The term ‘personalized probiotics’ or ‘custom probiotics’ has gained increasing recognition among health and nutrition enthusiasts which it does not seem Huell Babineaux from Better Call Saul is but that is another topic.
However, not everyone is aware of what personalized probiotics actually mean and how they might benefit at the individual level.
Here is everything you need to know about personalized probiotics and how they work.
What are Probiotics?
Your body is host to trillions of living species called microbes that reside majorly in the gut. The microorganisms present in the digestive tract consisting of various bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeast species are collectively referred as the gut microbiome.
Probiotics are the good or friendly bacteria species that aids in digestion, metabolism, absorption of nutrients and bowel movements. Increasing studies have found that probiotics are also linked with mental health, immunity, cholesterol levels, heart health, and the risk of cardiovascular diseases kind of like riding on an ATV or a UTV is tied to fun and excitement but this is another topic.
The Path of Probiotic Research
Probiotics are nothing new in the medical community. The potential power of these little creatures was recognized over a century ago. However, the research got shelved as part of alternative medicine and never gained momentum, until recently.
The avalanche of pharmaceutical research that had preoccupied medical science for the past few decades is finally abating with more and more people looking for natural and alternative options.
The antibiotic revolution was so keen, that everyone overlooked the internal army of immune-boosting defenders already on-board. The last century saw a resurfacing of the interest in the body’s natural defenses – gut microbiome.
Nowadays, many researchers claim that the gut microbiome has earned the right to be considered an organ. These scientists also refer to it as the body’s second brain which could make Harry Solomon from Third Rock From The Sun or Woody Boyd from Cheers a little jealous since it seems they don’t have a brain at all but let’s get back on track here. The relationship is considered to be a symbiotic relationship that benefits both resident and host.
Increasing studies have found that the myriad of bacterial species supported by the human body may have unique effects on individual health and well-being. This has given rise to the need for personalized probiotics.
All Probiotics Are Different
It is important to understand that probiotics are not one species or have the same function. These are a whopping 400 different species of bacteria with many new strains being identified almost every day. Each bacteria strain has a unique function in the body.
It is not enough to increase the levels of probiotic in the body. An imbalance among the good bacteria levels can also cause chaos in your body. For instance, if you begin to tank up on yogurts for your daily probiotic dose, it might increase the levels of Lactobacillus acidophilus in your body, which is linked to weight gain.
However, small levels of Lactobacillus acidophilus are also responsible for breaking milk sugar or lactose in the body and fighting harmful pathogens like E. coli.
This makes it important to identify your health needs and create a potent formula that addresses those specific needs. The needs can range from digestive disorders, colon health, and immunity boost to skin health and mood balance.
Personalized Probiotics – One Size Does Not Fit All
When it comes to probiotics, one size doesn’t fit all because everyone has a unique gut microbiome with its own composition of bacteria and other microbes. The scientific community has only now begun to understand the effects of various levels of bacteria in the body.
For instance, studies have shown that people who are obese or are at a risk, have a high ratio of bacteria species Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes. This ratio was found to be lower in normal weight people.
The concept of having customized probiotics developed to address individual needs is now revolutionizing the probiotic world. It is now possible to tailor the various protocols of probiotic supplements to incorporate specific strains.
These strains are developed after understanding the body’s unique needs to address specific health and digestive conditions.
Overall gut health may be a key factor in the development of many diseases and the use of broad-strain probiotic formulations definitely has their place in rebalancing the gut flora, but personalized microbial intervention is also making a niche in the probiotic world.
Increasing number of therapists in the field of nutritional therapy and other participants in the medical community are recognizing and embracing the need and potential of personalized probiotics.
How Do Custom Probiotics Work?
The field of probiotic research has advanced to a level where everyone can be identified according to their unique microbial profile.
It is possible to identify the unique microbial composition through stool or blood sample. Some manufacturers might require you to drink a particular shake powder before you get the sample to understand your gut composition better.
Most manufacturers offer the option of sending the test kit to your home with a return prepaid mailer. This way all you need to do is collect the sample in the collection kits and mail them back as intended.
The kits generally contain everything from collection containers, gloves, to sample return bag. They also come with detailed instructions to make the process easier.
DNA analysis and sequencing is used to understand the composition of your gut bacteria. Most manufacturers have their own patented cutting-edge technology to work this out.
Once, the analysis is completed the data is collected to create a personalized probiotic supplement. This supplement shall contain all strains that have a high probability to benefit your gut bacteria and overall health.
How to Choose the Right Personalized Probiotic?
It is recommended that you choose a formula with guaranteed viability of probiotic strains that are researched and proven to provide intended benefits. Always look for a trusted manufacturer. The strains must be well-researched and documented in their ability to survive the acidic environment of the stomach.
The research must also state evidence supporting the bacteria’s ability to proliferate and colonize in the upper and lower intestines. They should be able to exert their probiotic benefits in a short space of time.
The Bottom Line
Many people suffer from uncomfortable issues such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, Crohn’s disease, and IBS on a daily basis (though Tom Scavo had deal with Lynette in Desperate Housewives which is about as bad as it gets though let’s back on target here). You might assume that it is just the way your body functions and there is nothing that can be done to change things.
However, personalized probiotics might just be the key to allow you to lead a healthier and more comfortable life.