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Bacteria, both beneficial and pathogenic, play a hugely important role in helping you either thrive or struggle with your health. Science is constantly discovering new ways that microbes affect essential functions throughout the body. One way to support your microbiome is through evidence-based quality probiotics. The big question is, what does a quality probiotic even look like? What should you be looking for?
I am no stranger to the confusion because I’ve been there and let’s be real, there’s just so much information out there to sift through when everything sounds conflicting. That’s why I’ve dedicated my career to helping individuals heal their gut. I’m determined (and committed) to bring the top evidence based and up to date nutrition science information to help readers make these important decisions for their health. I’m excited to dive in and share my current favorite quality probiotic with you!
The gut microbiome is important. We all know this. But what is the gut truly? What are we referring to when we say “gut health?” Is it the colon? The entirety of your digestive system? Is it a marketing term? Is it a mysterious magical place akin to an enchanted forest or fountain of youth? (To be honest about the latter, kind of.)
The gut microbiome is an ecosystem of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other life forms that live within and on the surface of your body. It’s not a particular organ or organ system, but rather an all encompassing living community. However, the majority of this community does reside in your intestines and colon.
The microbiome is home to trillions of microorganisms— about 38 trillion to be exact. These microorganisms live in a delicate balance, much like the rainforest or the ocean. Every living being (ie. microbe) in this community within your body has its purpose, and if the balance is out of whack (eg. pathogenic bacteria outweighs good bacteria, yeast starts to grow in high amounts, etc.), your overall health is in jeopardy.
This is why biodiversity is so important. While there is no one specific definition of a healthy microbiome, we do know the more diverse, the better.
The gut microbiome affects your overall health because the good bacteria that reside there are your own personal worker bees, teachers, and soldiers that work, instruct, and fight for the most important functions that sustain a healthy life.
There is no denying the health of your gut microbes is critical to the health of your body as a whole. Think your heart, your skin, your brain, your hormones, your immune system, and so on and so forth. Learn more about how your gut affects your overall health here in this blog post.
This is why I work specifically with gut health and how it affects autoimmunity. I KNOW the power of bacteria. It literally controls everything!
An imbalanced gut microbiome due to one or several of the factors below leads to leaky gut (or in scientific terms— intestinal permeability). And leaky gut can lead to chronic inflammation, among a host of symptoms, including autoimmunity.
As far as we know, the microbiome begins at birth when your mother passes on your first microbes through the vaginal canal. This along with microbes from breast-feeding and from contact with other humans and things in the world, creates your foundational microbiome. This is particularly interesting to me, especially now that I’m a mother!
Now if your gut microbiome is imbalanced or not as diverse as it could potentially be, you’re not doomed! There are ways to help, which brings me to my next point…
A fantastic way to support your gut health is to implement quality probiotics in your daily routine. Probiotics are simply beneficial bacteria. They can be found in food or in the form of supplements. The goal with incorporating good microbes (ie. probiotics) in your routine is for them to successfully reach your gut and either colonize or pass through and deliver benefits. Optimal gut health means you have a strong army of good bacteria that outweigh the bad. Quality probiotics actively improve gut health by increasing the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut and crowding out the pathogenic bacteria. As a result, a healthy ratio of bacteria thrives in the gut!
The official definition of ‘probiotics’ was actually coined by Dr. Gregor Reid, a scientist that sat on the 2002 UN/WHO expert panel and is now the Chief Scientist at Seed Health. Probiotics are considered “Live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”
This means that a probiotic contains live bacteria. It must survive any processing, manufacturing, transporting, etc. It also must contain enough of that live bacteria to be effective in providing a health benefit. This means the strains of bacteria in the probiotic must have shown to be beneficial in clinical trials. And lastly, it must benefit the host. In your case, the host is YOU— a human!
Most of the time, when people start to take their gut health seriously, they begin the hunt for a probiotic. And this can be an overwhelming task. There are probiotics EVERYWHERE. You may see advertisements on social media for various kinds of probiotic supplements, powders, foods, drinks, you name it.
You might wonder— What does a quality probiotic look like? And how do I choose the right probiotic for me?
I typically like to recommend a probiotic based on functional medicine testing of the gut. However, that’s not always possible for everyone and I understand that!
In order for a probiotic to actually work and deliver benefits, the live bacteria has to survive the treacherous journey through your digestive system as it travels through stomach acid, bile salts, and digestive enzymes. There may be some bacteria present when you pop the probiotic in your mouth, but the real question is— is it still alive by the time it reaches your colon? Make sure the probiotic you choose has shown that the bacteria survives the whole digestive process in clinical trials!
When it comes to bacteria, strains matter. Different strains of the same bacteria can have completely different purposes and effects. A great example of this is E. Coli. The bacteria Escherichia coli is generally regarded as a “bad” bacteria that causes diarrhea and recalls of lettuce, right? But this actually all depends on the STRAIN! There’s another strain of E. Coli called E. Coli nissle that’s actually considered a probiotic. Crazy, right?! When looking for a quality probiotic, make sure you check out the strains of bacteria that are included, not just the CFU number!
If you remember, in order to be considered a true quality probiotic, it must actually provide you with health benefits! This means there should be sufficient evidence that the strains included in the probiotic will benefit your digestion, skin health, heart health, immune health, brain health, or any other important function of the body. In other words, was the bacteria in this probiotic actually studied in reputable trials? And what were the results? I always suggest purchasing a probiotic that shares scientific evidence on HOW it will provide you its benefits! Never believe an empty promise!
You’ve likely seen probiotic brands boasting huge CFU numbers on their packaging. But is this what actually qualifies a probiotic as potent and most importantly, effective? CFU means colony forming units. In other words, it means how many microbes are capable of forming colonies in your gut. The problem is the CFU number doesn’t mean that’s the number that actually survives the digestive journey. I instead suggest looking for a probiotic that tests for AFU (Active Fluorescent Units). This means the bacteria is marked with fluorescence and are counted as they pass through a tube meant to mirror the digestive process.
In modern society, we’re unfortunately inundated with heavy metals and pesticides throughout our everyday lives. While they’re impossible to avoid completely, it’s best to minimize your exposure as much as possible. This is particularly true for those with autoimmune conditions or compromised gut function! This is why I suggest choosing a quality probiotic company that tests their product thoroughly for chemical compounds like heavy metals and pesticides AND are transparent with their test results.
Unfortunately, no. In the United States, the FDA considers probiotics a supplement, which means there aren’t strict requirements and probiotics don’t require FDA approval before they sell to the public. This is why the probiotic market has BLOWN UP. It can be tough to decipher the good ones from the marketing ploys!
Now that you know the criteria for choosing a good probiotic, you might wonder what it will actually do for you? What are the real health benefits?
A probiotic that is potent with diverse, beneficial bacteria strains that survive your digestive tract can benefit any function of your body that your microbiome affects. In other words, the benefits are pretty much endless. Scientists are learning more and more each day about how far your gut microbes can reach when it comes to benefiting your health. Your gut is connected to your body far beyond your intestines and colon.
So in short, yes— a good probiotic is most definitely worth the hype. It is a great starting point to improving your overall health.
I highly recommend Seed’s DS-01TM Daily Synbiotic! I personally started taking their pre-and-probiotic when I became pregnant because of the diversity of the strains.
First of all, they take science seriously. And if you’ve followed my content for long, you know how important it is to me that claims are backed by actual science. I even had to take a course on the science behind the microbiome and probiotics before partnering with them! It was pretty cool.
Second of all, their standards are HIGH. They check off every criteria I outlined above… and beyond.
Seed’s Daily Synbiotic is actually 2-in-1. It’s a 24 strain probiotic + prebiotic blend. This means it contains both live bacteria (probiotics) AND fuel that bacteria feed on (prebiotics). For more info on prebiotics, check out this blog here.
You all know that I only share products that I actually believe in. And for things like probiotics, this means I’ve gotta see the science! Seed makes this super easy. See for yourself here. Learning is power!
They utilize ViaCap® technology, which is a double layered capsule that protects the probiotics from all the acid and enzymes that your GI tract will throw at it. They also test the efficacy of this using a simulation of the human digestive process and gut microbiome in a process called SHIME®. I absolutely LOVE this… testing is my thing.
Seed actually breaks down every single bacteria species AND its strain right on their website. They have various probiotic blends that target different functions and deliver different benefits. You can view which specific bacteria strains are included in each blend and the AFU count.
Seed’s Daily Synbiotic probiotic formulation supports and delivers benefits to different areas of your health. These blends include:
Each blend is backed by strain-specific benefit scientific studies that confirm the benefits on humans, regardless of their starting microbiome. This means no matter what your gut looks like currently, this synbiotic is proven to help— hence why I recommend it to everyone!
Seed DOES use AFU as their potency count. The Seed Daily Synbiotic has 53.6 billion AFU. Plus, they potency test each and every batch.
A huge reason why I love Seed, especially for my clients, is their thorough testing. They test for organic and inorganic chemical contaminants like pesticides and heavy metals, allergens, and unwanted microorganisms like yeast and mold.
Again, I only promote and partner with products and brands that I not only trust, but that I also personally use. I take Seed’s Daily Synbiotic every single day. It’s a staple in my morning routine. The biggest difference I noticed when I first started using Seed is 100% my regularity which was off during pregnancy for a bit. Yes, I’m talking about healthy poops! My digestive system feels way less bogged down and I barely experience any bloating. Also, because my body feels better, I find myself feeling more energized, which makes me more motivated to practice healthy habits like moving my body. In addition, my skin loves this quality probiotic and I notice my skin is more smooth and glowy.
I absolutely love the packaging too. It comes in a gorgeous green glass jar that I set on display. If you’re all about aesthetics like me (no shame!), you’ll love it. I also use the travel glass vial all the time. I don’t always take my synbiotic along with supplements at once in the morning— sometimes I like to space them out. The travel glass vial allows me to store my daily synbiotic along with my supplement routine. I bring my little vial along with me in my bag so I can take all of my vitamins and such while I’m out working at a coffee shop, at lunch, running errands, etc.
To sum it up, your microbiome matters and therefore, so does the quality of your probiotic. Seed’s Daily Synbiotic is a product I truly believe in and I most definitely wouldn’t be dedicating an entire blog post to it if this wasn’t the case.
I encourage you to make a commitment to your health and try out Seed’s Daily Synbiotic for yourself! Get 15% off your first month’s supply by using code nikkiyeltonrd at checkout.
And if you want to test your unique gut bacteria to find out the exact probiotic and supplement routine I would recommend for you unique chemistry and health goals, apply to work with me, here!
Let me know if you’ve tried Seed for yourself and how you like it in the comments below!
"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."
-Nikki Yelton, RD
If you are ready to stop wasting precious time, get off the never-ending hamster wheel, and finally surrender trying to figure things out on your own—this is your moment.
You don’t have to settle for just getting by and hoping tomorrow is a better day. We both know you are a woman who deserves better and are made for so. much. more.