Can your microbiome go off-balance?
It is possible to have an off-balance microbiome, certainly disturbing the microbiome community.
When that happens, it’s called dysbiosis, meaning harmful microbes are knocking out and displacing your good bacteria. (1)
When your microbiome may be out of balance, this dysbiosis is typically caused by some medicines, too many of the wrong foods or poor lifestyle habits. It can even stem from physical or mental stress.
Maintain a healthy microbiome
The cause of out-of-balance microbiome
The underlying cause of this imbalance has been associated with chronic diseases like:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- It's even linked to cancer (2)
You can twist the good bacteria ratio in your favour. In addition to “living right” (which means correcting any bad dietary and lifestyle habits), adding fermented foods and probiotics to your diet can help maintain this bacterial balance. (3)
Probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum
Scientists have isolated a specific strain of the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum that is prevalent in a healthy vaginal microbiome.
This strain has been shown to interfere with the growth of pathogens like Candida yeast by outcompeting them for the ability to attach and thrive. (5)
A study was conducted using vaginal epithelial cells that already contained undesirable microorganisms such as C. albicans, G. vaginalis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli. L. plantarum was shown to successfully adhere to and help protect these infected cells. (6)
L. plantarum has also been evaluated in several human trials, with impressive results:(7,8,9) Oral intake resulted in L. plantarum colonization of the vagina and an improvement in the vaginal microbiome.
Lactobacillary grade scores, used to clinically evaluate vaginal microbiome healthy lactobacillus levels, improved significantly.
In women with vaginal dysbiosis and a history of recurrent yeast infections, there was a significant reduction in redness and swelling.
Identifying probiotic strains
It's all in the name!
We know that different strains impact your body in a variety of ways. Certain strains promote your mood, others help keep a healthy heart. The mission is to select the right type for your body's health needs.
It all comes down to their name complex. Scientists classify probiotics the same way they classify all living things, by genus and species. As a rule of thumb, split the probiotic strain's title into three parts. This way, you can tell what part of the strain benefits what parts of our body.
The probiotic strain matters. Even within the same bacterial species, there can be slight variations in genetic material. We have to dissect and determine the right strain.
A good metaphor for probiotic strains is to think of dog breeds. A chihuahua and a Saint Bernard are both dogs, however hugely different, and one will be more fruitful than the other for certain undertakings.
Below is the standard criteria probiotic title makeup.
CFUs: More is not necessarily better
Typically, probiotics are counted in CFUs (colony-forming units). The CFU count is a measurement of living, viable bacteria per serving. Those servings are usually in millions but the highest possible dose isn’t necessarily what you’re after, either.
Your goal should be to use the dose that demonstrates efficacy in the research studies on specific strains and health concerns.
Hitting the optimal place for probiotic action can be determined by a study of Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 on cholesterol. It was found that using between 2 to 2.9 billion CFUs helped significantly reduce LDL-C by 11.64% compared to placebo. (4)
But remember, how many CFUs you need will depend on the probiotic strain in question so do your own research!
Here you will find our blogpost with the rundown on which probiotic strains help the different sides of your health.
More blog posts on probiotics
- New Microbiol. 2016 Jan;39(1):1-12
- Genome Med. 2016; 8:51
- Front Microbiol. 2016; 7:578
- J Dairy Sci. Jul 2016;99(7):5039-5046
- Culici M. Adhesion of Lactobacillus plantarum P 17630 to vaginal epithelial cells and its influence on Candida albicans adhesion. GIMMOC. 2004;VIII(1):34-41.
- Bonetti A, Morelli L, Campominosi E, et al. Adherence of Lactobacillus plantarum P 17630 in soft-gel capsule formulation versus Doderlein’s bacillus in tablet formulation to vaginal epithelial cells. Minerva Ginecol. 2003 Jun;55(3):279-84, 84-7.
- Vladareanu R, Mihu D, Mitran M, et al. New evidence on oral L. plantarum P17630 product in women with history of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC): a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2018 Jan;22(1):262-7.
- Lallemand Internal Reports. 2014.
- Montella R, Malfa P, Giuliano A, et al. Vaginal adhesion of Lactobacillus plantarum P17630 after probiotic food supplement oral administration: a preliminary in vivo study. Nutrafoods. 2013;12(2):35-42.