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A brief science lesson: What is a probiotic and why is it in everything?

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Literally everything, probiotics are in tea (kombucha), in yogurt, in supplements, and now even in skincare and other body-care products; wait, and are you supposed to ingest probiotics or apply it topically? Why are there so many different kinds and which are the best? We get it. It’s SUPER confusing. Here’s a brief explanation and we’ll try not to get too nerdy on you:

Most of us are pretty familiar with the idea of genetics and how genetics can precondition us for certain diseases. To put this in perspective, the human genome is just shy of 21,000 genes, yet our body has over 100 trillion microbes. If these microbes aren’t healthy, they affect our vulnerability for disease just like our genes do.

Microbes are made up of mostly bacteria aka probiotics (good bacteria).1 They are essentially an extension of our selves and play a protective role in many of our daily functions. We have so many stresses in our modern lifestyles including environmental, mental stress, physical stress, diet, alcohol, etc. which are all examples of how we introduce a disturbance of bad bacteria into our body.

Here’s an example of how probiotics can get out of balance in the different areas:

Skin – probiotics play an integral part in the barrier function of our skin.  Think of wearing your makeup to bed or even wearing makeup in general, over time these products and the chemicals in these products can cause an imbalance in the microbes for your skin. By adding probiotics to skincare (yes, topical products) it can help your skin regain the balance it needs to fight off the chemicals again. It’s all about bringing your microbes back into balance.

Deodorant – have you ever had a deodorant just stop working for you? Well eventually the same chemicals could actually be killing off some of those good bacteria that live under your pits. That’s why adding a probiotic deodorant will help neutralize some of the microbes.

Supplements – There are SO many different types of probiotics it’s hard to know which supplement is right for you, but here’s why we strive for diversity in our AuraFlora probiotic blend, found in Radiance:

  • Spore-forming probiotic: Bacillus coagulans is a spore-forming probiotic that survives stomach acid, allowing it to make it to your small intestine during digestion. The small intestine is notorious for hosting a wide variety of diseases so it’s important to have a probiotic supplement (or food) that makes it there.
  • Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains: you’ll see these quite frequently; these are the main two parent strains that are found in your body, and it’s best to try and have a proper balance between the two of them. There’s so much research on why they work better when paired together because our body needs a balance of both. They have many branches of these strains, but aim to have one of each in your probiotic food or supplement source.
  • Saccharomyces Boulardii: Lastly, a probiotic that is actually a fungi (another part that makes up the microbes), which sounds gross but it is also considered good bacteria that help fight other fungi, like Candida.

Overall, probiotics play an internal and external role in your body, and skincare needs a combined approach. While skin issues can be a sign of internal unrest and indication your gut needs probiotics, each area of your body has its own set of probiotics that might need to be addressed independently. So next time you see a probiotic hair product, it's likely legit (although we haven’t found one yet).

Here are some of our favourite brands incorporating probiotics in different ways:

Etymologie – Probiotic Vitamin C Serum

We love this Canadian brand! Live strains of lactobacillus bacteria help promote a healthy skin microbiome, which promotes collagen formation, reduces skin irritation and maintains the skin moisture barrier. It’s the perfect combination for looking and feeling younger!

OSEA Malibu – Probiotic Vitamin C Face Polish

This amazing brand is based out of California. It’s the first formula to combine pure Vitamin C with vegan probiotics. We love pairing this face polish with the Etymologie serum above. Your skin is bound to balance your skin microbe again with the extra glow of Vitamin C.

Field Botanicals – Smell My Feet

This cute brand we found out of Dallas has a foot and shoe spray that includes probiotics to battle stinky smells naturally, and it actually works!

Welo – Kids Probiotic Bars

Writing this blog actually reminded me to order these! These low sugar snack bars for kids also include bacillus coagulans (the spore-forming probiotics I mentioned earlier). Occasionally, I give it to my kids as a snack when we are on the go!

Do you have any other favourite probiotic brands? Share them below!

 

 

*sources:

1Collen, A. (2015). 10% Human: How Your Body's Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness. Harper Collins.
https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/what-are-probiotics#1
https://www.elle.com/uk/beauty/skin/a35623/probiotics-in-skincare-what-are-they-and-how-do-they-work/

 

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