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The ‘synbiotic’ nature of pro and prebiotics

Filed under: Blog,Product Information,Research

Pre and Probiotics

Once thought to be limited to digestive benefits, it’s becoming clear that having a good profile of beneficial bacteria in the gut can benefit many facets of health. Many terms beyond probiotic (such as prebiotic and synbiotic) describe supplements that benefit our gut microbiome, but what do they all mean and how do they differ?

Probiotics 

Effectively meaning “for life”, probiotics are beneficial bacterial cultures that colonize and grow in the gut. They have demonstrated the ability to produce beneficial compounds and probiotics also ‘overcrowd’ harmful bacteria in the gut, as microflora of all types must compete for space and nutrients and ultimately, survival.
The benefits of a strong presence of beneficial bacteria are wide reaching. Probiotics can support and enhance immune function (even being linked to reduction of risk of certain cancers), improve the absorption (or bioavailability) of mineral nutrients and of course improved digestive health. Probiotics have also been linked to improving satiety, the feeling of fullness which can help contribute to weight management.

Prebiotics 

Prebiotics often describe complex carbohydrates (such as oligopolysachharides) which are indigestible to humans but can be digested by probiotic bacteria. This digestion has been shown to encourage the health and growth of probiotic bacteria, especially lactobacilli and bifidobacterium.

Synbiotics 

The concept of synergy describes when two items come together to form something greater than their sum. This also describes the relationship between probiotics and prebiotics, which support each other’s functions, especially as prebiotics can enhance the survivability and growth of probiotics as such, as the term ‘synbiotic’ is born.

The gut-brain axis 

Though in its infancy, research into the relationship between the brain and the microbiome of the digestive system is highlighting the importance of probiotic formulas. Stress released hormones such as cortisol have been shown to detract from the health of beneficial bacteria. Simultaneously, beneficial bacteria can produce beneficial compounds such as short chain fatty acids, leading to enhanced production of neurotransmitters such as seratonin, the ‘feel good’ hormone.

Importance of Quality 

In 2017, a report from the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition showed that many probiotic supplements are subject to poor quality control measures. As a result, probiotic strains are frequently misidentified, contaminated or reach the shelves with non-living cultures.

The author quotes that “Although there are probiotic preparations licensed as medicinal products(pharmaceuticals/drugs), most of them are categorized as food or dietary supplements(USA, Europe)…dietary supplements have to comply with significantly less stringent regulatory criteria.” (1)

Products like Bio-Culture and Bio-Fiber provides beneficial cultures and prebiotic fibers, all produced to pharmaceutical standards. This offers reliability and high quality to consumers.

1) Reference: Kolaček S, Hojsak I, Berni Canani R, Guarino A, Indrio F, Orel R et al. Commercial Probiotic Products. 2017.

Research Roundup: Vitamin E!

Filed under: Blog,Product Information,Research

Benefits of Vitamin E Vitamin E is a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant. It playsa vital part in protecting our cells from stress and damage caused by free radicals (reactive particles produced by pollution, smoking, alcohol and even our own metabolism). Due to being fat soluble, vitamin E helps protect cell membranes specifically (which are made up of phospholipids). New research has linked vitamin E to two protective benefits; reduced muscular injury and reduced cancer risk!

Vitamin E and Muscular injury

A recent study (published in Nutrition) concludes that vitamin E supplements could prove useful in treating degenerative muscle conditions due to its antioxidant properties and its contribution to cell membrane repair.

The study involved a treatment group (receiving vitamin E) and a placebo control group.. Subjects in the treatment group demonstrated lower levels of creatine kinase in the body, vs the control group (creatine kinase being an enzyme which may indicate the degeneration of muscle fibers).

Other benefits linked to vitamin E in this study include reduction in oxidative stress and inflammatory biomarkers, important as excessive inflammation is also associated with muscle breakdown.

Study found here

Vitamin E and cancer risk

Meta-analyses (when a range of studies are collated and analyzed) are perhaps the strongest study type when forming scientific opinion. A Chinese meta-analysis (published in Medicine) has found a link between vitamin E deficiency and an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

The review (detailing studies on almost 6000 subjects) found that colorectal cancer patients were more likely to demonstrate lower serum vitamin E levels than healthy controls. The study also found that those most likely to manifest vitamin E deficiency are Europeans!

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and low levels may lead to the accumulation of oxidative stress and damage in cells- proposed as a risk factor for cancer development.

Study found here

Bio-E-Vitamin

Bio-E-Vitamin is our vitamin E preparation designed to confer all of the important benefits of vitamin E. Bio-E-Vitamin is:

1. Contained in oil capsules for maximum absorption (Vit E is fat soluble.

2. Designed to withstand stomach acidity in order to ensure optimum absorption.

3. Contains 200 IU (134mg) of d-alpha-tocopherol, the most effective form of vitamin E utilized by the human body

4. Manufactured to Pharmaceutical standards

Vitamin D3 shown to be twice as effective as D2 – could change government guidelines!

Filed under: Blog,Product Information,Research

Heart and Sun Image

A new study (from the University of Surrey) is hitting the headlines showing that vitamin D3 is twice as effective at raising vitamin D status than the D2 form.

The current guidelines state that everyone in the UK should consider supplementing with at least 400iu of vitamin D (although in many cases higher doses are best for optimum nutrition). Many guidelines around the world (including the UK) don’t dictate which form of vitamin D they recommend or incorrectly state that D2 supplements are equal to D3. Experts now believe that this new study could change official guidelines to recommend vitamin D3 specifically.

Lead author Dr Laura Tripkovic from the University of Surrey, said: “The importance of vitamin D in our bodies is not to be underestimated, but living in the UK it is very difficult to get sufficient levels of it from its natural source, the sun, so we know it has to be supplemented through our diet.

Those who consume D3 through … D3 containing supplements are twice as more likely to raise their vitamin D status than when consuming vitamin D2…containing supplements, helping to improve their long term health.”

News Story: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/mediacentre/press/2017/worldwide-health-authorities-urged-rethink-vitamin-d-guidelines-following 

Benefits of vitamin D3 found in research

  • Improved muscle function
  • Reduced risk of falls and fractures- (by increasing muscular stability)
  • Absorption of calcium into the blood stream- (via osteocalcin production)
  • Reduced risk of colds and flu, elevated immunity
  • Reduction of colorectal cancer risk
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced cardiovascular event risk (heart attack, stroke etc.)

Who in particular may need more vitamin D?

  • Older individuals- (our own vitamin D synthesis decreases as we age)
  • Those who live in darker places in the world (Northern Europe/UK etc.)
  • Those with darker skin pigmentation
  • Those who regularly use sunscreen
  • Those who cover up for religious reasons
  • Those with malabsorption digestive disorders

Vitamin D in sleep, pain and early menopause

Filed under: Blog,Company News,Product Information

Girl in sunshine image

Vitamin D, sleep and pain

It’s well known that vitamin D plays many beneficial roles around the body including immunity support and calcium regulation. What’s less known is its role in assisting sleep and pain management. A new review study demonstrates that low vitamin D levels are associated with elevated pain (in rheumatic disorders and fibromyalgia) as well as irregular sleep patterns. The mechanism of vitamin D in this case is suggested to be related to the regulation of neurotransmitters in the body. The study author concludes that vitamin D supplementation is associated with the therapeutic improvement of sleep and the prevention and treatment of chronic pain conditions.

Vitamin D, Calcium and early menopause

Early menopause (i.e. before the age of 45) effects approximately 10% of woman and is associated with elevated cardiovascular disease risk and osteoporosis. New research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has identified a link with early menopause and insufficient vitamin D. The study involving over 2000+ women demonstrated that those with high intakes of vitamin D (and calcium) were at 17% reduced risk of developing early menopause than those with lower intakes. Calcium is readily obtained from the diet, but vitamin D which is typically synthesized via sunlight is a common insufficiency in the UK.

Vitamin D deficiency

A clinical review published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (May 2017) found that almost 1 billion individuals worldwide may have insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D. The cause for this is multifaceted, though the main reason cited is that people are spending more time indoors and applying sunscreen when they go outside, to protect from skin cancer. While this is a healthy skin habit, SPF use does limit vitamin D biosynthesis. Chronic diseases such as kidney disease and even type 2 diabetes greatly reduce vitamin D synthesis as well. Ongoing research is linking vitamin D deficiency with multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disorders, infections, respiratory disease and cancer.

Bio-Vitamin D3

Manufactured to pharmaceutical standards, Bio-Vitamin D3 provides D3 (the more stable and well utilized form by the body) in small and easy to swallow ‘pearl’ capsules. The oil in the capsules helps to ensure that the fat soluble vitamin absorbs well from the gut and into the bloodstream.

References:

1. de Oliveira D, Hirotsu C, Tufik S, Andersen M. The interfaces between vitamin D, sleep and pain. Journal of Endocrinology. 2017;:JOE-16-0514.

2. Purdue-Smithe A, Whitcomb B, Szegda K, Boutot M, Manson J, Hankinson S et al. Vitamin D and calcium intake and risk of early menopause. 2017.

3. Pfotenhauer K, Shubrook J. Vitamin D Deficiency, Its Role in Health and Disease, and Current Supplementation Recommendations. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 2017;117(5):301.

Why Take Supplements?

Filed under: Blog,Product Information

The infamous balanced diet is a great ideal to strive for; a diet that encompasses a range of different fruit, vegetables, lean protein, fibre and healthy fats. No matter how virtuous we intend to be however, the diet may fall short. That’s where supplements can help.

Crop land throughout the world is unevenly distributed when it comes to minerals. Some places in the world (such as the UK and Ireland) have very low selenium content in the soil as an example, and will have low mineral levels in locally produced food. Excessive farming over time leads to further degrading of the mineral content of the soil, leading to a diet with even less nutrition.


From the moment they’re picked from the farm land, the nutrient content of fruits and vegetables start to degrade over time (especially the water soluble vitamins B and C). When foods need to exported over long distances (known as ‘Food Miles’), this loss of nutrition becomes even more significant. The result is that lots of foods reach the plate with much less nutrient value that what they started with, and that’s even before they get cooked (with frying and boiling heavily reducing certain nutrients). This is especially the case for out of season fruits and vegetables that need to be transported great distances.

Many food processes designed to preserve food, improve its texture or flavour, also impact its vitamin and mineral content negatively. Supplements act as a convenient way to ensure adequate nutrition status and therefore, optimum health.

 

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