PROBIOTICS 101: GET WITH THE GOOD BACTERIA
Probiotics have been around for-ev-er, but only in the past decade or so have we started talking about them as casually as the weather. The famously “good” bacteria have become synonymous with improved gut health and a better overall immune response. Some people even say that a balanced microbiome can boost your mood and potentially even fight depression. So what does this mean? Does everyone need probiotics? Do you already have enough of them? Most importantly, do our vaginas need them? Let’s dive into the flora and the fauna.
What are probiotics?
Think of probiotics as “friendly” bacteria that are meant to help keep your body in balance. They are living microorganisms found in your colon, large intestine, and vagina that make up your body’s microbiome, which consists of bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea, and helminths. You can get probiotics in supplement form or from fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, tempeh, kefir, kombucha, and kimchi.
While they’re most famous for helping regulate digestion and keep things moving (if you will), probiotics actually perform a variety of health functions as it relates to your body’s ability to work optimally.
What are the benefits of probiotics?
The microbiome is directly tied to our overall immune function and works directly with the brain to send messages back and forth to the gut. Think: “My stomach just flipped.” “Trust your gut.” “I feel butterflies in my stomach.” When you’ve struck the right balance between beneficial bacteria and harmful bacteria, your system is more primed to fight off infection, stave off disease, and provide a more robust immune response. Did you know that there is reason to assume the bacteria in your gut may be directly tied to your overall hormonal balance?
However, the microbiome can easily fluctuate in balance depending on stress, environmental factors, and diet. When things get “out of whack,” probiotics come to your rescue to help restore overall balance.
Vaginal probiotics vs. Gut probiotics
Not all probiotics are created equally and not all strains have the same functions! There are over 500 probiotic strains, each serving a different purpose. While most of the strains we’re familiar with (Lactobacillus, Bifidobacteria, Saccharomyces, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia, Bacillus) are more skewed toward digestion and yeast-fighting power, there are a multitude of strains that can potentially support the immune system, promote better recovery, and even balance the vaginal microbiome.
The most researched probiotic strain that has been seen to support a healthy vaginal pH balance is Lactobacillus acidophilus. Lactobacillus rhamnosus and lactobacillus reuteri are also synergistic strains that potentially keep the vaginal microbiome steadfast against infections and inflammation.
What to look for in a vaginal probiotic
A high-quality probiotic is all about…
- Targeted strains specifically used for the vaginal microbiome
- Synergistic, balancing ingredients that help to support overall vaginal health
- CFU count
Honey Pot’s daily Vaginal Care Probiotic is formulated with 4-Lacto strains and 10 billion CFUs per daily capsule. Using other urinary tract-supporting ingredients like cranberry and pomegranate, our probiotics are designed to create a balanced microbiome for targeted vaginal health.