The One Supplement Everyone Should Be Taking

Supplements can be amazing tools for achieving optimal health, but they can also be pretty overwhelming. Just the thought of walking down the supplement aisle can be intimidating. After all, there are hundreds of products, brands, and combinations. How do you even know where to start?

The key is to go back to basics, do your research, and focus on quality over quantity. And while everyone has specific health needs, there are some supplements that everyone can benefit from. First on that list? Probiotics.

These beneficial bacteria support our gut, which is the foundation of our immune system and overall health.

Modern life takes a toll on the gut.

If you’re curious about the health of your gut, you can test it here, but with the overuse of antibiotics, our Western diets full of industrialized food, toxins in the air, lack of sleep, and ever-rising stress levels, it’s almost guaranteed that we’re all pretty hard on our poor microbiomes. In fact, our ancestors had fantastically diverse microbiomes compared to our modern microbial makeup, and they didn’t experience nearly as many of the health issues we face today.

That’s why probiotics are one of those supplements we should always consider. These beneficial bacteria nurture and support the core of our health by optimizing our digestion; bolstering our metabolism; improving our quality of sleep, mood, and energy levels; and even balancing our blood sugar. Probiotics also make other supplements more effective by improving nutrient absorption—so it makes perfect sense to put them at the helm of your supplement regimen.

Here's what to look for in a probiotic.

So now that it’s clear why we need beneficial bacteria—what should we look for in a probiotic supplement? First, it’s important to know that all probiotics are not created equal. And since it’s our gut health we’re talking about, this is one supplement to invest in and research thoroughly. Only the best of the best for your precious microbiome.

Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a probiotic formula:

1. Get to know your species.

There are a variety of probiotic strains, but the most beneficial good guys come from the genera of lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, and streptococcus—as they all live naturally in the human digestive tract and have scientific research supporting their benefits. Soil-based organisms (SBOs) and active yeasts are gaining popularity due to their commercial hardiness (ability to survive on the shelf), but these are different types of probiotics altogether as they simply pass through, rather than live in, the human gut—so they can’t replenish the resident bacteria critical to every aspect of your health.

2. Cover your bases with multiple strains.

One of the ways that modern life creates an imbalance in your microbiome is by decreasing bacterial diversity (think antibiotics, antibacterial cleansers, and more). Therefore, it only makes sense to re-populate the gut with a wide range of bacteria as opposed to just a few strains. Formulas such as Hyperbiotics PRO-15, which contains 15 targeted strains to give you full-spectrum support, are ideal because everyone’s bacterial makeup is completely different, and although there are some microbiome tests in development that might eventually identify your specific probiotic needs, it’s good to cover your bases.

3. Make sure your probiotics are getting past stomach acids.

Probiotics’ final destination is the intestines‚ which is where we absorb nutrients. And this may shock you, but in vitro studies have shown that only 4 percent of most probiotics actually survive their journey through the stomach. This is because the harsh, acidic environment of the stomach will destroy the bacteria if they are not protected adequately. Hyperbiotics has worked tirelessly to solve this problem using a patented, controlled-release delivery method that gets at least 60 percent of the bacteria past the stomach and to the intestines, where they can get to work.

4. Ensure that your probiotics are still alive when you take them.

In order to make sure the organisms are alive when you take them, look for a probiotic supplement with guaranteed viability (aka an expiration date) and one that can survive unrefrigerated. While probiotics requiring refrigeration might seem legit, many products aren’t refrigerated during transit or in the store room, greatly decreasing their effectiveness. Hyperbiotics has overcome this problem with a patented manufacturing process known as LiveBac®, which ensures the probiotics remain alive during transit, on the shelf, and in your home with zero refrigeration required. This also makes them perfect for travel.

5. Be wary of additional ingredients.

Just like with food, it’s important to read your supplement ingredient labels carefully. Are they non-GMO? Do they contain artificial colors, preservatives, or added sugar? You may be surprised by what you can find. If you have any food allergies, make sure you also check for the sneaky presence of lactose, soy, and gluten.

6. Educate yourself on supplement laws and regulations.

While there are some rules that monitor the labeling and manufacturing of supplements, many people don’t know that supplement companies are actually responsible for evaluating and ensuring the safety of their own products. Because of this, it’s vital to find a brand that goes above and beyond when it comes to safety, transparency, and customer support. So, thoroughly research the company and look for one that tests each batch for quality and safety (to make sure what’s on the label is actually inside the bottle).

The good news? The line of premium probiotic formulas from Hyperbiotics meets all of these criteria so you can have the confidence of knowing you’re on the path toward your healthiest days. And bonus, you can now find them at Target!

Originally published on mindbodygreen.

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