With so many different brands of probiotics on the shelves, or in the refrigerated section of your local health food store (which is where a quality probiotic should be stored), it can be overwhelming to know which one to choose.
At Natren, we try to educate our consumers on the key questions they should be asking when choosing a probiotic. We talk a lot about the importance of keeping the beneficial bacteria alive through the whole journey, from the manufacturing facility in Westlake Village, CA, through your local supplier and direct to your digestive system. Outside your body, that means cold transportation and refrigeration. Inside your body, that means protecting the probiotics through the harsh environment of your stomach. We have two different ways of doing this.
In our flagship Healthy Trinity Probiotics product, we use a complex oil-matrix delivery system to keep the three strains isolated from each other and intact so they survive the stomach acid. In our single-strain probiotic powders, we take a different approach – retaining the native supernatant from the manufacturing process to protect the beneficial bacteria.
So, what is this “Supernatant” and how does it help?
The Culturing Medium
Probiotics are live organisms that require nourishment in order to survive, grow and flourish. During manufacturing, that nourishment is known as the culturing medium. It is a nutritionally balanced food base formulation that is specifically selected for each bacterial strain to optimize the potential health-promoting properties of the bacteria.
As the bacteria grow, not only do they transform the surrounding culturing medium into an active and very essential byproduct known as the supernatant, but they also produce very powerful active enzymes like hydrogen peroxide, acidophilin and vitamins, which are very beneficial for you and secreted into the supernatant.
Studies have demonstrated that many of the beneficial properties of probiotics can be attributed to the powerful enzymes and antimicrobial substances in the supernatant. In a 2014 Bacteriocin study, Natren’s NAS super strain was found to have a proven ability to secrete a diverse array of bacteriocins. Bacteriocins are a group of peptides or proteins that have natural antimicrobial activity, thereby eliciting additional probiotic benefits.
This means that it makes sense to buy a probiotic with the supernatant still intact. It provides a natural layer of protection to the bacteria, as well as a number of inherent health benefits. It definitely makes you question why other companies don’t retain this rich, beneficial substance.
Natren’s Superior Processing Method
It’s simple really why the others don’t do this; in order to produce a probiotic with its intrinsic supernatant it requires a superior processing method involving a freeze-dry process that freezes the bacteria and the supernatant within a vacuum, suspending them in an arrested state of growth until you’re ready to take them. The reason that other probiotics aren’t processed this way is because the freeze drying process is an expensive one, if they isolate the bacteria and remove the supernatant they have less volume to freeze dry and therefore less cost associated in completing this step.
So how do they keep the costs down even more? Fillers are added to further reduce costs and make up for lost volume. To the consumer, the price looks very desirable, but what’s left is a less effective and inferior probiotic. Remember, you get what you pay for.
Supernatant Coat of Armor
It doesn’t stop there. After you’ve swallowed your probiotic, it’ll begin its journey though the body. In our previous blog post Supernatent Advantage, we discussed how probiotics do their work in the intestines where the “good bacteria” multiplies and forms colonies along the intestinal walls and, helps the body with the digestion process. However, in order to make it to the intestines, probiotics have to survive your harsh stomach acid in order to work for you.
So how does this happen? The supernatant, after the initial culturing process, carries on protecting the beneficial bacteria by acting as a natural buffer, or coat of armor, to protect them from becoming damaged or even killed. From there, the bacteria continue to flourish and produce large, vibrant and healthy probiotic colonies. Healthy bacterial cells normally cluster together to form a chain as they grow and multiply and each one is counted as one colony forming unit or CFU. This is the measurement of the probiotic’s potency. It’s important to note that what counts is the health of the cluster and not high CFUs, quality over quantity. Vibrant probiotic colonies have a much greater ability to rid the body of undesirable microorganisms.
When you take a probiotic you want to create healthy, vibrant colonies of beneficial bacteria. It makes no sense to do otherwise – the probiotic bacteria have a serious job to do. That’s why Natren is serious about taking every step to produce effective, pharmaceutical grade, quality probiotics without skimping on production costs, so we can deliver those results to benefit you. Don’t just take our word for us. Feel the difference for yourself.