I’ve been noticing a lot more mention of probiotics lately- what exactly is a probiotic, and why have they become such a ‘hot topic’?
Should I be taking a probiotic daily?
Did you know that nearly 90 trillion of 100 trillion cells in your body are actually bacteria?! Yes, you heard me right, a whole 90% of your body is bacteria! But before you get too concerned, let me reassure you that most of these bacteria are ‘good’ bacteria. So what exactly does it mean to have ‘good’ bacteria?
Well, most of these bacteria are found in your gut (specifically your intestines), contributing to what is called a microbiome, or a community of small organisms that lives happily together inside of our bodies. This microbiome is reported to have influence on our metabolism (the way our body converts what we eat/drink into energy), immunity (your body’s defense against infection), mood and even energy!
Increasing focus has been put on the use of probiotics as a preventative measure for numerous metabolic, allergic and even psychological diseases. Probiotics work not only to replace the good bacteria in the gut, but likewise to fight off the bad bacteria. It’s natural then to think that if we want to maintain our metabolism, immunity, good mood and high energy levels, we need to help support our microbiome.
How do we get these probiotics to help our microbiome? Probiotics are a food-grade ingredient, and thus there are many ways that we can introduce them into our daily lives. They can be found naturally in such products as some yogurts (make sure it says ‘live active cultures’!), fermented vegetables and unpasteurized (unprocessed) soft cheeses. Probiotics can also be found in pill-form, or my personal favorite, in the form of a drink.
I started taking probiotics when I was in my teens because I was constantly sick and had exhausted all other methods of treating my seemingly weak immune system. I began to take a probiotic pill every morning before school and sure enough, slowly but surely, I began to avoid some of the common colds and ailments that were passed amongst my peers. I was amazed by the results of my probiotic, but realized that I didn’t want to add another pill to my daily routine, so I started taking my probiotics in a different form, by drinking them.
H2PROTM is a probiotic beverage that has numerous formulas tailored towards your health goals. There is a formula for immune health (my personal favorite), a formula for bone & joint health, and they are working on two new formulas- one for pregnancy health, and the other for brain health. The products contain your basic vitamins and amino acids such as Vitamin C (promotes your immune system), Zinc (good for cell & protein formation) & Arginine (promotes the formation of immune cells).
H2PROTM also contains specific combinations of individual probiotics depending on the formula. For example, the Immune Health formula contains such probiotics as Lactobacillus acidophilus & Lactobacillus paracasei which help to encourage vitamin and enzyme production. This formula also contains Bifidobacterium lactis, which is found naturally in your colon and works to prevent the invasion of bad bacteria and also may work to stimulate the immune system to react against cancerous cells. The combination of probiotics are specifically selected by a board-certified physician to work in combination to promote a healthier you!
The H2PROTM product comes as a powder with an option for both flavored and flavorless formulas, and it is packaged in an aluminum sleeve for easy travel. The flavored formulas can be emptied into any 16oz water bottle, while the flavorless formula can be added to juice or smoothies, sprinkled on your cereal, in your salad dressing, over your buttered toast and more. The possibilities are endless! I generally add a flavorless packet to my breakfast smoothie in the morning, or a flavored packet to my water-bottle when I’m at the gym.
In addition to H2PROTM, there are other beverage formulas out there such as kombucha, milk-based drinks, and drinks in which the probiotic formula is stored in the cap of a water bottle. The kombucha is a fermented drink that has a great tart flavor, and the milk-based drinks can satisfy your creamy cravings.
Whether it is by drinking a beverage, taking a pill, or eating probiotic rich food, the moral of the story is that probiotics are worth the hype. You can help your body stay strong and healthy simply with the addition of a probiotic to your daily routine.
Alex Baumgarten is in Medical School at Eastern Carolina University.
 Plotnikoff GA, Riley D. The Human Microbiome. Global Advances in Health and Medicine. 2014;3(3):4-5. doi:10.7453/gahmj.2014.023.
 Bubnov, R. V., Spivak, M. Y., Lazarenko, L. M., Bomba, A., & Boyko, N. V. (2015). Probiotics and immunity: Provisional role for personalized diets and disease prevention. EPMA Journal, 6 Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.jproxy.lib.ecu.edu/docview/1772449441?accountid=10639
 Microbiology Research Advances : Probiotics: Sources, Types and Health Benefits : Sources, Types and Health Benefits. Hauppauge, US: Nova, 2012. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 14 October 2016.
Photo Credit: Lactobacillus acidophilus SEM image, Mogana Das Murtey and Patchamuthu Ramasamy, obtained from Wikimedia Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 License
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