documented health benefits. For example, if you suffer from the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a generic, multi-strain probiotic supplement formulated for general health maintenance probably won’t make any difference to your IBS symptoms, whereas Biome IBS™ Probiotic contains three specific strains of probiotic bacteria which have been clinically trialled in people with IBS, and shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms.

In recent years, our understanding of how probiotic supplementation can support many aspects of our health and wellbeing – beyond our gut – has significantly expanded. In addition to supporting digestive health, supplementing the diet with a probiotic such as Biome Daily Probiotic can boost the function of the immune system, significantly reducing the likelihood of catching a common cold. Further, research is uncovering links between the gut and distant parts of the body such as the brain, which engage in two-way communication via the gut-brain axis. This communication means our gut can even affect our mood, emotions and brain function.

No. While many products on the market now contain over 100 billion bacteria per dose, we don’t believe these excessively high dose products are supported by scientific evidence. In fact, taking a higher dose of bacteria than necessary may increase the risk of unwanted side effects, such as bloating, and changes to the bowel habits.

While kombucha may contain live microorganisms, it’s impossible to know which ones you’re actually ingesting, and how many (i.e. the dose) are in the bottle. Also, because the bacteria are not contained in a capsule or microencapsulated in a matrix, it’s difficult to say with certainty whether they will survive the journey through the hostile conditions of your upper gastrointestinal tract – which includes strong stomach acid, bile salts, and digestive enzymes – to arrive alive in your intestines. The same is true for other fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, miso, natoo, tempeh, kimchi, and kefir.

Yoghurt is a little different, as it’s made by adding specific bacterial cultures to heat-treated milk, so the manufacturer is able to assure the consumer which probiotics, and what dose, are contained in the finished product per serve.

If your immune system is compromised or if you are very unwell, it’s possible that probiotic supplements are not suitable for you. Please discuss your individual situation with your doctor.

The easiest way to wrap your head around the concept of prebiotics is to consider them as food for your gut bacteria. Just as probiotics are able to benefit our health, so do prebiotics, as they encourage the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in our gut.

The most well-studied prebiotics are dietary fibers such as inulin, galactooligosaccharides, and fructooligosaccharides, which are found throughout a range of legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

Probiotic supplements shouldn’t interfere with the activity or metabolism of any pharmaceutical medications, though if you are concerned, please discuss this with your pharmacist

The survival of probiotics through the upper gastrointestinal tract has shown to be greatest if taken just before (within 30 minutes) or at the same time as a meal, which ideally contains some fat.

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