Probiotics are live microorganisms identified as friendly bugs to the microbiome. They can help maintain or restore a balanced microbiome. They are found to help support health from the gut, immune system, skin, urinary tract, and vagina. Research into probiotics has only just started to expand over the past 20 years and it is fascinating to see all the ways that they can affect health.
The name of a probiotic is broken down into three parts: Genus species strain. Lactobacillus strains travel to and grow in the small intestine while Bifidobacterium strains travel to and grow in the large intestine.
While probiotics have technically been around before humans, their first documentation in health was in the late 19th century. Around 150 years ago, Russian scientist and Nobel Laureate Élie Metchnikoff observed that Bulgarian peasants who consumed fermented dairy products tended to live longer and healthier lives. He suggested that the consumption of lactic acid bacteria found in yogurt contributed to their longevity and coined the term "probiotics" (meaning "for life") to describe these beneficial microorganisms. It was not until the late 1900s that probiotics started to be utilized as a supplement form. Lactobacillus rhamnosus, the strain used in Hilma's Daily Pre + Probiotic, was first isolated in 1985.
The Research and Science
The research on probiotics is continuing to grow. The most extensive research has found probiotics to be effective in preventing antibiotic-associated and traveler’s diarrhea and maintaining the remission of an irritable bowel disease called ulcerative colitis.1 A meta-analysis in 2022 analyzed forty-three randomized controlled trials with 5,531 IBS patients. The researchers explored the probiotics impact on IBS symptom relief rate, looking at abdominal pain, bloating, and straining scores. The analysis found the probiotics, especially Bacillus coagulans, had a significant impact in reducing IBS symptoms.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus is considered to be one of the most studied probiotics. Researchers have found the strain to protect against urinary tract infections and improve symptoms of IBS, including constipation and bloating. A randomized, double-blind, cross-over clinical trial in 2019 administered either a placebo or probiotics with Lactobacillus rhamnosus to patients with persistent GI symptoms over 30 days.3 Compared to the placebo, the administration of the probiotics significantly decreased bloating and ameliorated constipation.
This information is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult a physician before treating any disorder.