Probiotics 101: What are Human Origin Strains?
We frequently talk about why it’s important to be feeding more ‘good’ bacteria into our gut but how do we decide which product is best for our bodies? And, where exactly do these good microbes come from before we ingest them?
In general terms, we define any probiotic as “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.”1 Getting more specific, “a probiotic must be alive when administered, survive the gastric environment, have undergone controlled evaluation to document health benefits in the target host, be a taxonomically defined microbe or combination of microbes (genus, species and strain level), and be safe for its intended use.”2
So, probiotics must be able to exert their benefits on the host through growth and/or activity in the human body, helping intestinal flora fulfill its physiological functions.
Probiotics are manufactured in many different ways and under many different conditions, meaning not all probiotics on the market are created equal! Here at Bio-K+, we have stringent quality assurance standards, and while probiotics are not, by definition, required to be of human origin (they can also come from animal or plant cultures), we do use human origin strains as we know they are the best choice when it comes to promoting health. So what exactly does that mean for you?
What’s a “Human Origin” strain?
You may hear lots of companies talk about ‘human origin’ strains of bacteria in their products. Before we start defining what a human origin strain is, let’s set the record straight on one critical issue. Although our bacteria are human origin, we do not collect them from humans, nor do they contain any human by-products.
‘Human origin’ refers instead to the ability of bacteria to grow within our body. With trillions of types of bacteria on the planet, these are the types of bacteria that have co-evolved along with us. We give them a place to live; they provide us with health benefits.
The Origin of Bio-K+
At Bio-K+, we use three unique, patented strains that you won’t find in any other probiotic. Our bacteria were first isolated over 50 years ago by Dr. François-Marie Luquet, a microbiologist trained at the Pasteur Institute. Isolating these strains from human cultures, Dr. Luquet saw the tremendous promise that these lactic acid bacteria held in promoting digestive health.
For over 20 years now, we have been lovingly taking care of these cultures at Bio-K+. Why do we put so much effort into three strains that have been around since 1960? Because we now have the science to support the promise that Dr. Luquet saw all those years ago. Our three strains work. And, they work even better when together to promote a healthy gut, keep bad bugs away and support a strong immune system.
The Bio-K+ Live Difference
The reason we put so much effort into our probiotic strains’ wellbeing is that our bacteria are living organisms. We aren’t just mixing a powdered probiotic with a liquid and sending it on its way as a product. We add our live bacteria to a liquid substrate and allow them to grow and ferment right inside each bottle of drinkable Bio-K+.
Why do we do this? We call it the ‘Live Difference’. It’s a pretty rigorous (and scientific) process that ensures our bacteria are never tired, stressed, or damaged, but instead well-adjusted, strong, and healthy, so they can work together to create real change in the biodiversity of your intestinal tract.
Determining whether a probiotic contains ‘human origin’ strains is only one puzzle piece when it comes evaluating the efficacy of a probiotic. You need also to understand if the product has finishing product research (not just research supporting the individual strains) to ensure that there’s a synergy between the strains in the product itself and not a competition between one strain and another. At Bio-K+, research is held to the strictest quality standards throughout the entire manufacturing process.
As a vertically integrated company, we take a lot of pride in all of the work and care we put into the development of our probiotics from start to finish. If you have any other questions about the beginning of Bio-K+ or are still unclear on exactly what we’re talking about when we say “human origin” shoot us a note in the comments below. And if you’re now looking to stock up on Bio-K+, head to our store locator. For more information on Bio-K+, probiotics and digestive health, contact us, find us on Facebook and Instagram or join our community.