Master the Probiotic Flora Basics and Shop Smart

Mastering probiotic basics results in better use of your time and money

Knowing the basics about probiotic flora such as Lactobacillus, Bacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces and Streptococcus species will save time, save money and reduce your stress level when faced with probiotic buying decisions.

Let’s say you are at the checkout counter of your local grocery store, and the person in front of you is chatting with the cashier about the latest Super Yummy Yogurt that has transformed her life. You start to panic, because Super Yummy Yogurt isn’t in your shopping cart!!! Should you lose your place in the checkout line, run to the yogurt display and buy it?

The answer is, “No.” Breathe, write down the name of the product or make a mental note of it, and then allow yourself more time during your next shopping trip to read the product label and find out what probiotics (and other ingredients) are in it.

Or, better yet, let me know what product you're interested in, and I'll find out the ingredients and give you unbiased information so you can save time in the tempting grocery store.

What is Flora?

“Flora” generally means all the microbes [the bacteria, fungi (including yeasts), protists, archaea and even viruses] that live in and on our bodies. Many scientists prefer to call it "microbiota". These microorganisms weigh about as much as your brain, and heavily influence your “second brain.”

Of course your first brain is this one:

Your first brain is part of your central nervous system. Your "second brain" is your enteric nervous system, also known as your gut's nervous system. Both brains originate from the same fetal tissue and each communicates with the other. And the microbes in your gut communicate with your "second brain" which then communicates with your brain-brain.

For every 1 of our human cells, there are 10 microbiome cells. Of course they are much smaller than our human cells, otherwise we would look like them!

Flora bacteria cells are about one-tenth the size of our cell

Some microbes are usually good or beneficial. Some are usually neutral (not good and not bad), and some (think E. coli H0157:H7 and food poisoning) can be downright harmful or pathogenic. Even some of the usually good or usually neutral players can be harmful if they end up in places in your body where they don‘t belong, such as can happen with a “leaky gut”. Also, if the neutral players aren’t kept under control where they normally hang out, their teams can run wild and cause harm.

You can imagine your flora as villages of microbial societies.

It takes a village of different microbes to be healthy

Power of Probiotics deals (mostly) with the good bacteria and yeasts. Some of these beneficial microbes are officially classified as probiotics: they are “live organisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host” as you read on the homepage of this site. So some probiotics may be part of your beneficial flora, but not all beneficial microbes are officially classified as “probiotics.”

Here is how probiotic microbes are classified so you understand what you are buying.

Read about the meaning of CFU here.

Learn why it's important to read labels of probiotics.

Here is some other information about microbes, including probiotics.

Major Probiotic Teams

These are the five major probiotic teams that contribute to your flora. Click on each major probiotic team to see what distinguishes them from the others and what they can do for you:

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this site is educational in nature and is not intended as diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure for any physical or mental disease, nor is it intended as a substitute for regular medical care. Consult with your doctor regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.

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