You Have Heard About Probiotics But Do You Know What Prebiotics Are?

When looking at the words prebiotic and probiotic they look very similar, only containing one different letter. They also have similar benefits as their jobs are to improve overall health by starting with digestive health. According to Dr. Shekhar Challa, author of Probiotics for Dummies, and creator of the first Probiotic video game –, probiotics mean “for life.” Probiotics are the good bacteria. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients, like inulin, that stimulate the growth and/or activity of bacteria in the digestive system in ways believed to be beneficial to health and are not consumed by the bad bacteria. Essentially Prebiotics act as food or fuel to Probiotics. Probiotics and Prebiotics worktogether to maintain gut health.

Prebiotic fiber is not affected by heat, cold, acid or time, yet probiotics can be killed by heat, acid or passage of time. Prebiotics nourish the thousands of good bacterial species already living in the colon. Probiotics contain species of bacteria which are added to the colon when ingested.

Probiotics are the beneficial organisms, prebiotics help probiotic bacteria grow and flourish. Prebiotics and probiotics working together are called synbiotics. Now we can understand that prebiotics are the support team to probiotics which maintain our gut health. When Prebiotics and Probiotics are available in the same product it is called a synbiotic. Probulin is a classic example of a synbiotic.

Shrimp Farms Utilize Probiotics

FACT: The major importers for shrimp into the U.S. are Thailand, China, Vietnam, India and Indonesia. ~USDA Aquaculture Statistics

Are you a seafood fan? Here in the Midwest seafood is a little hard to come by (hence Red Lobster and Long John Silvers chains). But despite not being near the sea for the fresh catch of the day, seafood has many healthy benefits.  So if allergies for shellfish aren’t standing in your way, be sure to add some fish to your diet a couple of times a week.

Give Bubba Gump Some Lovin’

One of my favorite types of seafood is shrimp. Now I don’t know, or haven’t paid attention to, whether my shrimp from the grocery store is caught from the ocean or is bred in an aquaculture (aka shrimp farm).

FACT: It’s predicted by 2020 up to 50 percent of our seafood worldwide will come from fish farms, as estimated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.S.

David Moriarity of The University of Queensland, in his presentation in 1999 to the International Symposium on Microbial Ecology, stated probiotics can be beneficial in reducing bad bacteria and rates of infection within shrimp aquaculture farms.

Probiotics for Creatures Big & Small

Consider our use of antibiotics… an overuse of such drugs can cause the body to react by building immunity to the helpful antibiotics. Over time, we become immune to antibiotics because we’ve grown resistant to the bacteria being used to fight off infections. Probiotics not only reduce the rate of infection, but now even doctors are starting to prescribe probiotics with antibiotics in order to prevent resistance to the drugs, and get us feeling better faster.

Similar occurrence with shrimp: the tanks they are bred in have recently had problems repopulating at such great numbers due to bacterial infections.

What does this have to do with us (humans)?

Remember that saying “you are what you eat.” Shrimp alone do not provide any probiotics for us, they don’t naturally produce the good bacterium by themselves. Turns out if we eat shrimp that has been feed high doses of antibiotics, we are more likely to grow resistant to certain strains of antibiotics. So feeding probiotics to shrimp and keeping their bacteria balanced indirectly benefits us and our immunity.

Despite the health benefits we get from seafood, it is still suggested that we take probiotics on a daily basis. Check out NutraCenter’s line of digestive health products and get started balancing your microflora (intestinal bacterial levels) today!

Go with your gut,

Probulin Team

This article was originally posted on the NutraCenter blog on March 15, 2012. It has been reposted here with permission by the author.

Probiotics Keep You Healthy!

It’s that time of year when you feel as if someone around you is always sick. From snot-dripping co-workers to vomiting kids to coughs that sound like you’re surrounded by seals. Thankfully, probiotics are well-studied for their immune properties and and you’ll certainly be glad of that right now.

And employers, take heart! Studies have shown that people miss less time from work when they’re taking probiotics (one of our earlier blogs highlighted a study that showed the same thing in a daycare setting). A 2005 study in Sweden looked at 181 adults to see if taking probiotics could reduce workplace absences. With a test and placebo group (in other words, the participants didn’t know if they were getting probiotics or a substitute), the study found that workers taking L. reuteri probiotics had fewer absenteeisms (10.6% number of workers absent versus 26.4% in the placebo group) and a lower frequency of sick days.

Now if that doesn’t make you sit up and throw away the Kleenex, I don’t know what will!

Go with your gut,

Probulin Team

Face the World with Probiotics

It’s like Mom use to say: True beauty comes from within. And guess what! What lives in our guts may show in our faces. Some research suggests that an imbalance in gut flora can be linked to the production of blemishes. The toxins from bad bacteria actually seem to promote breakouts.

Traditional treatments, such as antibiotics, kill off the good as well as bad bacteria, further throwing your system’s balance out of whack. A steady regimen of Probulin may help to maintain a healthy ratio of good bacteria and reduce breakouts. In fact, this was first written about in the 1960s when Dr. R.H. Siver was doing a study with patients with gastrointestinal problems and treating them with probiotics. He noticed one side effect was that their skin cleared up… So while there’s not a lot of definitive research, it’s hard to ignore the connection between what bacteria is doing in your gut and your skin health!

When it’s time to let your inner beauty shine out, research sure is suggesting that probiotics may be valuable in helping you put your best face forward.

Go with your gut,

The Probulin Team

India – Moving Ahead to Recommend Probiotics

The most-studied area where probiotics help you is in your gut – and particularly in preventing diarrhea. We’ve tackled this smelly subject in other blog posts, for example our post titled “It’s An Ugly Subject… But We’re Brave!

An article in an India newspaper talked about all the evidence that probiotics help prevent diarrhea in patients who take antibiotics (remember from our previous blog that antibiotics, in their efforts to kill off the bad bacteria also kill off the good bacteria, which causes the diarrhea and stomach upset). Right now, the article said, it’s rare for doctors to prescribe probiotics as an antidote to antibiotic-induced diarrhea. One Indian doctor, an expert in probiotics, estimates that 1.4 million of the 9 million child deaths in her country in 2008 could be attributed to diarrhea.

Now, the National Institute of Nutrition in India has put together guidelines for probiotics in the country, requiring them to list exactly what’s in the probiotic, to use only evidence-based health claims and other information that we have on our Probulin label like serving size and proper storage.

They’re hoping to encourage doctors to use probiotics more frequently, particularly in treating diarrhea.

It’s nice to have a little control over your health, isn’t it?


Go with your gut,

The Probulin Team

Probiotics & Prebiotics: Not Just for Us Humans

No, we’re not talking an alien invasion. We’re actually talking about using probiotics to help the animal industry. In recent years, there’s been considerable concern about the food animal producers using antibiotics. Remember, when we use too many antibiotics, people start to get resistant to them and new strains of bacteria are born that are antibiotic-resistant. (The one you’ll recognize is MRSA because it’s gotten a lot of attention in the media.)

The food animal industries have been looking at options to reduce the use of antibiotics, and probiotics and prebiotics are options, according to an article at The article says the poultry industry is “embracing” probiotics for pathogen prevention, but lots more studies are looking at using probiotics and prebiotics to reduce the use of antibiotics.

If you’ve got one of those science-y heads, you can read another article from Medwell Journals that’s pretty complex about how probiotics are being investigated for use with many animals (not just those chickens!) HERE. It talks about how some studies have shown that:

  • Probiotics feed intake and daily weight gain in chickens, horses, pigs, sheep, goats and cattle.
  • Cows fed probiotics saw higher milk yields, and increased fats and proteins.
  • Rabbits fed probiotics had reduced morbidity and mortality rates during their fattening periods.

There are lots more studies listed in this article – but it’s all a good sign for how society is starting to recognize the potential of good bacteria to make positive changes.


Go with your gut,

The Probulin Team

Ulcers: Probiotic research in its early stages

Ulcers are open sores that are pretty commonly found in the stomach or first part of the small intestine. In most people, they’re caused by theHelicobacter pylori bacteria, although they can occur because of other reasons.

While probiotic research is in its infancy on this subject, studies have shown that probiotics decrease the number of H. pylori bacteria in the stomach. The usual treatment for ulcers is antibiotics and other studies found that if probiotics are taken along with antibiotics, the chance of getting rid of the H. pylori are higher.

Researchers in Spain successfully tested various strains of Bifidobacteria in treating H. pylori. You can read about that HERE

This is why it’s so exciting about the probiotics medical field! Every day new research comes out showing how this good bacteria affects our bodies and helps many health problems. The potential is tremendous! And what’s terrific is that you can be proactive while you’re waiting on the evidence-based research to solidify. Most of us (and be sure to check with your doctor if you have a medical condition) can take probiotics now and start getting the good effects, even as the medical world continues to discover MORE good effects.

Talk about a win-win. Certainly a better gamble than the stock market these days. . .


Go with your gut,

The Probulin Team

It’s an Ugly Subject. . . but We’re Brave!

It’s not something anyone wants to talk about. Any subject that starts with stomach cramps and ends up in the bathroom. . . well, it’s just yuck. But face it, most of you suffer from diarrhea one to many times during the year. It can be acute, meaning of short duration, or chronic, meaning of long duration.

Various things can cause diarrhea, including illness, food poisoning and even taking antibiotics. But the good news is that one of the most well-studied aspects of probiotics is their ability to make an impact on digestive problems.

In particular, studies have shown that taking probiotics at the same time you take antibiotics will help you avoid the diarrhea associated with doing that. Doctors are even starting to prescribe probiotics (the strains of Lactobacillus GG and Lactobacillus acidophilus show promise in treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea) along with antibiotics. This is something physicians in Europe have caught on to a lot faster than those in America.

If you’re struggling with any type of digestive problem, talk to your doctor about the potential of probiotics.

You’ll be glad you did! And you may save some toilet paper too! (Yes, bad joke. We know. But hard to resist.)


Go with your Gut,

The Probulin Team