Western lifestyle takes a heavy toll on the good bacteria in our gut. Frequent consumption of things like antibiotics, coffee, alcohol and sugar as well as certain artificial additives and preservatives tends to reduce their chances of survival.

How do good gut bacteria replenish?
Taking probiotic supplements is one way to increase the amount of benign bacteria you have in your gut, eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi is another. Using both supplements and fermented foods together gives the best results, although supplements alone will go a long way. In any event, it is important for supplements to be of of high quality and to meet a number of conditions.

What to look for in a probiotic supplement
First of all, any supplement must be formulated so that the bacteria can survive the acid in your stomach. Since one of the main functions of stomach acid is to kill any bacteria we swallow, it can also kill the good intestinal bacteria in probiotics. Fortunately, some strains are resistant to stomach acid and there are also capsules which are gastric acid resistant and do not open until they arrive in the intestine. The latter are easily the best delivery mechanism for probiotics. 

Overall, the ideal probiotic supplement has a wide variety of bacterial strains and the right capsule to protect them.

Diversity of bacterial strains
A good probiotic will increase the amount of viable bacteria which live in the gut. Different strains of bacteria have different properties. Some of them help with specific aspects of digestion, others in the defense against pathogenic bacteria and viruses. Still others restore the intestinal wall. It’s important that your supplement takes these facts into account.

Benefits of probiotics
The use of probiotics will contribute to proper digestion, to the repair of the intestinal wall and to the improvement of the immune system. The effect of gut bacteria in improving the immune system is more extensive than most people realise. Currently, indications are emerging in medical science that good gut bacteria can help us resist conditions such as influenza, sinusitis, asthma, lung infections and COPD. 

In other words, taking quality probiotics with multiple strains can have a much broader effect on your health than just improving your intestine.