Dr Mercola on Probiotics

The History Behind Fermented Foods and Their Health Benefits

History provides us a few clues on how different cultures promoted their intestinal health before modern times. Years ago, people used fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut – as food preservatives and as support for intestinal and overall health.

Here are a few examples...

  • During Roman times, people ate sauerkraut because of its taste and benefits to their overall health.
  • In ancient Indian society, it became commonplace (and still is) to enjoy a before-dinner yogurt drink called a lassi. These Indian traditions were based on the principle of using sour milk as a probiotic delivery system to the body.
  • Bulgarians are known both for their health and their high consumption of fermented milk and kefir.
  • In Asian cultures, pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash, and carrots still exist today.
  • People of the Ukraine consume probiotics from foods like sauerkraut, raw yogurt, and buttermilk.

The interesting thing was most of these dietary habits were born from tradition... at the time, no one really knew or understood why they were so healthy to your digestive system.*

How Probiotics Got Their Start

Well, things changed in the early 1900s, when Russian scientist Elie Metchnikoff (Nobel Prize 1908) proposed that the Balkan population enjoyed excellent health due to consumption of large quantities of fermented milks containing beneficial bacteria.*

These "good" bacteria were later defined as probiotics, which comes from Greek terminology meaning "for life."

In the 1950s, the USDA licensed a probiotic formula for use in the digestive tract of pigs. Later on in the 1970s, the effectiveness of the probiotics in that role in pigs was discovered. Probiotics were later pioneered for human use.

So, what took so long to bring probiotics to the forefront in supplements?*

I believe that the mere fact that large pharmaceutical companies were able to leverage millions of dollars to market their products pushed probiotics out of the way... relegated them to the back-burner.

But today, the health trend has clearly begun to shift toward nutrition. And that has allowed probiotics to resurface and gain the attention they deserve.

And that's why I spend so much of my time researching factual data on probiotic formula.

All this is well and good, but...

Why Are Probiotics So Vital to Your Health?*

From the very first breath you take, you're exposed to probiotics.

How so?

On the way through the birth canal during a normal delivery, a newborn gets dosed with bacteria from their mother. This event starts colonization in the infant's gastrointestinal (GI) tract of "good" bacteria. Compelling new research now shows many caesarean-section infants have less-than-optimal health after birth. This is most likely because they are not exposed to the mother's healthy bacteria in the birth canal which would then serve to populate its own GI tract.

As you mature, you're faced with many threats to the beneficial bacteria in your gut... from chlorinated drinking water... to overly-processed foods.

The "good" bacteria in your gastrointestinal system can only provide you with optimum health if the proper balance of different types of bacteria is maintained in your gut.*

This is where probiotics can have a profound effect... not just on your GI health, but on your overall health as well.* Keep in mind, 80% of your immune system actually lives in your gut.

Probiotic formulas are available with many different types of bacterial strains... with the most common being Lactobacillus acidophilus. But as you'll find out shortly, not all probiotics are created equal... and not all probiotic formulas are properly produced to provide optimal benefits.*

In general, if formulated properly, the major benefits of a high-quality probiotic are to...

  • Aid you in digesting food, particularly hard-to-digest foods and foods to which some individuals are more sensitive*
  • Enhance the synthesis of B vitamins and improve calcium absorption*
  • Help you keep a healthy balance of intestinal microflora*
  • (In women) Promote vaginal health*
  • Support your immune system*

And more...

I strongly believe the key to an optimal probiotic formula is through science-backed research by a qualified non-biased laboratory... and through a manufacturer with rigorous high-quality process standards in place.

You'll see more evidence of this unwavering belief I have coming up...

‘If I Eat Yogurt, Should I Still Take Probiotics?’

You are probably wondering why using nearly any commercial yogurt might not be as beneficial as a probiotic supplement. After all, traditional cultures have been consuming cultured, fermented foods like yogurt for years for digestive health promotion.

The problem arises because...

  • Traditional yogurts were phenomenal sources of beneficial bacteria due to their raw and unpasteurized state.
  • Most of today's yogurts are pasteurized, unless specially purchased raw and unpasteurized from a local farmer. Sadly, pasteurization radically reduces most of the benefits.
  • Even most of the yogurts certified organic by the USDA are pasteurized in some fashion.

So what, in my opinion, is wrong with pasteurization?

Well, it basically kills or sterilizes most of the beneficial and other bacteria during the heat processing. And some yogurts (particularly the frozen ones), don't contain any live bacteria at all.

So, as great-tasting as many of them are, don't be fooled by yogurt products advertising live cultures beneficial to your digestive system... many have likely had the beneficial bacteria already reduced or wiped out by heat-intensive pasteurization processes.

To me, this is one of those cases where it appears that in our collective zeal to rid ourselves of every trace of infectious agents in our food supply and homes, we may have outdone ourselves.

As a whole, we're less exposed to bacteria now than in the past, including beneficial bacteria. Antibacterial products, hand sanitizers, and the like have made for a world that's a whole lot cleaner, but is it really that much healthier?

Due to strict food safety regulations, less bacteria (including the "good" ones) survive the manufacturing process. Many overly-processed products, just like yogurt, undergo pasteurization or sterilization, which may destroy beneficial bacteria.

While this may be helpful in some ill-health prevention, it also means we are exposed to less beneficial bacteria.*

And with helpful bacteria less available in our food, I'm even more convinced how crucial it is to consider supplementation with high-quality probiotics.

But, I first must raise the caution flag and give you fair...

Warning: Make Sure You Get the High-Quality Solution

So, how do you go about finding a high-quality probiotic supplement?

First of all, before we're through, I'll help dispel some of your guess-work with my findings on some of the latest probiotic discoveries... and provide my recommendations as well.

But before I do that, there are some key factors I feel differentiate the good probiotic formulas from those that are questionable... and may even be a waste of your money.

Basically, without the following key factors, any probiotic formula can be suspect at best, unless it...

  • Contains effective bacterial strains – it must be strain specific*
  • Is viable and dose specific
  • Remains stable and viable for long period of time
  • Has the ability to survive the stomach and into the intestine
  • Thrives in the intestine*

This complicates the world of probiotics a bit because there are so many manufacturers out there making claims on digestive health promotion.

But you don't need to fall for any of the misconceptions... I'll help you dig through the maze and minutia as we go.

If Your Probiotic Formula Does Not Contain THIS, In My Opinion, You Shouldn't Waste Your Time

One of the key formulation factors in a probiotic supplement that I already mentioned, is it must contain effective bacterial strains.* Now, as you can imagine, this is a rather complex issue.

This strain has the distinction of being one of the few bacterial species for which probiotic attributes have been shown to be effective.*

So what is this strain?

Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 is the name of this highly effective strain of beneficial bacteria*... and the "DDS-1" is really important. There are other strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus out there, but without the DDS-1 specificity, your potential health benefits could come up short.*

It has been found that this specific probiotic strain possesses vital properties important to human health.* Research at a major Midwestern university showed how DDS-1 enhanced human health because it colonized well in the human gut.*

Research and studies suggest DDS-1 can be effective toward enhancing human health because it...

  • Adapts well to the human body because of its human origin
  • Is acid- and bile-resistant for intestinal survival
  • Helps promote your digestive health*
  • Aids in supporting your immune system*
  • Contributes to the good balance of your intestinal flora*
  • Produces significant quantities of lactase to potentially aid in lactose intolerance challenges*

I'm convinced Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 is one of the important and necessary strains in an effective probiotic supplement.* Without it, I believe you're not maximizing the potential of using this type of supplement.

But it's one thing to just explain how DDS-1 potentially supports your health*... it's another to provide examples of studies and research that provide compelling evidence...

Probiotic Superstrain – A Study in Benefits*

Over the years, several studies have demonstrated the diverse effectiveness of DDS-1 and help validate its potential use as a probiotic.* Here are a few examples...

  • From major Midwestern University and prestigious health center (2010) - Conducted a review of case studies to determine whether using a multispecies probiotic with DDS-1 could support bowel health. Results: After 60 days of treatment, most showed significant improvement in abdominal health, bloating and occasional elimination irregularities.* This study suggests that DDS-1 may help create a healthy balance of microflora in the gastrointestinal tract.*
  • From Gut (2003)- DDS-1 helped to support the health of human epithelial cell lines when evaluated as part of a probiotic blend.*
  • (1997) - In animal research, isolated evaluation of DDS-1 supported the normal production of immune components.* DDS-1 performed this better than three other strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus or Bifidobacterium bifidum.*

These are but a few examples why I believe DDS-1 plays a key role in optimal health when you use a probiotic supplement.*

Don't Spend Potentially More on a High-Quality Probiotic
If You Don't Have to...

One controversial area of discussion involving probiotic supplements involves survivability.

By survivability, I mean the ability of the "good" bacteria released by the supplement to survive and reproduce in your intestinal tract.

Why is this so important?

Well, if the beneficial bacteria are destroyed by your stomach acid and intestinal bile, your GI tract won't be able to take advantage of the potential health benefits.*

Many theories abound on how to solve this... many I believe are not necessary and just waste your money. This gets back to the value perception issue once again.

Many probiotic manufacturers want you to believe that a special type of coating, called enteric coating, is necessary for the beneficial bacteria to survive. Basically, enteric coating is a type of layer put on the capsule itself to supposedly ensure survival of the beneficial bacteria in your GI tract.

I have several issues with enteric coating that can be summed up as follows...

  • It's an expensive process - The cost you pay for a high-quality enteric-coated probiotic supplement with significant numbers of CFUs often becomes highly inflated due to the expensive enteric coating process.
  • In my opinion these enteric coatings are unnecessary for GI survival - According to probiotic experts, selecting specific acid- and bile-resistant strains coupled with high-quality manufacturing processes, negate the need for enteric coating. In fact, the process of enteric coating could potentially reduce the viability of live beneficial bacteria altogether.
  • Many enteric coatings use synthetic ingredients - There are few uses of natural enteric coating because this adds even more cost. Most enteric coated probiotics are treated with a polymer of acrylic acid... a synthetic chemical often sprayed onto the capsule.

And what about raw, unpasteurized yogurt, sauerkraut, fermented milk, and kefir consumed as traditional foods for generations to support digestive health? The beneficial probiotic bacteria within these foods have not had difficulties surviving stomach acid and intestinal bile.

So, why would a high-quality probiotic supplement require some sort of coating to enhance the survivability of the contents?

Well, in my opinion, it doesn't. And I believe the added cost is not only an unnecessary expense to you, but may be an added health detriment as well... if the coating is synthetic.

Many probiotic manufacturers have created a perception of greater value to justify the higher cost of their enteric coated probiotics. Guess what? In my opinion, the value is not there so you can simply just avoid them.

I'll show you what I consider to be a much more robust and less costly solution coming up...

Little-Known Complement Adds 'Spice' to Probiotic Formula

With much of the attention focused on probiotics, there is a little known complement to probiotics called prebiotics that play an important role in your digestion.*

So, what are prebiotics?

Prebiotics help keep beneficial bacteria healthy.* They basically are non-digestible foods that end up in your digestive system to help beneficial bacteria (probiotics) grow and flourish.*

The prebiotics that feed the "good" bacteria in your GI tract primarily come from carbohydrate fibers called oligosaccharides that you don't digest.* They remain in your digestive system to help boost the growth of beneficial bacteria.*

Natural sources of prebiotics include…

  • Fruits...
  • Raw Honey...
  • Legumes...

I believe adding prebiotics to a high-quality probiotic benefits the entire formula.* But this is a complex process and not easily produced at an economically feasible cost... until now.

More coming up on how my probiotic solution provider has found a solution for this. But first...

If You're Currently Taking Or Are Considering Taking Probiotics, I Recommend That You Make Sure It Has These...

Here's my list of "must-haves" in a probiotic formula.

See, as time goes on, research and technology are creating moving targets of improvement in probiotics... and I want to make sure you have every opportunity to take advantage of newly uncovered properties.*

Now, to the demanding list... my 'must-haves' in a probiotic formula...

  • Contains specific super-strain Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1
  • Shows high potency through independent lab test
  • Works together with prebiotics for improved probiotic performance*
  • Is stable at room temperature for at least 2 years
  • Is non-dairy, free from soy, corn, wheat, and gluten
  • Helps maintain a healthy flora, promotes digestion, and supports your immune system*
  • Adapts naturally to the human body due to its human origins
  • Is acid- and bile-resistant to naturally survive the stomach and intestinal transit
  • Produces natural enzymes, vitamins, lactic acid, and hydrogen peroxide
  • Utilizes nitrogen packaging and is freeze-dried
  • Comes available in vegetable-based capsules

Now, you can use these rigorous criteria to find a probiotic formula that matches up... but you'll probably have a difficult time.

Why is that?

Well, I set the bar about as high as I could base on new data my team and I uncovered. I really didn't expect to find any formula satisfying all of the requirements. At this point, you probably agree how challenging this is as well.

But, all I can say is I was pleasantly surprised when I found a formula that not only nailed my requirements, but exceeded them as well.

Here's what I found...

A Formula So Robust It Has Become a Cornerstone in
My Daily Supplement Regimen

Complete Probiotics has become part of my personal daily regimen... a rare occasion at best.

In fact, I view high-quality probiotics as more important than a multi-vitamin.

I'm even more excited to introduce our new glass bottles in 180 ct. quantity, offering you premium packaging and greater sustainability against any kind of extreme weather conditions, and therefore, greater peace of mind. Now, your Complete Probiotics will truly go anywhere you do... comfortably, setting you at ease when you travel, if you happen to leave them out on the counter, or in a hot or cold car. Glass is also better for the environment!

Here's a breakdown of the 10 specific beneficial bacteria strains in Complete Probiotics...*

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 - You already know the extraordinary benefits of this superstrain. Because it is of human origin, it works exceptionally well in your GI tract.*
  • Lactobacillus casei - Works with other helpful organisms, and helps to encourage the growth of other beneficial bacteria.*
  • Lactobacillus plantarum - Has been shown to be resistant to low pH conditions and able to survive bile concentrations in your intestine.*
  • Lactobacillus salivarius
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus brevis
  • Bifidobacterium lactis - A friendly bacteria often found in raw yogurt
  • Bifidobacterium longum
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Streptococcus thermophilus

Plus, Complete Probiotics now has beneficial prebiotics in the form of Fructooligosaccharide (FOS).* This was not an easy task. But the chosen manufacturer already recognized the importance and health benefits when complementing probiotics with prebiotics... a total win-win scenario for you.*

Here's more on how the Complete Probiotics totally shines...

Bile and Acid Resistance – The Proof Is in the Test Results

Another area my new Complete Probiotics proves its weight in gold is in acid and bile tolerance.

You already know my feelings on enteric coating and how I believe it's a waste of your time and money. Well, the chart below shows you how well the strains that make up the Complete Probiotics formula resist and survive stomach acid and intestinal bile.

Very few manufacturers I looked at could actually provide testing info on the survivability of the specific strains in their formulas. If they could not demonstrate results, I passed them up.

Keep in mind, without these strains adequately resisting stomach acid and intestinal bile, your health benefits from the probiotic will likely be severely lacking.

Through testing, some Complete Probiotics strains demonstrated gastrointestinal acid and bile tolerances over 90%. So, don't waste your money on enteric-coated formulas.

Here's the test results...

Note: "Complete Probiotics" contains 80% probiotics strains that are >90% acid- and bile-resistant.

Taking It Along When You Travel

When it comes to probiotics, I've always taken my favorite formula along whenever I travel... particularly, when I travel outside the US.


Well, when you visit other countries, there's always a chance your digestive system can be sensitive to different foods (e.g., spices) that you are not used to. This can cause not only occasional digestive discomfort, but may stress you out as well.

Who wants to be in another country either on business or vacation, and have to deal with occasional digestive discomfort? Well, I certainly don't... and that's why I take along a high-quality probiotic to help make sure my GI tract is in optimal shape.*

And with Complete Probiotics you have what my team and I consider to be the best probiotic formula we could find and it's perfect for traveling because it...

  • Has a shelf life of 2 years at room temperature - Unlike some other probiotic formulas with shorter shelf lives, Complete Probiotics is stable longer at room temperature.*
  • Can help you during times of digestive stress* - If while traveling, your GI tract is affected by new and exciting foods (e.g., spices), you can take additional servings (recommended 4-6 capsules) to help give your digestive system the additional support it needs.*
  • Becomes part of your travel pack - Conveniently fits into any travel pack you bring along on your trip.

With the Complete Probiotics formula and all of its distinct health advantages, I plan to never travel without it.* I recommend you consider doing the same.

If you want to learn more about how probiotics help with hypothyroidism then click the button below...