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Demystifying probiotics - Uses and benefits

by Naturopathes de La Boite à Grains 05 Jun 2024
Démystifier les probiotiques – Utilisations et bienfaits - La Boite à Grains

The world of probiotics is booming. Several scientific studies validate their benefits and many health professionals recommend their use. As a result, the shelves of health food stores and pharmacies are full of them.

This article aims to demystify the world of probiotics so that you can make an informed choice.

What is a probiotic?

A probiotic is a bacterium that provides beneficial effects to our body and our health when ingested.

As described by the World Health Organization (WHO):

"A probiotic is a living microorganism that, when ingested in sufficient quantity, produces beneficial effects on the health of the person who consumes it ». 

Benefits of probiotics

To date, several studies have shown that taking probiotics through food and/or supplements can prevent or even reverse certain health problems. This phenomenon is closely linked to the beneficial effect of probiotics on the intestinal flora, commonly called the microbiota (What is the microbiota?)

When the intestinal flora is in balance, many conditions are prevented and improved. In case of imbalance, the host can experience a series of pathologies, which can be addressed by taking probiotics.

Uses of probiotics

Probiotics are mainly used to support the microbial flora (oral, intestinal and vaginal) and the immune system. Thus, taking probiotics contributes to :

Digestive health By reducing intestinal bloating, chronic diarrhea and/or traveler's diarrhea, constipation, gastroenteritis, instinctive ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis with or without H. Pilori infection.1,2,3,4,5,6,7

According to some preliminary research in progress, taking probiotics could also relieve Chron's disease and diverticulitis.

Decreasing chronic inflammation: By reducing the inflammatory process associated with pain, arthritis and rheumatism8;

Immune health By strengthening immunity, resulting in a decrease in the incidence of flu, colds, allergies, food intolerances and autoimmune disorders8,9,10;

Improving skin disorders By alleviating acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis11;

Vaginal health Maintaining an optimal vaginal pH resulting in a decrease in vaginal candidiasis and vaginitis12;

Oral health Maintaining oral flora, preventing tooth decay and gingivitis13,14;  

Mental health: By promoting the synthesis of neurotransmitters, decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety15;

Infant health : By fortifying digestive flora, reducing allergies, colic and eczema;

Reducing the risk of infection: Especially related to Salmonella4 and/or C. Difficile16

How to choose a probiotic?

All probiotics are different since they are derived from unique strains. Therefore, to choose a quality product, make sure it meets certain quality criteria.

First of all, the product must have an NPN number. The number product number natural (NPN) is a number provided by Health Canada that certifies that the product is safe, of high quality and subject to current regulations.

In addition, the label of any quality probiotic must mention the genus, species and strain of the product. For example, a jar of Bio-K+ probiotics may read:  Lactobacillus (genus), acidophilus (species), CL1285MD (strain).

Finally, the product must also indicate the number of colony forming units (CFU). These are normally between 1 billion and 100,000 billion. The higher the CFU number, the greater the quantity of living strains.

Why choose Bio-K +

Bio-K+ is a Quebec-based company that has patented a blend of three specific probiotic strains. These have been clinically proven to have a measurable and beneficial synergistic effect on the host. These strains can, among other things, fight pathogenic (harmful) bacteria such as C. Difficile and E. Coli17.

In addition, the strains contained in the Bio-K+ products products help maintain an optimal intestinal pH level that promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria17.

The ready-to-drink jars of Bio-K+ ready-to-drink jars can be consumed as is or incorporated into smoothies, yogurts or ice cream recipes like these probiotic yogurt bars.

Recommended dosage

For acute digestive problems or to counteract the side effects of antibiotics, Bio-K+ recommends consuming one drink per day. For mild issues, consume ½ jar per day. For simple maintenance and to maintain optimal health, consume ¼ jar per day17.


Here's to your probiotics!

Véronique Cousineau; ND, RHN



  1. Brenner DM, Moeller MJ, Chey WD, Schoenfeld PS, "The utility of probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review," The American Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 104, no. 4, April 2009, pp. 1033-49.
  1. Guandalini, Stefano MD. Probiotics for Prevention and Treatment of Diarrhea. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: November/December 2011 - Volume 45 - Issue - p S149-S15
  1. Brenner DM, Moeller MJ, Chey WD, Schoenfeld PS, "The utility of probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review," The American Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 104, no. 4, April 2009, pp. 1033-49;
  1. Huang, Yung-Feng MD, Liu, Po-Yen MD, Chen, Ying-Yao MD. Three-Combination Probiotics Therapy in Children With Salmonella and Rotavirus Gastroenteritis. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology: January 2014 - Volume 48 - Issue 1 - p 37-42
  1. 5: Probiotics for induction of remission in ulcerative colitis. Mallon P, McKay D, Kirk S, Gardiner K. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Oct 17; (4):CD005573. Epub 2007 Oct 17.
  1. 6: L Hun, "Bacillus coagulans significantly reduces abdominal pain for patients with irritable bowel symptoms," Postgraduate Medicine, vol. 121, no. 2, 2009, pp. 119-12
  1. Dionyssios N. Sgouras, Effrosini G. Panayotopoulou, Beatriz Martinez-Gonzalez, Kalliopi Petraki, Spyros Michopoulos, and Αndreas Mentis, "Lactobacillus johnsonii La1 Attenuates Helicobacter pylori-Associated Gastritis and Reduces Levels of Proinflammatory Chemokines in C57BL/6 Mice
  1. Reid G, Jass J, Sebulsky MT, McCormick JK (October 2003). "Potential uses of probiotics in clinical practice". Microbiol. Rev. 16 (4): 658-72.
  1. Robinson, R.K. (ed.), Acidophilus Products (Therapeutic Properties of Fermented Milks), Chapman & Hall, London, 2007, pp. 81-116
  1. de Oliveira GVL, Leite AZ, Higuchi BS, Gonzaga MI, Mariano VS. Intestinal dysbiosis and probiotic applications in autoimmune diseases.Immunology. 2017 Sep;152(1):1-12. doi: 10.1111/imm.12765. Epub 2017 Jun 29.
  1. Alexandra Vaughn-Manisha Notay-Ashley Clark-Raja Sivamani - Skin-gut axis: The relationship between intestinal bacteria and skin health. World Journal of Dermatology - 2017
  1. Borges S, Silva J, Teixeira P (March 2014). "The role of lactobacilli and probiotics in maintaining vaginal health". Arch. Gynecol. Obstet. (Review). 289 (3): 479-89
  1. Näse L, Hatakka K, Savilahti E, Saxelin M, Pönkä A, Poussa T, Korpela R, Meurman JH (2001). "Effect of long-term consumption of a probiotic bacterium, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, in milk on dental caries and caries risk in children". Caries Research.
  1. MOUKRAM, L. KISSI, I. BEN YAHYA. Department of Surgical Odontology, CCTD, Casablanca (2016, May 13). Porbiotics.
  1. Anastasiya Slyepchenko, Andre F. Carvalho, Danielle S. Cha, Siegfried Kasper, Roger S. McIntyre. Gut Emotions - Mechanisms of Action of Probiotics as Novel Therapeutic Targets for Depression and Anxiety Disorders. CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets. Volume 13 , Issue 10, 2014
  1. Mark Pochapin M.D. The effect of probiotics on clostridium difficile diarrhea. The American Journal of Gastroenterology Volume 95, Issue 1, Supplement 1, January 2000, Pages S11-S13
  1. Bio-K+, Nielsen,D., Dt.P. (2018, April 06). The truth about gut bacteria and probiotics.

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