Probiotics has been a buzz word over the past few years. Like anything that promotes health and wellness, marketing gurus catch on to this and work hard to slap the word on products that may or may not bring any benefit to you by consuming or using it.
Just typing the word into a Google search had it followed up by:
So, the buzz is out there and people are curious on how probiotics can help. When you think of the word probiotics what comes to mind? Likely a popular yogurt brand, and perhaps maybe a giggle about them being good for your intestines and staying regular (yeah, I said it). The thing is, after taking some time to learn about probiotics, it turns out they are hugely beneficial to you – if taken correctly – and are about so much more than keeping you on track, so to speak!
I recently had a great discussion over the phone with Isabele Chevalier of Bio-K+, a Canadian company that has been making probiotic formulations (not yogurt) since 1996, long before probiotic was a popular buzz word. Actually, as I shared with Ms. Chevalier, I became familiar with Bio-K+ myself in 2003 when trying (unsuccessfully) to get pregnant for 2 years.
I began seeing a Naturopath and he taught me a lot about what it really means to have a healthy body, to have balance. He explained how if one part of your system is out of balance, it simply will not work the way you want it to. Even right down to your intestines. Actually, 70% of your immune system health starts in your intestines! That’s a pretty significant number and a reason to pay some close attention to what’s going on there.
As part of my health care plan my Naturopath suggested Bio-K+ which, at the time, I purchased from his office since it wasn’t available in local stores. 4 months into my new health care regimen which also included a potent vitamin daily dosage and yoga – I was finally pregnant. I can’t say that Bio-K+ made the ultimate difference in me getting pregnant but it was definitely part of an overall new approach to my health (do away with fertility medications and medical science and instead look to alternative health) and that made all the difference in the world.
When I was approached to try BioK+ now, 8 years later, it sure brought me back to 2003! I was happy to hear that BioK+ can now be found quite easily in local retailers (I’ve seen it at Superstore/Loblaws across Canada) meaning it’s accessible for everyone. Here’s the kicker though – not all probiotic products are created the same and there’s a vast difference in how much live bacteria are in various products – which in turn can make all the difference in their benefit to your health.
So what are probiotics?
According to the World Health Organization, “probiotics are live micro-organisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” That “adequate amounts” phrase is really important. Your intestinal flora contain millions of live bacteria, both good and bad. We need more good than bad to be healthy and probiotics help by protecting our gastrointestinal tract and crowding out those bad bacteria. That, in turn, helps our digestion and in turn, helps keep us balanced (remember my naturpath taught me about balance!) and making us less susceptible to viruses.
What do I need to look for when choosing probiotic products?
THIS is really important and something I’ve been sharing with my friends and family recently, because it was shocking to learn. You’ve seen the commercials about yogurts containing probiotics, right? Did you know that, in Canada, just a drop of probiotic gives companies the go-ahead to mark their product as containing probiotics? Does that seem shady to you? It does to me! We’ve heard about probiotics and want the benefit, but I’m positive huge amounts of people have tried a product claiming to contain probiotics, seen no results, and declared they simply don’t work. It’s not the probiotics that don’t work, it’s the product itself failing in it’s promises.
While other products on the market may boast 1 billion live BL RegularisTM bacterial culture, I learned a few interesting things that made me wonder how this product can even “count” as a probiotic one. Why?
Well, first in order for bacteria to be beneficial it needs to still be live when it enters your intestines. Other companies state their bacteria count at production, not at consumption, and hundreds of thousands of bacteria can die because of exposure to heat, light (where are the popular yogurts in your grocery store and how thick are those containers?) and more. Bio-K+ has 50 BILLION bacteria at consumption! I compared the packaging of both products and can see that the makers of Bio–K+ put thought into this, the container is thick thereby better blocking out humidity in transport and light in coolers at store level.
Do you feel duped after buying those mass marketed yogurts? I do.
It’s interesting to note that in Europe probiotics have to be tested, the final product, on humans to ensure they actually work and have that live bacteria at consumption. Similar regulations are coming to Canada.
What does Bio-K+ have to offer?
Well, aside from those 50 billion or so live bacteria protecting your intestines from bad bacteria, you also get them in a tasty drink (not yogurt) of fermented milk. I know, I know, my husband turned up his nose at that phrase too but it’s really like a yogurt drink but it’s milk. It tastes the same too, if not a little stronger in taste. My kids drank it without blinking an eye.
You can get BioK+ probiotics in drinkable form in the following products:
– Original Fermented Milk
– Soy Fermented Soy
– Calcium Fermented Milk
– Organic Rice Fermented Rice
– Strawberry Fermented Milk
And also in the following capsule forms:
– Regular Probiotic Capsules (12.5 billion active bacteria)
– Strong Probiotic Capsules (25 billion active bacteria)
– Extra Strength Probiotic Capsules (50 billion active bacteria)
My final thoughts:
After a successful first experience with Bio-K+ 8 years ago, I already had a positive opinion of BioK+. Now, after learning about how probiotics work in products, and how marketing can spin things to make a product sound like more than it really is, I’m even more of a fan of BioK+ probiotic products.
I won’t be purchasing mass produced yogurts with probiotics anymore because I honestly feel there’s just no point. I’ll still purchase regular yogurt but get my probiotics elsewhere in Bio-K+ products instead.
I’ve since referred my parents to the brand (there’s some evidence that probiotics may be effective against bladder cancer recurrence which my dad suffers from) and have shared my opinion on probiotics, and what I learned, with friends. With 70% of your immune system health starting in your intestines, there’s no reason not to consider probiotics for your family – it can only do good – IF you use them effectively.
Use the Store Locator link on the Bio-K+ site to learn where to find Bio-K+ products near you.
1 of my readers is going to win a great gift-pack from BioK+ containing:
· 1 Bio-K+ cushion/ blanket
· 1 Bio-K+ water bottle
· 1 Bio-K+ Coffee Mug
· 1 Bio-K+ recycle bag
· a coupon for a free 6-pack of any of the Bio-K+ fresh product
The approximate value of this prize is $90. To enter to win, just leave me a comment sharing your thoughts on probiotics and what you’ve read here today.
For additional entries:
~ Subscribe via email or Reader
~ Grab my button
~ Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link
~ Follow @FeistyFrugal and @biokplus on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway (RT 1x per day) Learn why you need probiotics and enter to win a $90 prize pack from @biokplus http://feistyfrugalandfabulous.com/?p=14678 @FeistyFrugal
~ Like Feisty Frugal and Fabulous on Facebook (please leave your first name and last initial so I can find you as a fan)
~ Like BioK+ on Facebook
This giveaway will end on January 1st at 9PM CT . Giveaway is open to Canadian and US addresses.