Can probiotics solve all your health concerns? The truth is, probiotics are one of the most complex natural supplements because each probiotic varies greatly from one another. It’s not as simple as picking a probiotic that your best friend recommended because it worked perfectly for them. When it comes to probiotics, choosing the best one depends on your unique symptoms. Probiotics, or “good bacteria”, are living species that live naturally in our digestive tract. Each bacteria has a different effect on your body, so we need a good balance of various species to have a healthy gut.
When your gut bacteria become unbalanced, you may experience symptoms such as
an upset stomach, weight changes, difficulty sleeping, food intolerances, diarrhea, or constipation. When this occurs, you may need to supply your body with a healthy dose of good bacteria.
You may need to take a probiotic if you find yourself in the following conditions
After you take a round of antibiotics
Antibiotics are prescription drugs that wipe out the bacteria in your gut, good or bad. Because they kill the good bacteria, you may notice an increase in digestive symptoms after taking a round of antibiotics. The most common symptom is antibiotic-associated diarrhea. The good news is that you can preserve your gut bacteria for whole body health by taking a probiotic along with your antibiotics, and for a short period afterward.
By taking probiotics along with antibiotics, you prevent healthy gut microbes from being lost, while mitigating antibiotics' side effects. There are many high-dose probiotic formulas created specifically to replenish gut bacteria. Make sure to take them at least 3 hours before or after antibiotics, so that they have the best chance of surviving.
Best choice: Genestra HMF Antibiotic Care 14 caps
To combat Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Many people can agree that UTIs are one of the most uncomfortable infections to have. When unfavorable bacteria grow in the urinary tract, the infection may result in symptoms like a persistent urge to urinate, a burning sensation when urinating, passing frequent but small amounts of urine, or cloudy urine. When left untreated, UTIs can progress to a more severe kidney infection.
UTIs are conventionally treated with antibiotics, though some may want to avoid frequent use by choosing an alternative instead. Probiotics can also be used in conjunction with an antibiotic, to ensure optimal results. A probiotic called Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been shown to be effective in preventing and fighting UTIs. This bacteria can fight pathogens in the vaginal and urinary tract by preventing them from sticking to the track and multiplying.
Best choice: Genuine Health Probiotic Gut Health Women’s UTI 30 capsules
When you have reoccurring yeast infections
Yeast infections are another extremely unpleasant infection. They occur when there is an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida living in the vaginal tract. Common symptoms include itchiness and discharge that resembles a cottage cheese-like texture. If yeast infections are reoccurring frequently, it may be a sign that your vaginal flora is imbalanced.
A healthy vaginal microbiota should have varying quantities of different Lactobacillus bacteria. They work together to fight pathogens that may grow in the vaginal tract. A probiotic formula containing high doses of many Lactobacillus species can help prevent and fight yeast infections. If you are currently fighting the infection, using a probiotic suppository can distribute good bacteria to the vaginal tract faster.
Best choice: NFH Flora SAP 10 capsules, Renew Life Ultimate Flora VS for Women Probiotic 50 Billion 60 Veggie Caps
Are probiotics safe?
Although probiotics can improve many unpleasant symptoms, they can sometimes cause more harm than good. Before taking any probiotics, make sure to consult with your healthcare practitioner so they can help you choose the best option.
Grace Tien is a women’s health holistic nutritionist. She helps her clients optimize their nutrition habits so that they can get rid of afternoon slumps and live each day full of energy. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.
Stress amid the impact of the pandemic two years on has left a lot of people feeling disconnected from family and friends, along with having to adapt to new modes of ‘normal.’ This is, in addition to already ever-present daily stressors people must contend with – work, schooling, family life, relationships, finances…
Anything that perhaps felt difficult or strained before is now even more so.
Making changes for the better health-wise, amid everything going on in the world, was not a priority for many. Many fell back into bad habits, unhealthy patterns, or perhaps neglected to focus more on themselves. While things may currently be in a state of flux with the increasing case numbers of Omnicron (locally and globally), 2022 still promises the hope of another year to start anew and revitalize healthier habits that can be attainable (and maintainable).
New Year resolutions are always going to be personal and specific to an individual and about actualizing change that they feel they need to realize in their own life. This could mean weight loss (or gain), changing dietary habits, quitting smoking or drinking, re-designing their home environment and living space, or taking control of their own health and wellness.
That being said, highly personal New Year resolutions and goals can always be supported and encouraged by recognizing that those goals are, in fact, accomplishable.
That can mean reading about the success of others through blogs, social media, and peers – and it can mean knowing how best to support your own journey through supplements, vitamins, nutrition, and holistic approaches.
Many are looking for a starting point or a ‘plan’ to get a more concrete sense of how to actually achieve what they set their mind to.
A huge part of this is ensuring that you support your needs – if your goal in 2022 is to have a healthier year, then a priority is knowing how best to support your health. Supplements and vitamins can play a vital role in this regard to assist pre-existing dietary changes and exercise.
Is your goal weight loss? Putting on muscle? Sticking to your workout plan?
In addition to finding a workout routine that best works for you and your goals, supplements can provide assistance to reduce appetite cravings, ensure proper carbohydrate metabolism, and boost workout performances.
B-Vitamins, particularly Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), B3 (Niacin), and B12 (cobalamin) can play an important role in helping to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fat.
When there are pre-existing nutrient deficiencies, it can be more difficult to properly utilize or absorb nutrients from food, maintain the energy needed to sustain high-intensity workouts, or to effectively lose weight.
A good B-Vitamin multi or individual supplement can assist the body when transitioning over to new dietary changes.
They also ensure you maintain adequate energy levels throughout the day, as B12 deficiency is common among those who feel ‘low-energy,’ ‘tired,’ or ‘lethargic’ – especially after eating larger meals or completing daily tasks.
Magnesium is another absolutely essential supplement for those who feel constantly ‘low-energy’ or unable to actively strive towards their goals – critical for the proper, healthy functioning of nerves, muscles, and cells.
While magnesium is not directly correlated with weight loss, it will ensure proper muscle function and improve sleep quality to support all your workout goals and daily activity for those looking to put on muscle and lose weight or gain mass.
Specific “weight loss” supplements like Green Tea Extract, Caffeine, and Garcinia Cambogia can support energy expenditure and the body’s metabolism to help aid weight loss faster – dozens of clinical trials seem to support a reduction in body weight when used in addition to dietary changes and exercise compared to those alone.
Probiotics are a continuing area of research and study surrounding the ‘microbiome,’ as we begin to understand more about the role of digestive health and the ‘gut’ on overall well-being, immunity, and metabolism.
Probiotics are live microorganisms (bacteria) that can benefit both the gut and overall health – these can either be found in supplemental form, or in fermented food like kimchi and sauerkraut.
Your gut also feeds off the fiber in plant-based food (leafy greens, seeds, legumes) to nourish the beneficial strains of bacteria present in the digestive system.
There are countless plant-based supplements that provide plenty of dietary fiber and act as a pre-biotic for those looking to up their intake. Supplements like Inulin, Psyllium Husk, or Guar Gum can feed beneficial bacteria in the gut naturally, the same way high-fiber healthy foods like beans, seeds, nuts, and vegetables can. Hence the name ‘pre-biotic.’
These can help to regulate appetite so ...
Who doesn’t love a Vegan Cheese Board? Perfect for any gathering of family or friends living life healthy, the vegan cheese board is the go to spread when entertaining vegetarian, vegan and food loving friends alike! The best part of the vegan cheese board? Accoutrements!You can’t have a proper spread without crackers, nuts, jams or honey!
Our favourite part of creating a Vegan Cheese Board? Mixing and matching! With so many recipes available for a variety of vegan cheeses as well as vegan cheese available at your local Healthy Planet, you can lay out a display worthy of any true cheese connaisseurs respect. Check out one of our very own recipes that combine two of our favourites, Cashews and Macadamia Nuts. Follow our steps and in no time you will be creating your very own vegan cheese!
1 ¾ raw cashews
1 cup raw macadamia nuts
1 ½ cups of water
2 tablespoons pink salt
½ teaspoon probiotic
Separating the 2 nuts, cover and soak them overnight. This will activate the nuts while also softening them allowing for a smoother blend. The following day, drain and rinse both nuts transfering to a blender. Add your water, salt and blend until you reach a smooth texture. After reaching the desired texture, transfer the cheese into a 1-quart glass jar and add the probiotic. Stir until it is stirred in completely.
Dehydrate for 24 hours at 85F - 90F. After 24 hours check for desired texture. You should have a “rind” or a tougher outer skin, much like the skin of a Brie, the inside will be creamy and delicious! This “rind” will give you a very similar feel to a dairy cheese without the dairy!
Add your cheese into molds for shape and freeze for 1 to 2 hours. This process will allow the cheese to set into the shape you desired for display. Remove the cheese from the molds directly onto the dehydrator sheets dehydrating at 118F for 12 hours. Turn your cheese over and continue the dehydrating process for an additional 24 hours.
Gather your friends and family to spread some love….and vegan cheese! #livelifehealthy
Enjoy a Perfect Summer with Perfect Probiotics
Whether summer adventures involve cliff-diving or gingerly wading into a swimming pool as warm as bathwater, Canadians take advantage of the season to gather with friends, travel to new or familiar places, and eat. Always, we eat. But sometimes our summer food and drink escapades can leave our digestive tracts feeling a little off-kilter. No matter if you are globe-trotting this summer or flip-flopping to the backyard for a barbecue, you can preserve your digestive balance with supplemental probiotics.
Probiotics to the rescue
Probiotics are naturally-occurring bacteria that live in the digestive tract and beyond. For humans, the primary bacteria to support our health are the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families. These are known as symbiotic bacteria because we give them food and shelter and they provide us with various health benefits in return. In terms of digestion, probiotics help us directly by metabolizing fibers (prebiotics) that we are not able to digest and assimilate ourselves. Through metabolism of prebiotics, probiotics create the B vitamins folate, riboflavin and thiamine, as well as short-chain fatty acids that are critical to our well-being.
After digesting the milk sugar lactose, probiotics produce lactase, which, in a circular fashion, is the enzyme we need to digest lactose. This bit of news is particularly welcome for the 60% of us who have a reduced ability to digest lactose. In fact, in a 2019 review of 15 randomized double-blind studies, researchers concluded that supplemental probiotic bacteria can be helpful to alleviate the clinical symptoms of lactose intolerance. In other words, people with lactose intolerance may still want to turn down the summer ice-cream cone, but regular use of probiotics may lead to reduced suffering if there is undisclosed dairy in the dip at the family reunion.
Research also shows that probiotics help heal the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, which is important if a food you eat causes digestive upset. Along with Lactobacillus species casei and paracasei, probiotic Bifidobacterium bifidum may protect against the food pathogen that came to your beach-side picnic. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is known to ameliorate diarrhea.
Home and away
Probiotics also make summer travel safer, whether you are camping or cruising. Derived from the skin of the lychee fruit, probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii can help alleviateboth viral and bacterial diarrhea, which makes it an important addition to your go-bag. For added protection, choose a travel probiotic that combines Saccharomyces boulardii with Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria.
Don’t leave summer memories to chance
Choose a probiotic that contains the species you need to support and protect digestive tract health. Progressive’s Perfect Probiotics has targeted formulas designed to meet the needs of everyone in your family and is the world’s first TRU-ID® certified probiotic line. TRU-ID® is an independent certification program that verifies the DNA of each species in every batch. This means that you can always be confident that formula in the bottle matches the label. Summer is too short to leave anything to chance!
McFarland, L. V. (2007). Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveler’s diarrhea. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, 5(2), 97–105.
Oak, S.J., & Jha, R. (2019) The effects of probiotics in lactose intolerance: A systematic review. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 59:11, 1675-1683, DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2018.1425977
Woo, J., & Ahn, J. (2013). Probiotic‐mediated competition, exclusion and displacement in biofilm formation by food‐borne pathogens. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 56(4), 307-313. doi:10.1111/lam.12051
Mother’s Day is quickly approaching! This is the perfect opportunity to treat all the Mama's in your life and even yourself to a few sweet gifts to celebrate this beautiful day. Healthy Planet is currently running an INCREDIBLE Mother's Day Sale, full of pampering and practical products for all Mothers!
I have narrowed down my top 4 favourite products that not only do I use, but would make the perfect Health & Wellness gifts for the Mama's in your life this Mother’s Day!
Organika Collagen – Because healthy skin is always on trend. Collagen has many beautiful benefits that does our body so good - promotes skin health, boost muscle mass, improve ingestive health, burns fat, alleviate joint pains, promotes heart health, and improves cognitive health. Our bodies naturally produce collagen, however our ability to produce it decreases less and less as we age. This is why it is so important to either incorporate foods that contain collagen in our diet or supplement it with a product like, Organika Collagen. Because let’s be real, who doesn’t want beautiful skin?
Skin Essence Facial in a Jar – Spoil the Mama's in your life with this multipurpose product. You can either use this as an exfoliator to scrub away dead skin or leave it on as a mask so that the product can absorb all the oils and impurities out of your skin. Either way, this product will leave your skin super soft, supple, nourished and will brighten your overall complexion!
Everyone Hand Soap Coconut Lavender – This is the best naturally smelling hand soap on the market. I really love that it is kind to our earth, cruelty free, gluten free, does not contain synthetic fragrance, and really does a wonderful job at cleansing and moisturizing the skin.
Andalou Naturals Body Lotion Lavender Thyme – You will not catch me without some sort of hand lotion in my diaper bag. With all the diaper changing and constantly washing my hands to avoid catching my toddler’s germs, it strips away my natural oils leaving my skin super dry and cracked. I love this hand lotion not only does it DELICIOUS but it also does a fab job at moisturizing and keeping the skin moisturized for a long period of time. If Lavender Thyme isn’t your jam, they also have a large selection of other scents as well!
Written by Healthy Planet Ambassador @lifestylebycp. Follow Cherrie as she lives her best life spreading her vision of the Health and Wellness lifestyle with the help of Healthy Planet!
Every day is Earth Day at Healthy Planet! As we continue to work on improving ways to help the planet Live Life Healthy, We are fortunate enough to work alongside like minded ambassadors of Health and Wellness! Here are some of their products that not only help them live their best life, they are Earth friendly as well!
karmic.kara"I think my favourite Earth friendly product is Iron Vegan Protein Powder because vegan products help the animals, the environment and the planet! So I love that I can still get tons of protein while conserving/helping in those areas! :)"
keto.cute_eh"I’m a huge fan of is The Green Beaver company. I have been using their make up remover for almost a year and it’s amazing.I love that it’s all organic, all-natural, sensitive on my skin, and not tested on animals!"
lifestylebycp "Eco Lunch Box! I love that is so durable, toxin free and of course reusable. Stores all my goodies without the use of plastic contains and bags. With this product in your household, there’s no excuses whatsoever to have any plastic containers period!"
the.nourish.company"My favourite is My Progressive Harmonized Vegan Protein The fact that eating plant-based is better for the environment and for your health! Progressive is made with quality ingredients and is also dairy and gluten free! I LOVE IT!"
kellymnutrition"I’d have to say Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap for a few reasons. It’s organic and free of toxins making it healthier for the environment and you. Plus it’s super versatile and can be used for anything, from personal care to cleaning the house. Its a must-have for anyone looking to reduce their exposure to chemicals and keep their house a little greener."
Melissliliana "My favourite Earth Friendly product is Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap! It’s an 18-in-1 so it replaces so many of my products and reduces waste. My favourite is the peppermint and I love to use it as a body wash and for household cleaning, it does it all! Dr. Bronner’s is made with 100% vegetable oils, is totally biodegradable and is harvested sustainably, which makes it my top pick for planet earth!"
Dr. Perlmutter Formulated Complete Digestive Program
Probiotics, enzymes and prebiotic fiber work synergistically to support extraordinary health.†
It’s time to take care of our microbiome. It’s up to us to support and nourish it through what we eat, what we expose ourselves to in our environment and the kind of lifestyle we lead.
Dr. Perlmutter advocates honoring this system of health through understanding and avoiding the three biggest forces that work against the health of the gut’s good bugs.
Force #1: Exposure to substances that kill or otherwise adversely change the composition of the bacterial colonies. These include toxic chemicals used in conventional agriculture, household cleaners and in food (e.g., sugar, gluten), and even in water (e.g., chlorine and fluoride)
Force #2: Poor nutritional support for healthy, diverse tribes of bacteria (eg. prebiotic fiber)
Force #3: Stress
Watch the Video
By David Perlmutter, M.D.
You’ve heard of the term probiotics and likely prebiotics as well, but now we are hearing about what are called, “psychobiotics.” These have been defined as “a live organism that, when ingested in adequate amounts, produces a health benefit in patients suffering from psychiatric illness”.
That’s a pretty impressive new term, and claim for that matter. But the reason that scientists have developed this terminology is because new research clearly demonstrates that certain probiotic organisms have a dramatic effect in terms of regulating mood.
In recent double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trials, it has been demonstrated that people taking a combination of two fairly common probiotic bacteria, including lactobacillus helveticus and bifidobacterium longum, had a dramatic reduction in their level of psychological stress as compared to people given a placebo. In addition, researchers demonstrated that the level of cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone”, was much lower in those receiving these probiotics as opposed to those who received placebo.
We know that certain probiotic bacteria have an effect on the level of various neurotransmitters that can affect mood, like serotonin and dopamine. In addition, inflammation is a cornerstone of depression, and current research clearly identifies the stability of the bowel lining as a regulator of inflammation throughout the body. This stability is regulated to a significant degree by the level of good bacteria living within the intestines.
These are just two proposed mechanisms whereby specific probiotic bacteria can affect mood.
That said, well beyond just the idea of intervening with probiotic supplements as an attempt to help with mood, an important take-home message from this research should be that we should do everything we can to preserve and protect our gut bacteria today by reassessing our food and medication choices, as well as various other lifestyle factors like sleep, stress and exercise. It makes sense that if we compromise the levels of these and other probiotic bacterial species within us, it may well pave the way for debilitating mood disorders.
By Genuine Health
Thousands of years ago, it was written on the side of a cave, that “humidity is the kiss of death for the probiotic.”
Actually it wasn’t. But it might as well have been. By nature of them being living organisms, probiotics are sensitive to heat and humidity and because of the way that most are treated and packaged, they can lose potency very quickly.
Bottles have become the most common way to package probiotics. If you look at the refrigerator shelves of probiotics at your local health food store, you’ll notice that virtually all available options are housed in bottles. Bottles are great for vitamins and other types of capsules, but they can be the kiss of death for containing living things – especially probiotics.
It’s not possible to encapsulate bacteria that is living and keep it living – that’s why manufacturers treat the bacteria contained in probiotics so the strains become dormant. When you swallow a probiotic capsule, the dormant bacteria get activated by the humidity in your digestive tract. Once activated in the gut, they can realize their destiny and do the good work of protecting your immunity, supporting your digestion, and providing many other benefits.
So it would make sense that each time you open your bottle of probiotics to grab one, you are exposing all of the other probiotics in the bottle to humidity, and are compromising their stability. Sure, opening a bottle of probiotics won’t activate them all at once, but a little bit of humidity each day can degrade the viability of your probiotics and make them less effective over time. Why spend your hard-earned money on a product that may not even be effective?
Genuine Health’s NEW advanced gut health probiotic has been thoughtfully designed to deliver more bacteria to your digestive tract. Instead of going with a bottle, we chose blister packs to build a Fort Knox around each capsule and ensure beyond any doubt that humidity comes nowhere near it.
But before each advanced gut health probiotic capsule is put into its own blister pack, it is treated with the utmost care to ensure that only the STRONGEST, FITTEST and most TENACIOUS bacteria are used – and are less sensitive to humid conditions in the first place:
Selection of the fittest living probiotics – carefully separated from non-living microbes
Housed in a unique, vegan, plastic-free, delayed-release capsule that releases probiotics 45 minutes later than standard capsules – so they bypass stomach acid and reach the gut where they thrive
Delayed-release encapsulation process delivers up to 10X more viable bacteria to your gut
Packaged in an environmentally-friendly blister pack
All this means that you get stronger and more viable bacteria, encapsulated in a way that delivers MORE viable strains to your gut. A much better probiotic investment, if you ask us.
Has your probiotic been handled in such a way to ensure that only the fittest living organisms are used? Is it housed in a standard issue bottle, or did the manufacturer go above and beyond with a blister pack? Ask these questions so you choose the most potent and efficacious probiotic. Your gut (and the rest of your body) will thank you.
Unless you live under a rock, you have likely heard about probiotics. They are popping up everywhere, and for good reason. Research shows that friendly bacteria play a key role in the digestive system by improving gastrointestinal functions, enhancing immunity, helping to regulate hormone balance, protecting us from food-borne illnesses such as food poisoning, controlling overgrowth of bad bacteria and fungus, protecting us from developing allergies, assisting in vitamin production & nutrient absorption. Probiotics are like an army in your gut that works hard to protect your health.
In fact, inside each of us is about 100 trillion bacteria, most of which reside in the gut. This is 10 TIMES the number of cells in our body! More and more research is showing the link between a healthy gut, strong immunity and even mental health.
Since the healthy flora in our gut is destroyed by many factors such as stress, diet, antibiotics, birth control pills and other medications, it is important to supplement. But is yogurt enough? You would need to consume dozens of canisters of yogurt daily to obtain the amount of beneficial probiotics in a single high-potency probiotic supplement.
There are so many probiotics available today, so what should you look for in an effective probiotic?
5 Important Things to Look for in an Effective Probiotic
1. CULTURE COUNT
This refers to the total amount of bacteria per dose and can vary widely from product to product. For general health or to treat minor digestive issues, most people would benefit from taking a probiotic with 50 billion bacteria per capsule. It sounds like a lot, but if you consider that there are about 100 TRILLION bacteria in our bodies, it is merely a drop in the bucket! If you are treating a health condition or are using antibiotics, you may benefit from a probiotic with 80 to 100 billion bacteria per capsule.
2. NUMBER AND TYPE OF STRAINS
Because we all have a different microbial make up in our body, it is important to choose a probiotic supplement with multiple strains. Your probiotic supplement should include many different strains of bacteria including both bifidobacterium (large intestine) and lactobacilli (small intestine). It is also important to look for a formula that delivers both resident (human strain) and transient bacteria. Transient bacteria do not populate the gut, however exert a positive benefit (such as protecting against harmful bacteria and reducing inflammation) while travelling through the digestive tract.
3. TARGETED FORMULAS
Most people would benefit from a high potency, multiple strain formula. If needed, you can also choose formulas that are specific to certain areas of concern such as colon health or vaginal support. While you should choose a child-specific formula for kids, adults do not need age-specific formulas. Instead, if you are an older adult, choose a multi-strain formula with at least 30 billon bifidobacterium. After the age of 50, the levels of probiotics (specifically bifidobacterium) begin to decline in number so probiotics are an important supplement to take daily.
4. DELIVERY SYSTEM
Most bacteria cannot survive the high acid environment of the stomach. For this reason, make sure that the probiotic you are buying has a delivery system such as an enteric coating. This helps to protect the probiotics from harsh stomach acid ensuring safe delivery to the intestines where they are needed and utilized by the body.
5. GUARANTEED POTENCY
Always ensure that the product packaging states that the potency is guaranteed at expiry, not at the date of manufacture. Guaranteeing potency at expiry means that you are getting what you paid for, and most importantly, the health benefits of the probiotic itself.