Did you know the benefits of probiotics are strain related?

Probiotics are all the buzz these days and they should be. The last 3-5 years of cutting edge gut microbiome research has led to so many exciting and promising discoveries thanks to the Human Genome and Human Microbiome Projects. They are being added to everything from baby formula to dog food to skin care but did you know the benefits of probiotics are strain dependent?

Think of it this way … you wouldn’t go into Home Depot to buy a tool without knowing what kind of project are you trying to tackle, right? Painting, plumbing, electric, gardening, framing, dry walling? Well, the same holds true for probiotics. You should always match the probiotic strain to the corresponding health symptom you are trying to solve. WHOA! Light bulb moment. I had no idea what strains of probiotics I was taking all these years.

In all transparency, 4 years ago my health took a complete nose dive. I was coming up on 40 and thought to myself, this must be what everyone is referring to. If my symptoms hadn’t reached the tipping point they did, I might have just accepted it as my new normal suboptimal health state. I was experiencing things like memory loss, word recall, trouble completing a thought or a task, anxiety, fatigue and insomnia despite being tired all the time and was at my heaviest weigh ever (and I coach on weight loss embarrassingly enough) which divinely catapulted me into the world of gut microbiome and gut-brain axis and what I found was so fascinating:

• There are approximately 300-1000 good bacterial species in our gut, but there are millions of strains for each species comprising billions of bacteria overall.

• 60-90% of our feel good neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, norepinephrine and GABA are produced in a healthy and diverse gut environment and communicated, 90% one way, from our gut to our brain via a complex communication network (nerves, neurotransmitters, hormones and immune cells).

• Mental wellness has been misunderstood for a long time. New science shows that our levels of happiness vs. sadness, optimism vs. pessimism, togetherness vs. loneliness are not just all in our head – in fact, a key contributor to mental wellness is determined by what is going on in our second brain – our gut.

• The benefits of probiotics are strain related. Most probiotics on the market provide information on the nutrition label about the genus and species of the bacteria, but they don’t pay as much attention to the strain. Genus -> Species -> Strain should be included on the nutrition label for you to know what benefit you are actually getting from it.

• Probiotics (beneficial bacteria) need to be correctly matched with their preferred food source to thrive, prebiotics (to encourage the growth of good bacteria) and phytobiotics (to protect good bacteria once it’s there).

• New advances in sequencing technology over the past 3-5 have led to the discovery of new probiotic strains that link directly to mental wellness issues such as anxiety, depression, stress and cognitive function.

• Some strains of probiotics are strong enough to withstand stomach acid and some are not.

For years I took a probiotic that was marketed towards improving digestive health that noted the Genus -> Species of on the label but was missing the actual Strain:

Lactobacillus (genus) Acidophilus (species)
Bifidobacterium (genus) Longum (species)

Well guess what? There is more than 1 strain of Bifidobacterium Longum:

1. RO175 which is linked to stress, anxiety and cognitive function
2. BI-05 which is linked to gastrointestinal discomfort and inflammation

The strain I was taking all those years was most likely Bifidobacterium Longum BI-05 since it was marketed as improving digestive health. Good, but not targeted in the slightest.

Probiotic strains related to mental wellness

Note: these 3 probiotics strains are strong enough to endure stomach acid.

Lactobaciluus helveticus R0052

Decreases neuro-inflammation, improves serotonin metabolism, decreases anxiety, restores cognitive function, reduces inflammation, mediates serotonergic transmission – possibly eliciting anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and antidepressant responses.*

Bifidobacterium longum R0175

Decreases stress response, facilitates antidepressant responses, decreases anxiety, and enhances cognitive function.*

Lactobacillus rhamnosus R0011

Reduces anxiety and depression, improves GABA neurotransmission (via the Vagus nerve).*

Looking for a good probiotic blend to support mental wellness? MentaBiotics is the first product of its kind that combines newly discovered specific strains of probiotics, prebiotics and phytobiotics that have been scientifically proven to optimize mental wellness.

Probiotic strains related to other areas of health

Note: these probiotic strains are NOT strong enough to survive stomach acid and therefore need to be taken in a acid resistant casing.

Bifidobacterium bifidum Bb-06

Maintains microflora balance by producing lactic acid and acetic acid to compete with “bad” bacteria (Staph, aureus, E. Coli, Camplylobacter jejuni etc). *

Bifidobacterium longum Bl-05

Highly resistant to low pH and bile salts and is well-suited to the intestinal environment to help reduce inflammation. Helps reduce gastrointestinal discomfort caused by stress.*

Lactobacillius acidophilus La-14

Ferments carbohydrates to lactic acid, which competes with “bad” bacteria for adhesion spaces on the intestinal mucosa. Increases mineral absorption and bioavailability (incl copper, magnesium, calcium and manganese).*

Lactobacillus casei LC-11

Wide ranging benefits for improved digestion, reduced cholesterol, modulation of inflammation and allergies.*

Lactobacillus rhamnosus Lr-32

Promotes general GI health and function especially to support occasional diarrhea and constipation after probiotic treatment.*

Looking for a good probiotic blend to support overall digestive health? Probiotics combines the 5 strains listed above in an acid resistant capsule to insure the live beneficial bacteria make to your colon in tact.

Love, light and healing,