By Larry Newman
Kirkman Group, Inc.
Probiotics have become established as an important category in the nutritional supplement industry with more and more scientific evidence emerging suggesting probiotics can improve gastrointestinal health, improve immunity, lessen some allergic reactions and limit after-effects of taking antibiotics.
What exactly are probiotics and what do they do within your body?
Probiotics are defined scientifically as living microorganisms that, when ingested in sufficient numbers, can impart a health benefit on the host. Probiotic microorganisms are friendly, desirable and beneficial bacteria that help maintain the correct balance of good bacteria and bad (disease producing) bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract by crowding out the undesirable bacteria. Approximately 100 trillion bacteria live in the human body, and generally healthy individuals have a ratio of about 85 percent good bacteria to 15 percent bad bacteria. Good bacteria in the gut help to improve gastrointestinal health, improve immune response and aid in digestion. Good bacteria also break down toxic by-products of bad bacteria, which can help alleviate occasional diarrhea or constipation.
Probiotics must be alive and viable to be effective!
It is important to remember that all probiotics are not created equal. Probiotics must be alive to be effective. Exposure to heat, moisture and oxygen are detrimental to the cultures and depending on the degree of exposure to those elements, the number of live organisms in the culture can be reduced or in extreme cases killed completely. Using a dead probiotic equates to not using a probiotic at all. When Kirkman® makes a claim on a probiotic label for a given number of colony forming units in a product, we back it up with the right operating procedures to guarantee that label claim and we perform ongoing stability studies to substantiate our best used by date when recommended storage conditions are met.
Recently, an independent laboratory (Consumer Labs) did a survey of probiotic products in the marketplace and found that many products in the marketplace had little or no live bacteria. In fact, that laboratory found that many of the products tested had less than 1% of the claimed number of live bacteria. The lab also found that some companies don’t even make claims for the amount of live organisms present in their probiotics. Poor quality products like this are useless in supporting the gastrointestinal tract and immune functions. With Kirkman’s probiotics, you are getting what the label declares, which explains the phenomenal success rate our customers report with the use of our probiotics.