Probiotics are a hot topic, and for good reason. You’ve been asking for more probiotics in Vega® products, which is while you’ll find them in Vega One™, Vega One™ Bar, Vega Sport® Protein, and Vega® Probiotics. Before we dive into more of the fine details about the probiotics you’ll find in our products, let’s talk about probiotics in general. There are the three main things you should know about probiotics:
1. There are different sources and types/strains of probiotics.
Probiotics can be consumed as supplements and foods, including fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, cheeses, kimchi, wine, tempeh, miso and tamari.
There are many different types, or strains, of probiotics on the market that can be segmented in two primary categories.
- Spore-forming probiotics.
Spore-forming probiotics, like bacillus coagulans, are strains that have the ability to form hard shells around the bacteria and protect them from harsh, environmental factors like hot temperatures and acidic environments.
- Non-spore-forming probiotics.
Non-spore-forming probiotics, like some forms of lactobacillus, are not as resistant to changes in temperature and the acidic gastric environment and therefore, may not be available for absorption in the small intestines.
No matter what strain or type of probiotic you are consuming, the most common unit of measurement for probiotics is colony-forming units (CFUs). This is how many of the probiotics are viable, and able to divide and grow into colonies (a good thing!). Most research on probiotics is done on 1 to 20 billion CFUs. American Academy of Family Physicians. (2008). Probiotics. Accessed on 2/26/16 from: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2008/1101/p1073.html
2. Probiotics have health benefits; however, more research needs to be done on how they actually work.
Probiotics can help by supporting the healthy bacteria in your gut, if taken in adequate amounts. Preliminary research suggests they can help support your gastrointestinal tract. Parvez, S.  Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health. Journal of Applied Microbiolgy. 100: 1171-1185. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2672.2006.02963.x/full
3. When choosing the right probiotic for you, consider why you need it and how you will faithfully consume it.
Researchers have found that the benefits of probiotics are very diversified, with each strain providing unique health benefits. Probiotics are not “one-size-fits-all.” Therefore, when choosing a probiotic, consider the reason you’re taking it and work with a healthcare provider to find one that has been specifically studied and identified to help.
Even if you find the right one for you, no probiotic is beneficial if it’s simply going to sit in your medicine cabinet, pantry or refrigerator. Along with identifying the best strain for your health situation, also consider the recommended dosage and make sure it fits with your lifestyle—don’t buy a probiotic that needs refrigeration if you travel 363 days of the year and live out of your suitcase.
Probiotics in Vega® Products: bacillus coagulans
We found a probiotic we love: bacillus coagulans, a dairy-free, spore-forming probiotic. You’ll find bacillus coagulans in:
- 1 billion CFUs in a serving of Vega One All-in-One Shake
- 1 billion CFUs in a serving of Vega One Bar
- 1 billion CFUs in a serving of Vega Sport Protein
- 2 billion CFUs in a serving of Vega Probiotics
Benefits of Bacillus Coagulans: Survives and thrives in harsh environmental conditions
While other types of probiotic strains can die during transportation, storage or digestion, bacillus coagulans survives the varying changes in temperature (like sitting on your pantry shelf), and the acidic environment of the stomach, allowing them to enter and flourish in in your gut.