Q1. It seems that we all have good and bad bacteria in our systems. What is the actual difference between the two, and what role do probiotics play?
If you're like most people, the word bacteria brings visions of dirty, disease-ridden microorganisms. But your internal eco-system is actually made up of friendly and unfriendly bacteria (as well as neutral bacteria which can become harmful if your system is weak). The beneficial bacteria help your system digest food and absorb its nutrients. They also support a strong immune system. The unfriendly bacteria, also called pathogens, cause infection and disease. Probiotics supply your eco-system with an ample number of friendly bacteria to keep those pathogens under control and support your gastrointestinal system's peak performance. In other words, they provide the foundation for a healthy life.
Q2. Why do Natren Probiotic products have to be refrigerated?
Heat destroys the power of a reliable beneficial bacteria. To protect against heat, which can damage the bacteria's potency, Natren's powders and capsules should be refrigerated at all times.
Q3. Why are Natren Probiotics considered the world leaders in this field?
Firstly, all Natren products use only super strains of bacteria such as DDS-1, NAS, LB-51, Malyoth and infant bacteria strain NLS. These strains produce the most effective natural substances for protecting the intestines from undesirable bacteria. Lesser strains have been proven to be weaker and less effective for humans. Some other brands of product claiming to have beneficial properties for humans actually contain harmful soil bacteria that give initial results but might lead to long-term problems.
Secondly, all of Natren's bacteria are grown and maintained in a culturing medium known as the supernatant. Studies indicate bacteria with the supernatant are more effective by up to 50% and guarantee a longer, potent shelf life when not centrifuged. The supernatant buffers the microorganisms and allows them to survive short periods in gastric juice.
Thirdly, Natren does not centrifuge their products. Most other brands are centrifuged. Products that are centrifuged or ultra-filtered are stripped of virtually all of their supernatant and the supernatant is disposed of. This leaves bacteria bare, naked, hungry, and without a ready-made food source. They simply are not equipped to take on the "bad guys" that continually assault your body.
Q4. Why is Trenev Trio more expensive than the other Natren products?
Each capsule contains 30 billion cfu (colony forming units) of the three types of friendly bacteria - acidophilus, bifidum and bulgaricus. The other products are single products of just one of the friendly bacteria with 2 billion cfu's per capsule. So the concentration and the mix of product is different. Also the Trenev Trio uses special technology (oil matrix) which allows each of the super strains of bacteria to be kept separate and non-competitive. The properties of the Trenev Trio oil matrix can enhance the probiotic effect of the bacteria by a factor of 10!
Q5. I eat yoghurt - Isn't that enough for getting the probiotics our body needs?
It is unlikely that eating yoghurt will significantly increase the number of beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. The bacteria used to produce a fermented food like yoghurt is not concentrated for the purpose of supplementing your body's probiotic level. Besides the lack of potency found in food-producing bacteria, sugars and preservatives cause the bacteria to go through their life cycle before the food product even reaches your store. Also the strains used in Natren probiotics are selected as being the most beneficial for supplementing the probiotic level in your body. These strains are not found in yoghurt.
Q6. If I am currently taking a prescription of antibiotics, should I start Natren probiotics now or wait until I have finished the antibiotics?
We recommend taking the Natren probiotics like Trenev Trio capsules or Superdophilus alongside the antibiotics. Antibiotics kill off high numbers of the beneficial bacteria. Taking Natren is an excellent way to offset this loss. Take the antibiotics and Natren every day, but not at the same time. Wait at least two hours after taking the antibiotic before taking Trenev Trio or Superdophilus. When you have finished the antibiotics, double the amount of Trenev Trio or Superdophilus you take for at least two weeks. This will assure a better re-population of the beneficial bacteria.
Q7. How long do I keep taking Natren? Is there good reason to continue taking Natren probiotics after I've got past a health crisis? Are there any ill effects from taking them on a long-term basis?
Friendly bacteria occur naturally in your gastrointestinal system. The more you have of them, the better supported your internal systems will be. Remember that beneficial bacteria are depleted daily by pollution, contaminants in food, drugs, antibiotics, aging, smoking, alcohol and stress. The immune system becomes weakened and you are then vulnerable to infection and disease. Should you take them for life? Absolutely. Just as you brush your teeth every day to maintain healthy teeth and gums, you can take Natren every day to help protect against harmful bacteria.
Q8. Will Natren Probiotics help intestinal upsets during a holiday? Can I take them with me?
Holidays are especially challenging often with the excess food, alcohol and stress our bodies endure. Plane travel exposes you to all kinds of airborne infections - just breathing the stale airplane air can trigger a sinus infection or worse. This is the time to strengthen the body's ability to fight infection using Natren Probiotics. Use Natren's Bulgaricum, Digesta-Lac Wafers or Trenev Trio to ease intestinal upsets during holidays. Start before you travel, and take them with you.
Q9. How do I know if I really need these Probiotics? How can I tell if my natural level of beneficial bacteria is low?
In general, everyone should supplement the natural level of probiotics in their body. Without taking probiotic supplements, most people will not have enough beneficial bacteria in their systems to deal with many digestive-tract related upsets. However, there are some common conditions associated with a lack of beneficial bacteria. If you have poor skin, diarrhoea or constipation, slow peristalsis (how long it takes your food to be digested and eliminated), flatulence or bowel wind, bad breath, bad body odour, lactose intolerance, and/or a low resistance to infections on a regular basis, your body could be telling you that you need more beneficial bacteria. The best way to supply your body with the probiotics it needs is to take Natren probiotic supplements.
Q10. I've heard that taking probiotics increases the absorption of nutrients and minerals such as calcium. How does that work?
For your body to digest and absorb the maximum amount of nutrients and minerals from the food you eat, those nutrients need to be "bio-available". Or in a form which can be easily assimilated. Probiotics are particularly effective in breaking down proteins for easier digestion. That means if you want to get more calcium, magnesium and trace elements out of the food you eat, probiotics are an excellent approach. The beneficial bacteria acidify the intestinal tract which means a lower pH level necessary for optimal absorption of these necessary nutrients and trace minerals.
Q11. Why are Natren packaged in glass instead of plastic?
Probiotics need protection from heat, light and moisture in order to guarantee a viable potency. Natren uses dark, glass bottles and always recommend refrigeration. In this state the beneficial bacteria are temporarily inactive, while retaining the highest possible potency. Heat, light and / or moisture cause the bacteria to become active, reducing their potency and performance over time. Acidophilus does not survive well in a plastic container. Above all, look for a potency guarantee up to the expiration date. Most products simply state a potency when packed or manufactured so that by the time you purchase such a product, the bacteria may be dead and therefore useless. It pays to read the fine print!
Q12. What is Leaky Gut Syndrome? How does it relate to food allergies?
Allergens or protein fragments will first penetrate the mucosal lining of the bowel in an undigested state. If "friendly" bacteria are present, these bacteria will give off digestive enzymes to try and break down these proteins into amino acids for their own food. Friendly bacteria live naturally in the mucous lining and form a protective barrier on the intestinal wall. On the other hand abnormal bacteria in the intestines give off toxins that can cause inflammation, making the intestinal wall "leaky". This allows the absorption of larger allergens to leak into the blood stream and cause allergic symptoms, such as hives or eczema. The connection between food allergies, eczema and probiotics is very clear. Having a healthy supply of beneficial bacteria in our bodies is crucial to having normal absorption of digested, non-allergenic proteins.
Q13. Some products on the market contain FOS - what is it and is it safe?
FOS, or fructooligosaccharide, is artificially produced, and is considered a chemical additive. We are against the use of FOS for some very good reasons.
- FOS is an indigestible sugar and can have an unfavourable effect if the Candida albicans yeast is overgrown in the vaginal or intestinal tract.
- Consumption of FOS can also cause intestinal problems and other adverse effects such as bloating, abdominal pain and lots of bowel wind.
- FOS is known to stimulate the growth of klebsiella, an organism associated with certain auto-immune diseases especially ankylosing spondylitis. FOS may also be linked with the growth of other pathogenic organisms, such as E. faecalis, E. faecium and Staphylococcus aureus.
Adding FOS to Natren products would compromise product safety and add no benefit to the buyer.
Q14. What base does Natren use for its dairy-free products?
Natren's dairy-free products are designed for people who cannot tolerate milk protein and for those who choose a dairy-free lifestyle. The dairy-free formulas contain a viable culture base of certified organically grown chickpea extract, cellulose powder and dehydrated potato powder.
Q15. Do antibacterial soaps and cleansers protect us from bad bacteria?
Dr Stuart Levy of Tufts University, USA, states that using antibacterial products can actually backfire by changing the kind of bacteria in our houses to harmful ones. Antibacterials are like antibiotics - they kill off many bacteria, but not all. The surviving bacteria become stronger and more dangerous. A study published in the journal "Nature" states that most antibacterial products for the home contain the chemical triclosan. Apparently, triclosan may cause some bacteria to mutate and create new strains that are resistant to antibacterial chemicals. Repeated use of anti-bacterial soaps and cleansers with triclosan could breed bacteria threatening anyone with a compromised immune system: children, the elderly, or anyone with a chronic illness. Be exceedingly careful about preparing food, and about what you eat away from home. Illnesses caused by E. coli, Salmonella and H. pylori have been on the rise. Our suggestion is to use cleansers without antibacterial chemicals. Advice from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in USA is that the best protection from harmful bacteria is plain soap and water.
Q16. Natren probiotics in powder form have the same effect as the capsules ( is their strength comparable)?
The difference between powders and capsules is that the powder starts to work in the mouth and down the oesophagus. The powders offer flexibility in the amount that can be taken at any one time. Powders are especially effective in the upper gastrointestinal tract. The advantage of the powder is that it is instantaneous. It is especially useful for those with digestive problems, acid reflux, food poisoning episodes and possibly other abdominal pains. The capsules offer convenience - they do not need to be measured out and can be handled easily when travelling. The Trenev Trio oil matrix capsule was designed to deliver a super level of bacteria to the large intestine.
Q17. More and more is heard about the dangers of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) - is it true that H. pylori is even more dangerous than E. coli or Salmonella?
While E. coli and Salmonella are very dangerous bacteria, the less familiar H. pylori bacteria have been shown to cause more illnesses per 100,000 lives than either E. coli or Salmonella. We know that up to 2/3 of the world's population is infected with H. pylori whether they know it or not. We also know today that H. pylori, not stress, is the primary cause of stomach ulcers, and that it is also associated with gastric cancer. H. pylori are not limited to adults: they can affect children as well. Current treatments involve a combination of antibiotics - usually taken over 14 days, several times a day. However, many doctors do not address the fact that while the antibiotics are killing off the bad H. pylori they are killing off many of the good bacteria which would assist your body in fending off another similar illness. So while the bad guys are being wiped out, your intestinal eco-system is being further compromised. This is not to say you should not take the antibiotics. What we recommend is a daily programme of beneficial probiotics to complement the antibiotic treatment. Remember, you should wait two hours after taking an antibiotic before taking a probiotic supplement. This will ensure that the beneficial bacteria you are taking are not adversely affected.
Q18. If I'm lactose intolerant, will I still be able to take acidophilus or the other probiotics?
Lactose intolerance is the body's inability to digest lactose - a sugar found in milk. Those with this condition are missing the enzyme lactase, which is needed to break down lactose into simple sugars that the body can use. When a person with this condition drinks milk or consumes a milk product, some or all of the product's lactose remains undigested in the intestinal tract. Here, the undigested lactose ferments and commonly causes bloating, abdominal cramps, and diarrhoea. About 75% of all adults have a degree of lactose intolerance. Although lactose intolerance can cause discomfort, it is not a serious health threat and can generally be avoided by staying away from foods that contain lactose - primarily dairy products. The wise use of Natren probiotics can help those who are lactose intolerant. Use Superdophilus, Bifidonate, and Bulgaricum which produce lactase to help digest milk and milk products. It is best to start with dairy-based Natren probiotic products, as they produce the most lactase, which is necessary to help your body digest the lactose in milk and milk products. It is best to start with very small amounts of probiotics and increase the amounts gradually. Start with 1/8 th teaspoon of Superdophilus, Bifidonate and Bulgaricum mixed in half a glass of water, taken once a day before any meal. Gradually increase the amount to ¼ teaspoon of each powder, then to 1/2 a teaspoon of each powder. Slowly start to re-introduce a small amount of a dairy product. Then add another dairy product in a little amount. If symptoms of lactose intolerance start, stop the dairy products and re-introduce later after you have taken probiotics for a longer time.