Monday, October 12, 2020

Fitness Diary :: Probiotics 101 - Easy Beginner's Guide & Intro to Youguth Korean Probiotics

I wrote about Probiotics Benefits for Athletes a while back and received some other queries about probiotics for the general public, how to eat more of it, probiotics supplements, side effects etc. 

Some of you have heard about probiotics and its benefits, but haven't taken the step forward to incorporate it into your daily lives because you're still not convinced how valuable it is to your health and wellness.  I really believe it's a life-changer and rank it up there with fish oil supplements, which I hope you are already taking daily too. 

For easy reading, I've compiled some of the questions I've received into a Q&A below. An Easy Beginner's Guide to Probiotics based on some research I've done and my own experience which I hope will be helpful. 

Please note that I'm no doctor and whatever I share on my blog is for informational purposes only. If  you need any medical advice, you should seek advice from a healthcare professional.  


1. What are probiotics? 
The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics defines “probiotics” as “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that live naturally in your body, and in fermented, raw and living foods. They help to improve or restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut when it's been disrupted by an illness or treatment.
2. What are the health benefits of probiotics?
Different strains of probiotics bacteria have different effects. Probiotics can help with diarrhea, constipation, bloating, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, eczema, weight loss etc. 

They can also increase antioxidant absorption, promote higher level of interferons, and improve the absorption of protein and fats, which are crucial in the recovery and diet for competitive and recreational athletes.

3. Who can take probiotics?
Probiotics can be taken by anyone young and old. Even for infants as young as 6 months old, there are probiotics formulas, supplements and food products marketed for babies.
4. How do you add probiotics to your diet?
You can eat more probiotics from supplements, or from food prepared by bacterial fermentation.
5. What food contains probiotics?
Probiotic food include yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso etc.  

However, the dose of probiotics needed daily is not easily obtainable through just diet {you'd need to eat between 2-25 servings of probiotic-rich food products daily!} so personally, I would supplement with probiotic pills to get the core benefits.
6. What type of probiotic supplements are there?
They come in different forms like food, drinks, pills, powders or liquids. The most commonly consumed probiotics are strains of 2 main species - bifidobacteria {helps to support the immune system, limit growth of harmful bacteria in intestine, and break down lactose into nutrients} and lactobacillus {helps to produce lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, and increases body's absorption of minerals}. 

7. What are probiotics strains?
Probiotic strains are genetic sub-types of species. Each probiotic strain has a different effect on the body e.g. aiding in digestion, boosting immune-system {B. animalis}, breaking down carbohydrate {B. longum}, decreasing oral bacteria {L. reuteri}etc.

8. How to choose probiotics supplements?
Look for supplements that have live cultures, multiple bacteria strains {a combination of probiotics is usually more effective than a single one}, and large quantities of the bacteria to form colonies {measured in colony-forming units or CFUs}. 
Some doctors recommend a daily dose of 10-20 billion CFU is for individuals seeking everyday immune and digestive support. 
9. How do you store probiotics supplements? 
Several probiotic strains are very fragile and need to be protected from heat, oxygen, light and humidity. The probiotics might start to break down or die if they are exposed to these elements. We usually store our probiotics in the fridge, if possible, although some supplements don't require them to due to special coatings or manufacturing processes. 
10. What are the safety concerns for probiotics?
 For most healthy people with good immune systems, probiotics are considered generally safe since microbes used as probiotics already exist naturally in your body. They are in fact sold over-the-shelf without prescription. However, they may trigger allergic reactions, and may also cause mild stomach upset, diarrhea, gas or bloating for the first few days after you start to take them. 
11. Difference between probiotics and prebiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria that provide numerous health benefits. Prebiotics are specialised plant fiber {in food like oats, bananas, berries, asparagus, garlic etc.} that humans can't digest but feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut. Both are important for health and well-being.

For people that do not like swallowing capsule pills, try Youguth Probiotics from Korea that come in melt-in-your-mouth powder that can be consumed right from the sachets or be added into food or drinks. 

Each of their probiotics sachet contains 100 billion CFUs, which as hubby says, is super high. 

I mentioned that a daily dose of 10-20 billion CFU is advisable for individuals seeking everyday immune and digestive support. However, keep in mind that probiotics are comprised of live organisms, are fragile {which is why most of the time they survive longer when kept in the fridge} and sensitive to heat and humidity. 

As such, it makes sense if a probiotics supplement has a higher CFU to increase the survival and effectiveness of the probiotics in reaching your gut, surviving the acidic gastric environment and thereafter improving overall health.

Youguth has developed a patented process that enables probiotics to survive in harsh environment without multiple coatings. This apparently increases the survival ratio of probiotics by over 115% and enable them to be fast-acting

Their product range is very streamlined and comes in 4 different lines that tailor to different age groups, gender and stages of life - Green Energy Up {boost vitality & energy in men and women}, Lady Charming Up {enhances inner health and outer beauty in ladies}, Child Strength Up {enhances immunity in kids aged 1 and above}, and Silver Up {supports digestive system and improves bone health in seniors}.

Each product has at least 4 different strains of bacteria that interact together to support both gut health and everyday wellness. In addition, there are also other ingredients to meet the unique health needs of each target group.

For Lady Charming Up, it has 5 different probiotics strains to promote a healthy digestive tract and is also enriched with Vitamin C, collagen and antioxidants for youthful skin. 

I like the light lemon-flavoured powder that's yummy enough to be consumed by itself. It really does melt-in-your-mouth!!! Very light, soft and extremely palatable which makes it easy for those just starting out.

Youguth Probiotics do not need to be refrigerated but should be stored in a cool, dry place. They come in slim powder sachets, which makes it even more convenient to bring around on-the-go.  

I leave some in my work desk drawer and would often just add it to my morning yogurt as a healthy breakfast to start the day right ( ᐛ )و

Note: Probiotics are live bacteria. Before you add them to any food or drinks, make sure that the temperature is either lukewarm or cold, and not above 40°C. Otherwise, the probiotics will not survive and lose its efficacy. 

Green Energy Up enhances your overall well-being by restoring the digestive balance in your gut. It's enriched with vitamins and ginkgo biloba to lift your physical and mental energy. 

This probiotic supplement is blue-berry flavoured and I think goes very well with smoothies or oatmeals.

For kids like Lil Pumpkin, the milk-flavoured Child Strength Up has colostrum to boost immunity and fight infections, zinc to support cell growth and build normal immune responses, and 7 different probiotic strains to aid digestion and promote microbiome diversity. 

Lil Pumpkin finds it fun to just open the sachet & eat the powder directly from it haha ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The benefits of an improved gut health typically takes minimally 2 weeks of daily usage. 

As I've said before, since including more probiotics in my diet years ago, I think that my bowel movements are more regular and I feel less bloaty. Even on days that I feel extra bloated, like after a heavy buffet meal haha, if I take probiotics immediately after, the feeling goes away pretty fast. 

Youguth Probiotics can be bought from Youguth Singapore website or any Guardian, Unity, Robinsons or Watsons shop islandwide. Each container has 30 x 2g sachets which should last for a month as it is recommended to take 1 sachet per day. 

They currently have a meaningful #YouguthCares social initiative whereby they are showing their solidarity to front-liners in this Covid-19 pandemic and distributing care packages of their probiotics supplements to hospitals such as Alexandra Hospital and NUH. You can show your support by also nominating any organisation whereby you feel that they could use gut health support in the form of care packages to boost their immunity by sending them a message on Facebook page or Instagram accounts. 

* Disclosure: Youguth probiotics was provided by Youguth Singapore for review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are my own. The content is not presented by a qualified healthcare professional and is for informational purpose only. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please seek medical advice first before trying.

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