Human Microbiome Project: Studying Microbial Cells (Don’t worry, all the science-y talk is in the headline!)

Researching probiotics brought me to an interesting website recently. The Human Microbiome Project is an initiative of the National Institutes of Health to study the microbial cells in the human body, which outnumber human cells 10 to one.

It’s only recently that we’ve had the technology to study those microbial cells so that we can better understand the impact they have on our development, physiology, immunity and nutrition. The project is focusing on microbes found in the nasal, oral, skin, gastrointestinal and urogenital areas.

I’m interested in these studies because the impact probiotics have in your body has to do with the impact on the microbial environment. As technology and scientists isolate the information, we’ll learn more about strains of probiotics that will help us the most, particularly in treating disease states.

While the project isn’t focused on probiotics, any understanding of the microbial environment in our bodies will advance the science that we use to bring you the best probiotics possible. It’s exciting to see glimmers of the future potential – aside from the amazing things good bacteria already do!

To read more about what the Human Microbiome Project is doing, click here:


Go with your Gut,

The Probulin Team

This article was originally posted on by Dr. Shekhar Challa on Feb 13, 2012. With permission by the author we have reposted it on


Probiotics for Babies: Impact Seen Until Age 4

A study published this month in Clinical and Experimental Allergy found that infants exposed to probiotics (specifically Lactobacillus rhamnosus) from 35 weeks to age 2 were at less risk for getting eczema and rhinoconjunctivitis. (For a detailed report, click here.

The “protective effect,” according to the article on Medscape, lasted until age 4. The probiotics were given to the mothers before the babies were born and continuing after birth for six months if the mothers were breastfeeding. Then the babies got the supplements directly.

The incidence of eczema was significantly reduced, backing up other studies that found the same results but had tracked the children only to about 2 years of age.

So at your next baby shower, you might want to consider giving mom a bottle of Probulin – along with, of course,  print out of the study so she doesn’t think you just raided your bathroom cabinet for a gift.


Go with your Gut,

The Probulin Team

Probiotics sales to skyrocket worldwide

It seems that many, many people are finding out about the benefits of taking probiotics and that trend is expected to continue. A market researcher found that U.S. per capita spending is expected to double from 2011 through 2016. For more detailed information on that market, click here ( to read the full article.

The most prominent probiotic market has been drinkable yogurt, followed by spoonable yogurt, and trailing that is supplements. As consumers become more educated to understand that they need supplements are necessary to get enough probiotics – particularly if you’re taking them for a specific disease or illness – that may change.

Either way, we’re excited to see the rising interest in probiotics. Just as 40 years ago very few people took multi-vitamins or fish oil, we think educated consumers will learn there’s a huge place in their daily supplement regimen for probiotics.

Go with your gut,

Probulin Team

This article was originally posted on by Dr. Shekhar Challa on Feb 13, 2012. With permission by the author we have reposted it on

The facts, ma’am… and some stats, research studies…

Here on the Probulin Team, we don’t always agree about what to write about in the blog. There are those of us who want to cite all the research studies out there and those of us who just want to summarize, without including numbers and such. (Guess you could call it the battle of right brain versus left brain thinkers!)

Today, the numbers people won. There’s a great website (click here to visit it that summarizes abstracts of ongoing or completed scientific research studies.

One stuck out among the others. Doctors did a study of 72 patients with severe multiple injuries. Some received a placebo and others received a combination of a probiotic and a prebiotic (called a synbiotic).  The abstract says in conclusion: “Synbiotics contained in the studied formula decrease significantly the risk for sepsis by bloodstream infections and the occurrence of VAP by A. baumannii.”

Translated, VAP is ventilator associated pneumonia, which is a real problem at hospitals. Other studies have also found that probiotics fight off VAP. One, done at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Neb., said that daily use of probiotics reduced VAP in critically ill patients by almost half. (In the interest of fairness, we want to note that the study patients were carefully selected and probiotics have not been studied for all critically ill patients on the ventilator.)

Half! Even if you don’t like to deal in numbers, you gotta like that number!

For more studies like this, check out the link we mentioned above. . . and, of course, check back  here. Us stats loving people win the fights occasionally and get to fill this blog with some medical talk!

Go with your Gut,

The Probulin Team

Probiotics: the new mood booster

Probiotic bacteria might be able to alter brain neurochemistry and treat anxiety and depression-related disorders. At the University College Cork, Ireland, they do some of the most progressive research on probiotics in the world. (Click HERE to visit their website.)

Researchers there found that mice fed Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1 showed “significantly fewer stress, anxiety and depression-related behaviours than those fed with just broth. Moreover, ingestion of the bacteria resulted in significantly lower levels of stress-induced hormone, corticosterone.”

Now, while I’d be interested to take a little side journey in this blog about how they determined those mice were less stressed, I’m going to trust that the researchers had a method for determining that.

In medicine, there’s always been an acknowledgement of the connection between your brain and your gut (just think about nerves right before you give a speech – where do you feel it?!). But this study identified a pathway through which gut organisms altered mouse brain chemistry and behavior.

It’s really exciting to see all the research being done and the connections being made. It makes me realize how important it is that I take my supplements – probiotics first, of course! – to get and stay healthy.  (Though always remember to check with YOUR doctor before adding any supplement to your diet.)

Go with your gut,

Probulin Team

This article was originally posted on by Dr. Shekhar Challa on Feb 13, 2012. With permission by the author we have reposted it on

Avoid diarrhea despair on your next vacation!

It’s that time of year when many of us, stuck in cold climates with sleet hitting the windows, think of escaping to warm, sunny beaches. It’s also a countdown to summer when we take the kids and explore new countries, eat new foods and generally get away from the house.

But one challenge of traveling overseas is traveler’s diarrhea, which often occurs when we visit other countries. TD is considered three or more stools in a 24-hour time period when you’re traveling outside the U.S. It’s usually associated with cramping, bloating and occasionally nausea, and the source of infection is usually eating or drinking fecal-contaminated food or water. (How many ways can we say UGH online??)

But before you leave for your trip, make sure you’re taking your probiotics. Studies have found that Saccharomyces boulardii and Lactobacillus acidophilus are effective in preventing traveler’s diarrhea. Of course, you also have to stay smart – don’t drink local water or eat food you’re unsure of.

I don’t want you stuck in your hotel room when you could be out on the beach. But that’s just my opinion. Now go plan your next summer vacation!

Go with your gut,

Probulin Team

This article was originally posted on by Dr. Shekhar Challa on Feb 8, 2012. With permission by the author we have reposted it on

Bacteria on the Cutting Edge of Science

We love working with probiotics because we get to read lots of brand-new scientific research. Medicine is an exciting field – just think of what we can do today that we couldn’t yesterday (heart transplant, anyone?).

A new discovery, reported on the Fish Information & Service website, says they’ve found strains of bacteria in the Bay of Fundy (off the coast of Maine) that could fight cancer in humans.

Like many scientific advancements, this discovery (and keep in mind that there’s lot of research still to be done before anything is definite) was found as researchers worked to protect farmed salmon from infection. Read the article to get the whole story.

What is exciting for us here at Probulin is this vast, increasing knowledge about bacteria and what an important role they play in our lives. It’s unlikely we’re anywhere near understanding how the environment’s we’ve created today with our anti-bacterials and such have changed the good bacteria in our bodies, leaving us open to all sorts of problems.

Stay tuned as we keep you up-to-date on more research!


Go with your gut,

The Probulin Team

Selecting and Using Probiotic Supplements

Even though probiotic-rich foods should be an important part of your life, you probably need probiotic supplements to ingest enough bacteria to make a difference. Supplements are especially important if you’re treating a specific illness, such as inflammatory bowel disease or other health issues.

Even people in the medical profession would be lost in the supplements aisle of the grocery store shopping for probiotics. Because the research is still in its infancy, specific recommendations about how much good bacteria you should take (or, in some cases, which strain will help particular diseases) just aren’t available.

However, here are some points to keep in mind:

What goes in your mouth does not necessarily reach your colon.

Good  bacteria can’t help you if they don’t survive your stomach acid. Look for products labeled “encapsulated” or some other indication that they use technology to help the good bacteria reach your colon.

More strains of bacteria are better than one.

Make sure your supplement includes Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria strains. Also check for prebiotic ingredients like inulin; prebiotics make the probiotic bacteria more effective. (Probulin is a good example of this kindof supplement.)

Always check the expiration date and storage information.

Some supplements need to be chilled; even those that don’t require refrigeration should be stored away from heat. Heat destroys probiotic bacteria, so don’t drink coffee, hot tea, or other hot beverages for an hour after you take probiotics in any form — either as a supplement or in foods.

✓ Good probiotic supplements include prebiotics.

The good probiotic supplements include fiber (prebiotics) which serves as “food” for the probiotic bacteria. Including insoluble fiber ensures probiotic have enough food for energy and growth once they reach the gut.

So next time you head to the store or go online for your supply of probiotic supplements, be sure to check the supplement facts on the bottle.

Go with your health,

Probiotic Team