Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Review - Healthspan Super 20 Probiotics

Would you believe me if I said this ordinary sized capsule contains 20 million bacteria? When I say 20 million, give or take a few, it sounds an incredible number and yet it is tiny when compared to the seven trillion bacteria  in our digestive tract.  Our bodies as a whole will typically have even more bacteria.

It is all too easy to think of bacteria in a negative way.  We are conditioned to think of being ultra hygienic and good homes are clean sterile environments.  However (and here is another fascinating fact) we need bacteria in order for our digestion, immune system and other processes in our bodies to work properly and this is where we're talking about good, friendly bacteria.

There are a number of issues which can crop up in life which might affect the balance of the bacteria in our digestive tract.  When the natural balance of bacteria is thrown out, unsettled or wiped out completely, it takes time for the original balance to be restored.  It is fairly common knowledge that if we take antibiotics for some kind of infection, this treatment may wipe out much of the bacteria in our gut as well as the actual infection that's being treated.  Our system can also be undermined by processed food and there is also the suggestion that certain foods (i.e. dairy or poultry products) may have the residue of antibiotics in them which we are then consuming ourselves, albeit in tiny quantities.  These factors combined with our general pace of life and eating on-the-go can all place a strain on our system.

What bacteria did you say was in that capsule?

Good question.  The answer is a balance of:

Probiotic Organism - 20 billion CFU providing:
Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM - 25%
Bifidobacterium lactis BI-07 - 25%
Lactobacillus paracasei LPC-37 - 25%
Bifidobacterium lactis BI-04 - 22.5%
Bifidobacterium bifidum BB-02 - 2.5%

You're pleased you asked, aren't you!  These have been selected by Healthspan to support the natural array of bacteria that should be within our guts.

Supplementing the natural positive bacteria found in our digestive systems is becoming increasingly popular.  These probiotics contain a number of strains of these ‘friendly’ bacteria , similar to those naturally present in the gut.    Also it's worth remembering that prebiotics are non-digestible nutrients that stimulate the activity or growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.

Who can benefit from these?

Well, I wish I had had some back in the autumn myself.  Very unusually men and for me the first time ever, I had a bladder infection which was incredibly painful leading me to make an appointment at my Doctor's surgery.  I was prescribed some antibiotics which cleared the infection in three days, just as the Doctor had said and I dutifully continued a couple more days to complete the course.  Afterwards I made sure I was drinking plenty of water (more than usual) to keep things "flushed out" and then I bought some of those live probiotic yoghurt drinks and just about squeezed them into our fridge (which I can tell you is often a real challenge!).  Now whether I needed to do that or not I will never know but I was concerned about the impact of the antibiotics on my digestive tract.

On reading through the feedback that has already been given on the Healthspan website, there are clearly a good number of probiotic fans out there who have really benefitted from the Super 20 Probiotics.   People seem to like this for IBS and generally as an aid to good digestion taking place.

Professor Denise Kelly endorses probiotics and highlights the links which have been made between probiotics and viral infections, stress, anxiety as well as generally supporting the immune system.  Likewise Lindsey McManus from Allergy UK suggests probiotics might be useful for some people with food intolerances.

My own view

There are probably times for many of us when our system needs a little extra support in making sure the balance is right.  This is especially relevant if we are caught up in our high speed treadmill busy lives in working and taking care of our families as we try to stay fit and train for races.  These capsules could be useful and worth a try for some and I'm pleased to be taking some right now in order to maintain a healthy intestine.  The Healthspan Super 20 probiotics can simply be kept in a kitchen or dining room cupboard, without the need for keeping them refrigerated. In our house, that's a real boon!

For the Healthspan website click here

NB a fee has been received for this review


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