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.


Probiotic Potential in the Brain!

Here at Probulin, we’re getting to be experts on all the research in the probiotics world. We’re always careful to tell you when the research is in initial stages, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t excited about all the potential!

Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that probiotic bacteria have the potential to alter the brain’s fatty acids composition. The research, being done in Ireland, was performed on mice and found that bacteria in the gut microbiota influence the brain.

Mice given particular probiotics had increased levels of ARA and DHA, two fatty acids that play important roles in the brain.

We’re not telling you this research will have an immediate impact on probiotic products. But it’s just another sign of how getting a deeper understanding of the bacteria in our bodies may really change the way we treat diseases and stay healthy.

 It’s exciting!

Go with your Gut,

The Probulin Team

Learning More: Research Needed into Human Microbiome

We’re learning about the bacterial world in and on our bodies, called the microbiome, and it’s clear to most medical researchers that it has a critical impact on our health.

Recently, researchers met in Paris for the International Human Microbiome Consortium, and talked about the importance of continuing research into the microbiome in our bodies. According to ScienceInsider, two major research programs in this area are coming to an end and it’s critical that funding be extended.

For such a relatively new field, the data gathering process has been important. But now it’s time to start challenging and interpreting the data. As we report here frequently, initial studies about the impact of probiotics are so promising, that more research needs to be done so we can fully understand the benefits.

Here’s to all the researchers, funders and others seeking to make our world better through understanding the bacteria we live with daily!

Read here ( ) for more information on the international meeting.

Go with  your Gut,

The Probulin Team

Getting All the Probiotic Brains Together

Next month is a big event for all of us involved in the probiotics world – the International Probiotics Association World Congress. This event, which occurs every two years, is in Los Angeles April 20-21.

For two days, researchers, regulatory officials, manufacturers, and healthcare providers gather to attend scientific and regulatory seminars, network and generally find a forum to exchange knowledge. Each conference day is geared for unique audiences. On Day 1, manufacturers, probiotic research and development scientists, brand marketers, industry consultants, and regulatory officials will hear from renowned experts on emerging areas of probiotic research, international regulation and recommendations to improve the status of probiotics as non-prescription dietary aids.

The International Probiotics Association (IPA) has members equally divided between industry and academia, and its goal is to provide a unique forum for the exchange of research and the latest breakthroughs in probiotic technology and new product development.

It will be interesting to see what news comes out of this conference. There have been many advances in probiotics research and regulatory issues worldwide since the last one. We’ll keep you updated!


Go with your Gut,

The Probulin Team

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

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

Probiotics in Everyday Items

You wouldn’t believe the places probiotics are showing up these days! As consumers catch on to the exciting health benefits these little guys give us, manufacturers are rising up to the new demand.

From suppositories and enemas to facial cleansers (such as Clinique’s Probiotic Cleanser) and pet products, beneficial probiotics are cropping up in all kinds of everyday goods you’re already using. Even sun block lotions and drinking straws are made with probiotics these days.

In 2003, a Swedish biotech company, Ellen AB, began selling probiotic tampons in 2003 with natural fibers treated with lactic acid bacteria. They have been shown to decrease yeast and urinary tract infections in women (replacing the longtime household remedy of dipping a tampon in yogurt).

Other products with probiotics include:

✓ Gum/mint for oral and teeth health (

✓ Face creams (such as Epicuren acidophilus probioticcream)

✓ Soaps (Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotic Kampuku soap)

✓ Makeup (Clinique SPF 15)

✓ Anti-aging serums (Bioelements)

✓ Skin brighteners (Miessence)

When it comes to probiotics: the more the merrier.  Getting as many as you can from food to hygiene products and supplements like Probulin, ensures a better chance that the good bacteria you need gives you the health benefits you’re looking for.

Go with your gut,

The Probulin Team

Heart Attack Clues in Your Gut

The bacteria in your gut may offer clues as to whether you’re likely to have a heart attack. A recent study published in a biology journal (FASEB Journal, published by the Federal of American Societies for Experimental Biology) reported that the “types and levels” of gut bacteria are a good indication of the likelihood of a heart attack. The research was done by scientists at the Medical College of Wisconsin (Milwaukee, Wis.) also said that changing the bacteria could reduce risk.

In fact, rat studies found that those given specific probiotics (Lactobacillus plantarum) had smaller heart attacks and better return of mechnical function afterwards.

For more detailed information on this study, check out this article on ScienceBlog.

It’s fascinating to see where the research is going with probiotics and understanding the role bacteria play in our lives! Nice to know when you’re taking Probulin you may be decreasing the chance you’ll have a heart attack!

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