Probiotic Primer — Important Things to Know About Probiotics

By Kulani Mahikoa
Vice President, Marketing
Kirkman Group, Inc.


Probiotics are living microorganisms that when ingested or locally applied in sufficient numbers, can impart one or more specified, demonstrated functional or health benefit on the host.

Probiotics have been called nature’s “internal healers” because of their crucial role in the health and functioning of the intestinal tract. Probiotics are actually friendly (desirable and beneficial) bacteria that help maintain the correct balance of good and bad organisms in the gastrointestinal tract.

One hundred trillion bacteria live in the human body, and of those, a healthy individual normally has a balance of approximately 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria. When this ratio gets significantly out of balance, gastrointestinal problems arise.

Probiotics support the growth of beneficial intestinal flora while helping to crowd out the undesirable bacteria. Hundreds of species of friendly bacteria flourish in the 25-28 feet long intestinal tract when it is healthy.


Some of these species, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus casei and Bifidobacterium bifidum, are resident microorganisms that are always present. These resident bacteria attach to the mucosal lining and colonize. This colonization helps keep out the unfriendly organisms that try to invade the intestinal tract. When the numbers of the resident flora are lowered or depleted, the undesirable organisms can take over, which can lead to a number of gastrointestinal disturbances.

In addition to the resident microorganisms, there are also transient friendly flora. These beneficial organisms don’t set up residence in the gut; instead, they travel through the intestines and exert many positive effects such as promoting good digestion, producing enzymes or producing lactic acid that creates an optimal environment for the resident flora.

Supplementing with probiotics can keep the good flora in balance, thereby promoting good health and a healthy gastrointestinal tract. There are many types of probiotic supplements available, some containing individual strains of organisms and some containing multiple strains. A person’s individual gastrointestinal situation will dictate what type of product is needed. 

Probiotic Genus and Species in Kirkman’s Probiotics

The Lactobacillus Genus 

Lactobacillus is a genus of bacteria that produces lactic acid, the enzyme required to breakdown lactose (sugar in milk).  They also collectively ferment carbohydrates in the gut producing lactic acid that creates an acidic environment in the digestive tract which antagonizes many various types of potentially harmful bacteria.

The Bifidobacterium Genus   

The “bifidos” were originally identified in the feces of breast-fed infants.  Studies have shown that these good bacteria are some of the first microbes to take up residence in the gastro-intestinal tract of newborns. Because of this, probiotics containing Bifidobacterium are frequently recommended probiotics by healthcare professionals for infants.

Unlike many Lactobacillus bacteria, Bifidobacterium bacteria also produces acetic acid which is more effective in reducing the growth of yeast and molds than is lactic acid. Both are powerful contributors to digestive and immune health.

Saccharomyces boulardii

S. boulardii is a hardy, nonpathogenic yeast first isolated from lychee and mangosteen fruit. This bacterium is unique in that it survives gastric acidity, is not adversely affected or inhibited by antibiotics and does not alter or adversely affect the normal flora in the bowel. For this reason, “friendly” probiotic organisms (including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium) can be taken at the same time as S. boulardii. (Contained in Kirkman’s products: Saccharomyces Boulardii (#0240-060)Pro-Bio Defense™ (#0463-090)CD-Biotic™ (#0395-090)

Streptococcus thermophilus

Also known as streptococcus salivarius thermophilus, this lactic acid bacterium is known to support healthy gastrointestinal and immune systems and to breakdown lactose into acid. (Contained in Kirkman’s products: Super Pro-Bio™ 75 Billion – Bio-Max Series (#0345-060)Pro-Bio Gold™ (#0442-060, #0442-120)Pro-Bio Defense™ (#0463-090)Multi-Flora Spectrum™ (#0485-060)P2i Baby™ Probiotic Gastrointestinal Support (#2503-060)Children’s Chewable Pro-Bio Gold™ Chocolate Wafers (#0458-090)

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Beware of Botanicals

By David Humphrey
Kirkman Group, Inc.


The growing popularity of botanicals, has prompted nutritional supplement manufacturers like Kirkman to expand their use of herbal ingredients and botanical products offerings.

We did not expect, however, to encounter the difficulty we’ve had in finding “clean” herbals, in fact, many of the herbal samples sent to us by both suppliers in the U.S. and foreign countries have contained multiple contaminants at potentially harmful levels. Obviously, we don’t accept these for use in our products.

What causes additional concern is regulatory oversight of botanicals that currently does not prohibit certain environmental contaminants that can be harmful to human health.  At least there are some guidelines to test for 4 heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead) and certain microbial contaminants in nutritional supplements for humans. There are no government requirements, however, for testing nutritional supplements for pets.

Botanicals and herbals are more prone to being contaminated than other types of supplement ingredients because they are grown in the ground, and nurtured by air and water where environmental contaminants exist.

China, for example, is among the most polluted countries on the planet, yet many if not most of the herbs offered in the U.S. marketplace are grown in China.  High levels of lead and arsenic are routinely found in herbal products coming from China.

In 2015, the attorney general of New York pulled herbals off the shelves of retail giants Target, Walmart, Walgreen’s and GNC because four out of five herbal products did not contain any of the ingredients that were on the products’ labels.  Having extra, unidentified ingredients or not having the ingredients claimed on the label are problems becoming more and more commonplace with botanical/herbal supplement products.

 So beware of botanicals. Make sure you are buying product from reputable vendors that can provide you evidence that their products are safe and pure. 

Kirkman® has the most comprehensive program of testing for environmental contaminants in the industry so we can thoroughly screen raw materials that we use in our products. Kirkman® tests its products for 24 heavy metals, bacteria, yeast, mold, bacteria such as salmonella and enterococcus and common allergens such as egg, gluten, casein, milk and nuts. Kirkman® strictly follows its Ultra Tested® protocol to test for more than 950 environmental contaminants and to ensure that what is on our label is in our product.  

Posted in Allergies & Allergens, Environmental Health & Toxicity, Ultra Tested | 1 Comment

5 Tips For Establishing a Healthy Nutritional Profile

By Kulani Mahikoa
Executive Vice President
Kirkman Group, Inc.
If you are a typical Kirkman® customer with special dietary requirements and sensitivities, you may be more prone to nutritional deficiencies than other folks. 
Food allergies, for example, may keep you from eating the full range of foods that provide the nutrition that your body may need. Chronic health issues may affect your body’s ability to absorb nutrients properly causing deficiencies. Taste and texture issues, common among special needs children, may eliminate whole food groups and important nutrients from the diet.
Nutritional deficiencies can lead to a variety of health problems, on the other hand nutritional sufficiency, can help ward off health issues.  For special needs individuals who can’t eat certain nutrient rich foods, nutritional supplements are a good alternative to provide the nutrients that may be lacking.  
Here are our top five recommendations to help you determine the daily nutritional regimen that’s right for you.
1.  Start with your physician
Ask your physician to order a “nutritional status” test.  This is a laboratory test that provides specific information about your body’s 1) condition with respect to your diet 2) level of nutrients 3) ability to maintain normal metabolic integrity based on those levels.   The test provides a roadmap for you and your physician regarding a diet or nutritional supplement plan. Your physician can also recommend other healthcare professionals who may be helpful such as a nutritionist or dietitian.
2.  Know Your Target Nutritional Goals
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) have set recommended Daily Values (DVs) and Daily Recommended Intakes (DRIs) for the amounts of nutrients you need to keep healthy and stay well nourished.  The IOM also recommends the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of a nutrient by age group, which is the amount of the nutrient that can generally be taken safely.  For example, with many vitamins and minerals, you can safely take a dose much higher than the DV or RDI without coming close to the UL.  Your physician’s advice and following DV, DRI and UL charts can help you determine what nutrients to take and in what amounts.
3.  Know What Each Nutrient Does
Read up on nutrients.  There are many free sources of information about nutrients on the web.  An especially good source is the Linus Pauling Institute, a center devoted to research regarding the role that vitamins and micronutrients may have in enhancing health. Look up and know what each nutrient and supplement does, and its risks and benefits.  
4.  Read Labels
Information on both food and nutritional supplement labels usually contain five common elements:  statement of identity, the products net weight, the manufacturer’s address, nutrition (food) or supplement facts and an ingredient list.  The type of nutrients the product contains and amounts are found in the nutrition or supplement facts boxes.  Since the FDA regulates the food and supplement industries, the DVs are the recommended daily values listed.
The update of the 2004 Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, which took effect on January 1, 2006, also mandates that food and nutritional supplements containing certain allergens such as milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soy be declared on a label.  For special needs individuals with food allergies, reading these statements may be of critical importance.
5.  Buy Pesticide Free Food and Nutritional Supplements
Exposures to pesticides can cause a myriad of health problems. For special needs individuals who may be particularly sensitive to environmental contaminants, consuming pesticides is like adding bricks to an already full wagon. 
Currently the regulations for the use of pesticides pertain primarily to a list of banned pesticides issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. There are no regulations regarding detecting or measuring pesticides in food and supplements even though the U.S. uses more than 1 billion pounds (22% of the world’s pesticide usage) of pesticides each year.  Many food and nutritional supplement companies test for pesticides in their products but Kirkman® offers the most comprehensive testing for pesticides and other harmful chemicals in the marketplace. Kirkman® tests every product in its brand for more than 950 environmental contaminants including hundreds of pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, biocides and herbicides.
Posted in Allergies & Allergens, Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Leave a comment

Things are Heating Up . . . Kirkman® To Start Its Warm Weather Shipping Program for Probiotics

We’ve had unusual weather lately.  At times, it appeared as if winter would never end.  With our changing weather pattern – a surprise snow flurry or two could still be in our immediate futures. But – the country is definitely warming up. For Kirkman® that means it’s time to start our special shipping requirements for probiotics. 

Kirkman’s products are shipped to you out of Reno, Nev.  If you live farther than 2 days away by ground shipping – you will want to choose guaranteed 2 day or next day shipping to protect your probiotics.

To protect your product further, Kirkman® only ships probiotics Monday through Wednesday to avoid weekend delays.  Orders for probiotics that we receive on Thursday or Friday are held for shipment until Monday, unless you order next day shipping.

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5-MTHF – Why It’s Taking the Place of Folic Acid in Some of Kirkman’s Products

 Kirkman® has been adding 5-MTHF (5-methyltetrahydrofolate) as the vitamin B-9 alternative to folic acid in its products. The latest addition is in our popular children’s multi-vitamin and mineral formula, Children’s Multi-Vitamin/Mineral w/5-MTHF- Hypoallergenic(#0464-120).


Research indicates that 5-MTHF may work better for some individuals than folic acid.  According to the National Institute of Health, more than 33% of Americans have a genetic mutation, which affects their ability to absorb and properly utilize folic acid.


Folic acid is one of the few nutritional supplements that physicians condone. It is routinely prescribed, particularly to patients who are pregnant, elderly or have certain mental issues.

In fact, folic acid, a synthetic compound, has become so ingrained in the medical landscape that doctors may not be familiar with its natural alternative, 5-MTHF and its benefits. 5-MTHF has recently become commercially available for use in nutritional supplements and foods.

 5-MTHF can enter the main folate metabolic cycle directly, while folic acid must be cleaved from protein carriers to be absorbed. This process is inefficient in some individuals. If absorbed, folic acid still must go through several other conversions in the body to become active and assume it’s important role in methylation, the transfer of methyl groups (one carbon bound to three hydrogen atoms) that is essential for health.

Individuals can submit to a simple laboratory test to find out if they have the MTHR gene mutation that could affect their ability to absorb folic acid.  However, even individuals with impaired ability to utilize regular folic acid can readily benefit from 5-MTHF.



Kirkman’s products that contain 5-MTHF include:

1. 0464-120 Children’s Multi-Vitamin/Mineral with 5-MTHF – Hypoallergenic

2. 0477-120: 5-MTHF (6S)-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate 1 mg

3. 0478-060:  5-MTHF (6S)-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate 5 mg

4. 0484-180:  Advanced Adult Multi-Vitamin/Mineral with 5-MTHF – Hypoallergenic

5. 2519-120: P2i Baby Prenatal Advanced Care Vitamin & Mineral Formula with 5-MTHF

Posted in New Item, Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrition | Leave a comment

Delicious Gluten Free Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

By Rhonda Mulford
Vice President, Kirkman Group, Inc.
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

This is a great segue to get your family away from the high sugar, processed ingredients in regular cookies to a more paleo, nutrient dense cookie.

These cookies helped me to get off sugar as I was eliminating it from my diet. I found that when I made them they disappeared very quickly. My sons and husband think these are really good. I was shocked!  Not only does it cut down the flour (gluten) and sugar but they are also very filling. You’ll only want a few.

To make extra special cookies, you may want to make your own almond flour.
See the instructions below.


(Make with gluten free varieties of ingredients)

2 cups almond meal, or almond flour
1/4 cup butter  (organic grass feed is best)
2 Tablespoons  Raw Honey or 3 TBS pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond meal, salt, and baking soda, then add the butter, honey or maple syrup and vanilla extract (you can drop the vanilla if you used the maple syrup) and mix well.

Add chocolate chips and mix. Use spoon or small ice cream scooper to form cookies and drop onto cookie sheet.  Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or when the base of cookie is browned.

How To Make Your Own Almond Flour

You’ll want a big bag of almonds so you can use it for this recipe and save some to use later. I usually buy the big bags at my local box store.

First soak the almonds in water overnight.  Remove the brown, outer skin. Next put the almonds in a dehydrator for about a day or until they feel like nuts again. Put nuts in a food processor and process until you have a flour-like consistency.

Voila’ . . . you have almond flour.

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Don’t Overlook These 5 Great Supplements!

At Kirkman® we just completed our annual review of the products we sell. This happens at a meeting, usually lasting several days, at which our management discusses each, individual product that we manufacture and/or market. Kirkman® offers more than 350 products so it’s that rare opportunity to get up close and personal with every product.

 One of the discussions we always have is identifying REALLY GREAT products that get overlooked by our customers. Obviously, we may need to explain these products more fully to you so that you understand their benefits.  So, here goes – our top five list of REALLY GREAT, overlooked products . . . Order them now and get 50% off as an introduction to these great supplements. Offer lasts through the month of June and while supplies last.


1. Bone Health Advanced Formula (#0498-120)

Supports bone and teeth health. Gluten and casein free. Capsules are plant based. Ultra Tested®.


Kirkman’s Bone Health Advanced Formula incorporates the best ingredients to support bone and teeth health based on the latest scientific advances.

This formulation uses calcium and magnesium in forms that are particularly absorbable by the body. Two different forms of calcium (carbonate and citrate) are combined with two forms of magnesium (oxide and glycinate) to supply 300 mg of calcium and 150 mg of magnesium per the two capsules serving. Calcium and magnesium provide the foundation for strong bones and teeth.


In addition, vitamin D-3 and vitamin K have been added because these nutrients enhance the absorption of minerals and increase mineral density in the bone. Further, there is evidence in human intervention studies that vitamins K and D, a classic in bone metabolism, work synergistically to improve bone health. Boron is also included based on studies that indicate that boron improves body stores of calcium and magnesium and improves bone density. Boron accomplishes this by aiding the body’s retention of these minerals and limiting their urinary excretion.


The normal daily serving is two capsules, however up to six capsules may be taken daily if recommended by a physician. 


2. B-Complex with CoEnzymes Pro-Support Hypoallergenic Capsules (0095-200) or Powder (0499-007)

A proprietary blend that incorporates all eight of the B vitamins. Hypoallergenic. Gluten and casein free. Capsules are plant based. Ultra Tested®.

 Kirkman’s B-Complex with CoEnzymes Pro-Support capsules contain significant doses of all eight B vitamins. This formulation includes the active form of vitamin B-6, pyridoxyl 5-phosphate, and the soluble form of vitamin B-2, riboflavin phosphate. Choline is also present for liver support. During times of stress, the body requires high amounts of the B-Complex vitamins.  Our B-Complex Pro-Support formulation is offered in hypoallergenic capsules or powder forms.


3. PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline Quinone) Hypoallergenic (0521-030)

Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) is a micronutrient that provides powerful antioxidant activity for a strong defense against mitochondrial decay.


PQQ is a nutrient viewed as the latest advance in the area of mitochondrial bioenergetics. In 2010, researchers found that it not only protected mitochondria from oxidative damage but it also stimulated growth of fresh mitochondria.

 Scientists have also discovered that PQQ has extraordinary molecular stability that allows it to carry out thousands of electron transfers without undergoing molecular breakdown. In recent research, it has proven especially effective in neutralizing the ubiquitous superoxide and hydroxyl radicals, which may make it more efficient than other nutrients with antioxidant activity in sustaining mitochondrial energy production.

 Recent research also shows that PQQ is a potent growth factor in plants, bacteria and higher organisms. In animal research, subjects deprived of PQQ showed stunted growth, compromised immune systems, impaired reproductive capability and fewer mitochondria in their tissues.

 Kirkman® offers hypoallergenic PQQ in 20 mg vegetarian capsules.


4. Toxicity Control (0538-120)

Assists in removing toxins from the body. Free of common allergens. Gluten and casein free. Capsules are plant based. Ultra Tested®.

Toxicity Control is a product that supports the body’s natural detoxifying pathways. These natural pathways are mechanisms for removing environmental contaminants, which can invade the body through air, water, contaminated food, contaminated dietary supplements or contaminated garments or jewelry. 

The product components include:  vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium which enhance the body’s detoxification pathways; taurine, a sulfur based amino acid with detoxifying properties; modified citrus pectin which supports reduction in metal stores in the body; curcumin (turmeric), a spice with clinical detoxification studies; milk thistle, a flowering plant which detoxifies the body’s organs; glutathione, the body’s most powerful immune system supporter; N-Acetyl Cysteine, an ingredient known for strong antioxidant activity; calcium d-glucarate, which acts in a similar manner as natural fruits and vegetables, also known to support detoxification.

This product provides for normal, healthy environmental detoxification.


5. Thera Response – Hypoallergenic (0300-180)

A comprehensive multi-vitamin specially formulated for individuals who don’t respond to high vitamin B-6/magnesium supplements. Hypoallergenic. Gluten and casein free. Capsules are plant based. Ultra Tested®.


Kirkman’s Thera Response is a proprietary multi-vitamin specially formulated for individuals who do not respond to high vitamin B-6/magnesium supplements such as Kirkman’s Super Nu-Thera® products but who need a comprehensive multi-vitamin.

Thera Response is an extremely comprehensive multi-vitamin formulation that incorporates ingredients that were selected based on physicians’ reports regarding effectiveness. Nutrients in this formulation include: folinic acid; vitamin methyl B-12; trace minerals, such as selenium, chromium, molybdenum and iodine; vitamin A as acetate and beta carotene; buffered vitamin C and the mineral factor lithium.

Thera Response is a hypoallergenic product in vegetarian capsules, specially formulated for individuals with sensitivities. 

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