5 Good Bacteria Strains That You Should Watch Out For
There’s no shortage of probiotic products on the market today that contain many different strains of good bacteria. With so many to choose from, how do you know which ones are best for you?
First, you need to know that different probiotic bacterial strains support different functions in your body: no two strains are exactly alike. Depending on the strain, you may already have certain concentrations of that probiotic strain in various parts of your digestive tract. Probiotic strains work together with each other, so you want a probiotic product with an assortment of beneficial strains, not just a small handful.
Also understand that not all probiotic strains do an equal job of supporting your health. Not all strains do a good job of colonizing your gut, which is probably the main reason for taking a probiotic supplement. Probiotic strains vary widely; some support your immune and overall health better than others.*
Just because a probiotic contains high amounts of CFUs, or numbers of colonizing units of good bacteria, if the strains of probiotics aren’t beneficial strains, you may not benefit as much as you’d hoped.
Selecting the Best Probiotic Strains for You
Depending on the condition of your gut flora and the bacterial strains that already live there (and the beneficial strains you may be missing), you can choose the strains best for you.
There’s a handful of probiotic strains that I believe belong in any good probiotic supplement. I consider them foundational probiotic bacterial strains because of their far-reaching potential benefits for most people.
I suggest you look for these strains when shopping for a probiotic supplement. My Complete Probiotics contains all five of these strains and five additional good bacteria strains to support health.*
- Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1
DDS-1 is a patented strain of L. acidophilus that has decades of research behind it. Truly a “super strain” probiotic, it’s a strain of human origin, and because of that, it’s highly adaptable to your gastrointestinal tract.
Human, animal, and in vitro research shows it:
- Supports a healthy balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria*
- Supports healthy immune function*
- Helps maintain cholesterol levels already within the normal range*
- Produces vitamins in your gut: B6, B12, and folic acid*
- Produces lactase, which may help with digestion of dairy products*
DDS-1 is both acid resistant and bile resistant, which means it can better withstand the harsh environment of your stomach’s acidity and your intestine’s bile salts. Research shows it grows and thrives in the intestines.
Researchers believe DDS-1 produces a substance that may help balance the bacteria in your gut, possibly by lowering your colon’s pH. Additionally, it can latch onto your intestine’s epithelium cells and help crowd out the bad strains of bacteria. Its potential benefit for your cholesterol levels comes from its ability to produce short-chain fatty acids that may impact cholesterol production.*
Compared to regular strains of L. acidophilus, DDS-1 produces more lactic acid and more of the enzyme that breaks down lactose into a simple sugar that can be metabolized for energy.
The problem with many L. acidophilus bacteria is that they tend to die off quickly in your gut. A study found that DDS-1 was able to survive much longer: 8 days.
Researchers believe the DDS-1 strain of L. acidophilus is the most representative of a healthy intestinal tract. If I had to choose one probiotic strain to take, it would likely be DDS-1. Of course, I would much prefer to have several strains in addition to it to make it a well-rounded probiotic supplement. That’s exactly what I’ve created with my Complete Probiotics.
- Lactobacillus plantarum
This beneficial probiotic strain is found in fermented vegetables and products like sauerkraut and kimchi. Lactobacillus plantarum is an outstanding reason to make your own fermented vegetables and to eat at least one serving daily.
Lactobacillus plantarum thrives in your stomach and can withstand the stomach’s acid environment, which makes it a very valuable good bacteria strain. While active in your gut, it helps support your immune health and a normal healthy inflammatory response.*
This single strain was the subject of a double blind, placebo-controlled study of 214 patients. At the end of four weeks, 78.1 percent of patients reported excellent or good results with relief of abdominal symptoms they were experiencing at the start of the study.
Lactobacillus plantarum is an outstanding probiotic strain for the majority of people as it helps support the health and integrity of your gut lining. Plus, it’s been shown to help digest protein and may prove valuable for individuals with occasional food intolerances. This strain also helps with the absorption of vitamins, antioxidants, and essential omega-3 fatty acids.*
- Lactobacillus brevis
Another super-strain that was discovered in the 1920s, Lactobacillus brevis also occurs naturally in your body and is found in human breast milk. It’s another strain of good bacteria provided by fermented vegetables, including carefully produced sauerkraut (not the typical commercial store-bought type).
Lactobacillus brevis is often found in low levels in the human gut, largely because of poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle habits, and other environmental factors. For that reason, it’s important to supplement, whether from properly prepared fermented vegetables (always my first choice) or a high-quality probiotic supplement such as my Complete Probiotics.
Potentially valuable for supporting digestive and immune health, Lactobacillus brevis is an important strain to look for when choosing a probiotic supplement with good bacteria.*
- Bifidobacterium lactis
According to scientists, Bifidobacterium lactis is another “basic” good bacteria strain that’s found in healthy newborns and breast-fed infants. It’s typically found in the gastrointestinal tract, especially the intestines and colon, and in women’s vaginas.
This strain supports digestive health and immune function, and cholesterol levels that are already in the normal range. It also plays an important role in helping your body absorb vitamins and minerals. Bifidobacterium lactis has shown an ability to help promote regular bowel movements.*
- Bifidobacterium longum
Bifidobacterium longum may be one of the most significant probiotic strain found in the human gut. Studies show it supports a normal healthy digestive tract, inhibits the growth of potentially harmful bacteria, and supports immune function. This super-strain is thought to contribute to health in profound ways.*
Bifidobacterium longum is found in fermented foods, including sauerkraut and fermented vegetables. Much like DDS-1, this strain may help increase the intestine’s acidity by fermenting sugars into lactic acid. Plus it helps scavenge free radicals by acting as a potent antioxidant.*
Why Supplement With Probiotic Strains?
Now that you know which strains of probiotic bacterial strains I consider to be among the best, you may be wondering why it’s important to supplement with them regularly.
Many of us weren’t born with an ideal gut flora. And even if you were lucky enough to receive a healthy set of microbes from your mother, there are many factors at work, in childhood and adulthood, that continually threaten the balance between your beneficial bacteria and your less-than-beneficial bacterial strains:
Most antibiotics destroy all the bacteria in your gut, the good guys and the bad guys. Whether you just finished a course last week or took them years ago, your gut bacteria balance may still be compromised. This includes the antibiotics hidden in food, too, especially the factory-farmed meats and conventional dairy products you may be eating every day.
- Heartburn pills
A British study on twins suggests that proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), or the common over-the-counter and prescription pills taken for heartburn, can alter your gut flora and harm your good bacteria.
- Fluoridated and chlorinated water
The chlorine in chlorinated tap water can potentially destroy both the pathogenic and the good, friendly bacteria in your gut. Ditto for fluoride. This may be related to the development of food allergies.
- Sugar and fructose
One of the fastest ways to create an imbalance – and feed the bad guys – is to eat too much sugar and fructose. Eating too much sugar may also raise your risk of cognitive impairment and dementia because of its detrimental effects on your gut health.
- Processed, refined foods
Processed foods, including pasteurized milk, can harm the beneficial probiotic strains in your gut. Eating a typical Western diet high in carbs and processed foods produces profoundly different gut bacteria than a diet high in vegetables and fiber.
- Bioengineered foods, pesticides, and other agricultural chemicals
Certain genetically engineered foods and even some non-organic non-GMO foods like wheat can contain glyphosate, an agricultural herbicide that can target and destroy good gut bacteria. Conventionally raised animals are typically fed bioengineered grains such as GE corn.
- NSAIDS (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
Certain popular over-the-counter painkillers can damage cell membranes and harm healthy gut bacteria.
Stress affects your gut in a number of ways: it hinders the production of enzymes and absorption of nutrients, and reduces oxygen levels and blood flow. Plus, it alters your brain-gut connection (via the vagus nerve), and can impact the functioning of your entire GI tract, including the beneficial bacterial strains in your gastrointestinal tract.
Airborne particulate matter from exhaust from cars, home furnaces, and industry, as well as livestock emissions, travel from your lungs to your intestines, and can alter your gut bacteria and your intestinal barrier. It can contaminate the food and water supply, leading to further injury of your gut bacteria.
Many of these things you can control, but some, such as air pollution, you have less control over. That’s why it makes sense to supplement and support your beneficial gut probiotics every day with good bacteria products.
Why take a chance when there’s a simple way to help make sure you get a plentiful supply of the good bacteria that are best for you? Take a high-quality probiotic supplement, like my Complete Probiotics, so you won’t have to miss out on these beneficial probiotic strains.