What Are Probiotic Multivitamins, and What Should You Look For?
There have been several health "crazes" that have swept modern society and changed the way we go about addressing health concerns. Some crazes have been baseless and irrelevant, whereas others have some merit when used properly. While most new developments cannot replace medical care for serious health problems, they can help reinforce the body's natural protections.
Many of the 21st-century sensations fell out of favor due to new research proving they were either ineffective or counterintuitive for the issues they allegedly addressed. As a result of these fluctuations, certain tools that have merit are viewed as a hoax by skeptics. This skepticism is not entirely unwarranted, but it can prevent them from taking advantage of resources that could improve their health.
One product that has a significant following despite the skepticism is probiotics, which have become very popular in recent years. Probiotics are available in almost every store and are combined with seemingly mundane products.
Many probiotics are sold as food or beverages, but another common medium has become a favorite of probiotic enthusiasts. Probiotic multivitamins are among health stores' most commonly sold products and have changed how people use probiotics. While individuals with a history of probiotic use were quick to adopt probiotic multivitamins, those new to probiotics might be unsure about what they are. More importantly, they might not know what to look for in a probiotic.
What Are Probiotic Multivitamins?
The answer to this question is technically a two-parter since we have to address 2 separate concepts and how they mesh. The most important thing is understanding what a probiotic is since that is the whole point of the aforementioned multivitamins. Probiotics are not a typical supplement since they have one characteristic that distinguishes them from their traditional rivals.
Probiotics are living organisms that naturally occur in most living creatures and their byproducts. Specifically, probiotics are bacterial microorganisms that benefit living creatures rather than harm them. Our initial instinct is to avoid bacteria, which are commonly associated with illnesses and infections. This instinct is not inherently wrong since many bacteria are responsible for unpleasant, uncomfortable infections that jeopardize our health. Probiotic organisms are not in the same category and are already found in our bodies but can be reinforced with probiotic supplements.
Probiotic organisms were initially discovered by a Bulgarian microbiologist named Stamen Grigorov, who first identified a specific strain living in yogurt in 1905. While Grigorov was responsible for identifying the first recognizable probiotic organism, the modern theory surrounding the organisms was created by a Russian zoologist and immunologist named Ilya Mechnikov.
Mechnikov discovered that Bulgarian peasants eating large quantities of yogurt had longer lifespans despite their lower caste. As a result, Mechnikov postulated a hypothesis that probiotic organisms could alter the state of our gastrointestinal system and promote a healthier body by enhancing our natural gastrointestinal health. Mechnikov's hypothesis laid the foundation for future probiotic research and allowed researchers to identify other organisms.
As of the 21st century, we have identified over 500 probiotic species with different traits and effects on the body. They also thrive in several environments, with some of the most notable probiotic organisms living in dairy products. Most probiotic organisms can be refined into different supplements, including a multivitamin, which brings us to the next point. A multivitamin is a supplement designed to provide vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to the person who consumes them.
Most of us have had multivitamins, especially since our parents likely used them to help us get the necessary nutrients as we grew. The creation of multivitamins began in 1912 when scientists began trying to resolve the surge of illnesses in children who were developing vitamin deficiencies.
Their research eventually paid off in 1916 when Mastin's Yeast Vitamon Tablets were created and provided users with iron, calcium, Nux vomica, vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C. Initially, the product was not well-received, with an article in 1922 denouncing them as misleading and ineffective.
However, a medical journal later countered these claims and stated that multivitamins had merit and could reinforce children's health worldwide. As of 2023, multivitamins remain a common household staple parents give their children to help them get the vitamins and nutrients they need to develop healthily.
Probiotic multivitamins are fairly self-explanatory and are simply multivitamins that have probiotic organisms in them. As a result, people believe acquiring a reliable probiotic multivitamin is as easy as grabbing the first one off the shelf. Unfortunately, it is a little more complicated than that since there are certain details you need to look for in a probiotic supplement, including multivitamins.
What to Look For in a Probiotic Multivitamin
We have discovered over 500 known probiotic organisms that can improve our health when used properly, and most are marketed for their distinct effects. Despite the number of probiotic organisms, certain species are considered more beneficial than others. Most probiotic supplements are marketed with a specific strain in mind, but there are certain strains you should actively look for, among other details.
Otherwise, you might end up purchasing or consuming a probiotic multivitamin that is less effective than you need. The first thing to look for is the probiotic count, which should be on the bottle's label. You might expect to see a number like 10 or 20, but there are usually a few extra zeroes when probiotics are involved. Ideally, you want a multivitamin that has at least 5 different strains and 10,000,000,000 unique organisms. If the count is too low, your body might not get enough to distribute them throughout your gastrointestinal system.
While a high probiotic count is important to the success of such multivitamins, other details are equally important. For example, a high probiotic count will be meaningless unless the multivitamin contains some of the most effective species. With over 500 different probiotic organisms, determining which ones are the best might seem impossible.
Fortunately, modern research has identified the most effective species for enhancing human health, and the species should be listed in the ingredients section of the multivitamin container. The probiotics you should actively look for include:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus: L. acidophilus is one of the probiotics known for balancing bacterial populations in the stomach.
- Lactobacillus casei/paracasei: L. casei and paracasei share similar traits that help manage inflammatory bowel syndrome.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus: L. rhamnosus is one of the probiotics that are naturally found in our gastrointestinal system but can be enhanced by adding more via supplementation.
Probiotic organisms from the Lactobacillus genus are among the most effective and are commonly used in probiotic supplements. Their commonality is because they offer some of the best benefits probiotics can provide, so a supplement that lacks these 3 specific strains is generally considered lesser. That said, you should also look for supplements that contain probiotics from the Bifidobacterium genus. While ensuring these organisms are present in the multivitamin is important, sometimes the biggest concern is not what is there but what is absent.
Probiotic multivitamins differ from normal vitamins in that they focus on delivering different probiotic organisms to the body. A traditional multivitamin is designed to provide multiple vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. As a result, some people believe a probiotic multivitamin should also provide those vitamins and minerals alongside the probiotics.
The problem is that overloading a probiotic supplement with additional nutrients can compromise effectiveness. Probiotic organisms are surprisingly sensitive and can lose potency when combined with certain vitamins. Even taking a probiotic supplement alongside a normal multivitamin can diminish the effects of one or both products.
Any probiotic multivitamin should not contain any nutrients you would find in a traditional multivitamin. Some companies try to double up by adding them to the probiotics and marketing them as an all-in-one product. Unfortunately, these supplements are less effective than taking a probiotic and traditional multivitamin separately at different points in the day.
Multivitamins are typically taken first thing in the morning to maximize their impact, but if you need the effects a probiotic can offer, it might be worth taking your normal multivitamin later in the day to give the probiotic multivitamin time to work.
Once you know what to look for in a probiotic multivitamin, you are halfway through taking advantage of what the organisms can do for your health. Unfortunately, you must consider a few additional details to avoid reducing their efficacy or misusing them.
Know What You Are Using Them For
One of the most important details of using a probiotic multivitamin is understanding what you use it for. Taking a supplement or medication for the wrong reasons can exacerbate or introduce new problems. Fortunately, probiotics are fairly straightforward and have earned their reputation for enhancing specific aspects of human health.
One of the main reasons people take probiotics is because there is an imbalance of gut bacteria that inhabit our gastrointestinal system. These bacteria are responsible for keeping our gastrointestinal tract healthy and stable, preventing certain issues that arise when an imbalance arises. An imbalance means the number of hostile bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract outnumbers the good bacteria that are supposed to be there. This can cause digestive issues, obesity, and other physical and mental issues if you do not correct the issue.
Taking probiotic supplements is analogous to reinforcing a defensive line where your troops are outnumbered and losing ground to hostile forces. A probiotic supplement introduces fresh fighters to the fray to push the enemy back while the original group recovers. Restoring balance to the bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract prevents several unpleasant symptoms from manifesting, but other benefits are equally important. Probiotic supplementation reduces the risk of infection by Clostridioides difficile, a bacterium that causes infections in the colon. A C. difficile infection causes diarrhea and other unpleasant symptoms that can drastically reduce your quality of life.
Modern research has shown that probiotics can reduce the rate of C. difficile infections by 60%, making it less likely that such an infection can harm you. Additionally, a review of 35 individual studies discovered that probiotic organisms reduce the duration of diarrhea by an average of 25 hours, meaning you will not have to endure it as long as you normally would.
The best probiotic strains for handling diarrhea appear to be L. rhamnosus, L. casei, and Saccharomyces boulardii. You should recognize the first 2 from the previous section, reinforcing their status as some of the main probiotic strains to look for in your multivitamin.
Finally, probiotics can help you manage your appearance and health simultaneously by helping you lose weight. Probiotic organisms interact with the body in several ways to reduce weight, one of which is by preventing fat absorption in the intestine. A study determined that abundant Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains of probiotic organisms increased the populations of beneficial microbes that promote weight loss.
More studies are needed, but probiotics appear to help us manage several issues concerning health and appearance. Unfortunately, all this information leaves the biggest challenge of probiotic supplementation: finding a reliable source.
Finding the Right Blend
Probiotic supplementation is becoming more common, whereas multivitamins have existed for over a century. Combining the 2 was a recent development that has enabled modern citizens to take advantage of what probiotics offer. While learning the necessary information to use them might be a pain, it ultimately helps ensure you can use probiotics safely. Unfortunately, probiotic multivitamins can be difficult to come by reliably, especially since there is significant demand for them. The best course of action is to find a reliable vendor who focuses on delivering a natural probiotic supplement without adding unnecessary vitamins that might dilute their effect.
We at Teami know it can be frustrating going to the store for something specific only to discover it is completely sold out. Fortunately, our entire catalog is available online, so you do not have to worry about going to the store for nothing. We offer various natural supplements, including probiotics, to enhance your health and appearance. Our main product is our Gut Love Probiotic + Prebiotic Powder, which offers all of the strains mentioned before and then some. We encourage you to visit our website and assess it directly to see if it is the supplement for you. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
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