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BEST PROBIOTICS FOR GUT HEALTH

Updated: Apr 19

As a functional medicine Dr, wellness consultant and gut health specialist I get asked lots of questions about supplements.



What are the best supplements to take, what supplements do I take daily, what is the best multivitamin to take, what is the best probiotic to take and so on.

It is always difficult to give a clear answer to all the above questions, as they depend on multiple factors, and change over time.

However, having taken a huge variety of supplements for about 30 years, I can say with confidence there is one probiotic supplement that stands head and shoulders above the rest.

I remember vividly the first time I took it-Within a few hours I developed a sense of calm and clarity.

It was followed by a gentle surge of energy, and I could feel the blood flowing through my veins.

In this blog we will look at: What are probiotics, what are prebiotics, what are postbiotics, how probiotic supplements are made, how probiotics work in the body, the health benefits of probiotics, and the best probiotic for gut health.

What are Probiotics?

Although probiotics have been a buzz word in the last few years, their use spans hundreds of years.

In fact, Elie Metchnikoff, a Russian scientist and Nobel Prize winner in Physiology documented the benefits of drinking kefir in 1907 is his book The prolongation of life.

So, what are probiotics?

Probiotics are foods or supplements that contain live microbes that are beneficial for health.

These microbes are either bacteria, also called good bacteria or beneficial strains of yeast.

Food sources of probiotics are usually fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and tempeh to name a few.

The other source of probiotics are probiotic supplements, which are more commonly known.

As the name suggests, probiotic supplements are beneficial live bacteria or yeasts.

They are more commonly in pill form (capsule), or less commonly as a liquid or soap.

We will discuss these in a little more detail later.

To fully understand probiotics, we need to explain what prebiotics are.


What are Prebiotics?

The food sources of probiotics we mentioned above like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and tempeh are called prebiotics.

In some cases, these foods are fermented by naturally occurring bacteria in the food. An example of this is kimchi, where naturally occurring lactic acid bacteria ferment Napa cabbage leaves.

In other cases, the natural food source is fermented by a colony of bacteria or yeast.

This is the case with miso, a traditional Japanese seasoning paste made from fermented soybeans with a fungus, Aspergillus Oryzae (Koji) cultivated in soybeans, rice or barley.

Simply put, prebiotics can be likened to the fuel or fertilizer for probiotics.

You can also find prebiotics as a supplement.

What are Postbiotics?

The beauty of fermented foods is that they also contain postbiotics.

What is the meaning of postbiotics?

Postbiotics are simply beneficial bioactive compounds produced by the probiotic bacteria or yeast as they ferment the prebiotic substrate or food.

A common example of postbiotics are short chain fatty acids (SCFFA) like butyrate.

SCFFAs are fuel for your gut cells and also beneficial for nerve, immune and heart health.


How are Probiotics Manufactured?

The majority of probiotics on the market are made by growing and fermenting a select group of beneficial microbes on a controlled medium in a lab.

This process can take from a few days to a few weeks to complete.

Once the probiotic culture is ready, it is separated from the growth medium and active compounds.

The remaining probiotic bacteria are then either freeze-dried or sprayed to maintain stability.

Finally, the end product is then encapsulated and bottled.

There are usually two bits of information on probiotic bottles:

The strains of bacteria and species used and the number of colony forming units (CFUs) it contains.

The types of bacterial strains, species and combinations used are vital, as different strains have different health benefits.

Two common bacterial strains you might have seen include Lactobacillus which has hundreds of species and Bifidobacterium with over 30 species described to date.

Typical number of colony forming units (CFUs) of probiotics range from 1 billion to 10 billion.

Although some manufacturers use high colony forming units (CFUs) as a selling point, this does not necessarily transcribe to better health benefits in practice.




How do Probiotics work?

As we previously mentioned, probiotics are microbes (good bacteria or yeasts) that are beneficial for our health.

They essentially work by optimising your microbiome, which is the community of microbes which live in and outside the body at any given time.

These microbes live in the mouth, on the skin, in the gut and vagina and include bacteria, fungi, protozoa and even viruses.

Interestingly, microbiome is estimated to be about 40 trillion-More than the number of human cells!

Everything being equal, our microbiome exists in a state of balance-A balance between the good microbes and the bad microbes.

When we consume probiotics, (good bacteria or yeasts) they start growing and populate our guts.

In so doing, they outnumber the potentially bad microbes (bad bacteria or yeasts) which produce toxins, potentially leading to ill health.

This is vitally important because our good gut bacteria and consequently our microbiome is constantly under assault by processed foods we consume, chronic stress, allergens, toxins and chronic infections.

Moreover, probiotic bacteria also secrete beneficial bioactive compounds, like vitamins, hormones, and short chain fatty acids, to name a few.

A good quality probiotic should ideally be resistant to stomach acid as well as bile in order to reach the large intestine intact.

Some research suggests the probiotic microbes are only transient visitors in gut, and do not colonise the gut per se.

Whatever the case, there is no doubt of their numerous health benefits.


What are the Health Benefits of Probiotics?

If you have read the previous sections, then an understanding of the benefits of probiotics is easy to understand.

By optimising your gut microbiome, the health benefits of probiotics include the following:

Improved digestion, reduced food intolerances, improved brain health, improved mental health, boosted immunity, healthy skin, and reduced vaginal and urine infections to name a few.


What is the Best probiotic for Gut Health?

So, back to the main question:

What is the best probiotic for gut health?

My answer is OM-X by Dr. Ohhira, also called called Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics Original Formula.

OM-X was formulated by renowned Japanese scientist and microbiologist Dr. Ichiroh Ohhira over 30 years ago who dedicated his life to studying lactic acid bacteria. (LAB)

In my opinion, this is the best probiotic ever made.


Benefits of OM-X by Dr. Ohhira

You will feel the effects on your body when you take OM-X.

These effects may include increased energy, relief from gut symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhoea, diminished brain fog, and a boosted immune function to name a few.

These effects are all supported by numerous clinical trials and scientific papers.

There are truly very few supplements like this on the market whose beneficial effects are quickly felt.

Due to its impressive benefits, I included Dr. Ohhira’s OM-X among the list of supplements in my Optimal Health Prescription Program (OHPP).

But why is OM-X so effective? The answer lies in the strains and species of bacteria used and how it is made.

Bacterial Strains in OM-X by Dr. Ohhira

Dr. Ohhira’s OM-X Probiotic uses a proprietary blend of 12 different strains of lactic acid producing bacteria (LAB) isolated from Tempeh, a fermented soy product from Indonesia.

These bacteria include three species of Bifidobacterium, seven species of Lactobacillus, Streptococcus thermophilus, a proprietary strain discovered by Dr. Ohhira.

TH10 has been shown to be six times more effective at breaking down proteins and making nutrients available compared to other probiotic strains discovered.


How OM-X by Dr. Ohhira is Made

A fundamental distinguishing factor between Dr Ohhira’s OM-X and other probiotics on the market is how the bacteria are grown and fermented.

OM-X is grown in fermentation pods as opposed to a laboratory medium like other probiotics.

OM-X uses an eclectic blend of 92 different crops including fruits, vegetables, herbs, mushrooms and seaweeds combined with pure mountain spring water as a prebiotic medium.

Some examples include figs, blueberries, goji berries, prunes, Japanese mugwort, shiitake mushrooms, agaricus mushrooms, wakame, kombu(kelp) to name a few.

These fermented prebiotic foods, which are contained in the probiotic capsule, also feed and support the growth of your friendly gut bacteria.

While the fermentation process for most other probiotics lasts weeks, Dr Ohhira’s OM-X fermentation process lasts 3 years using ancient Japanese fermentation techniques. (5 years for the Fermented Vegetable Extract)



This lengthy ancient fermentation process occurs at natural temperatures through all four seasons enabling the strains of bacteria to flourish.

Interestingly, classical music is often played at some of the Dr. Ohhira plants during the fermentation phase!

As these bacteria grow and proliferate, they produce a diverse range of byproducts or bioactive compounds, known as postbiotics.


The Added Advantage of OM-X by Dr. Ohhira

Another distinguishing factor between OM-X and most other probiotics is that it contains postbiotics.

These postbiotics include vitamins (thiamine, pantothenic acid, biotic and more) minerals (magnesium, zinc phosphorus and more) amino acids, fatty acids, and polyphenols which are beneficial for health.

Most importantly, these postbiotics optimise your gut pH, and in so doing help boost the growth of your own unique good bacteria.

Finally, the probiotic mix is encapsulated containing live bacteria, and not freeze-dried like most probiotics on the market.

In essence, OM-X is a trilogy, made up of prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics. By definition, OM-X is a fermented food-Very unique indeed.


Conclusion

Probiotics are an essential addition to your toolbox if you aim to achieve optimal health.

Probiotics populate your gut with good microbes, thus overcrowding potentially harmful toxin-producing microbes that would otherwise proliferate due to consumption of processed foods, chronic stress, allergens, toxins and chronic infections.

However, not all probiotics are created equal, so choose wisely.

In my opinion, a unique and well-made probiotic that provides all the health benefits you need is Dr. Ohhira’s OM-X.

It is a trilogy, made up of prebiotics, probiotics (live bacteria) and postbiotics.

As I mentioned before, you feel the difference when you take it.

But don’t take my word for it, give it a try and see for yourself.

However, remember a healthy diet and lifestyle, alongside supplementation are of utmost importance to achieve optimal health.

You can find Dr. Ohhira’s OM-X and other Dr Ohhira health and beauty products at www.ohhira.uk

To your health!

Thank you

Dr Leke Asong MD, MRCGP

GP, Functional Medicine Dr, Gut Health Specialist and Wellness Consultant


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