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Did you know that among adults, probiotics or prebiotics were the third most commonly used supplements other than vitamins and minerals?
People take probiotics for different reasons, but the main one is associated with gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, bloating, and constipation, which often occurs due to an imbalance of microbes in your gut.
Like other probiotics, Mary Ruth’s liquid probiotic is designed to help support a healthy microbiome and digestive tract, and it does so with a blend of 12 probiotic strains.
Is this probiotic effective? This is what we’re going to find out below.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are a combination of live bacteria and/or yeasts that naturally live in the body.
Even though bacteria are often seen in a negative light, you actually have two types of bacteria present in your body — good bacteria and bad bacteria.
Probiotics are made up of good bacteria that are meant to keep your body healthy, and more importantly, maintain the equilibrium of your microbiome by fighting off bad bacteria.
The microbiome contains a diverse community of organisms that cooperate to keep your body healthy, namely:
- Fungi (and yeasts)
- and Protozoa.
Each person’s microbiome is different, which means no two individuals have the same microbial population. Also, for a microbe to be a probiotic, it needs to have several characteristics, including:
- Must survive in your intestine after ingestion
- Be isolated from a human
- Must have a benefit to you
- Has to be safely consumed.
Although there are many types of bacteria that can be classified as probiotics, there are two types of bacteria that you’ll find across different food products and supplements.
These are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, which are the most researched forms of bacteria.
Allow me to point out that probiotics also contain good yeast and the most common type of yeast you will find in probiotics is called Saccharomyces Boulardii.
What’s In Mary Ruth’s Probiotic?
A bottle of Mary Ruth’s probiotics contains an organic proprietary probiotic blend that contains the following bacteria:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus plantarum.
- Lactococcus lactis, Streptococcus thermophilus.
- Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Bifidobacterium infantis, Bifidobacterium breve, and Bifidobacterium longum.
It’s important to note that within each genus of bacteria, you have different species, and some species might be more beneficial than others.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a type of bacteria found in your intestines.
It’s often to referred to as L. acidophilus or simply acidophilus, and its name is indicative of what it produces— lactic acid. It does this by producing an enzyme called lactase, which is able to break down lactose, a sugar found in milk, into lactic acid.
L. acidophilus is a probiotic that has been extensively studied, and some evidence suggests it may provide an array of health benefits.
Two studies suggest that L. acidophilus may be the most effective at reducing cholesterol. 1,2
One six-week study showed that taking L. acidophilus alongside another probiotic lowered total and LDL cholesterol, but also HDL cholesterol. 3
However, there is also a similar study showing that L.acidophilus had no effect. 4 Plus, it was a study done on actual volunteers, and not in vitro.
There’s also some evidence that L. acidophilus may be effective at preventing traveler’s diarrhea, particularly when combined with B. bifidum and saccharomyces boulardii. 5
L. acidophilus is also touted for being effective at reducing IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms, however, that was only in combination with B. lactis (which is also included in this supplement). 6
There are also studies that closely examine how L. acidophilus can treat colds in children.
In one study with 326 children, six months of daily L. acidophilus reduced fever by 53%, coughing by 41%, antibiotic use by 68%, and days absent from school by 32%. 7
In other words, L.acidophilus may be helpful in different ways, and it’s particularly effective if used in combination with other probiotics.
Lactobacillus Rhamnosus is also referred to as L. rhamnosus or simply rhamnosus and it is a type of bacteria that generally inhabits your intestines.
Some studies show that L. rhamnosus may be particularly effective in treating diarrhea.
In fact, a review of 12 studies in 1,499 people found that supplementing with a specific strain called L. rhamnosus GG reduced the risk of antibiotic-related diarrhea from 22.4% to 12.3%. 8
L. rhamnosus is not only effective against antibiotic-related diarrhea— since it also seems to have an effect on other forms of diarrhea such as traveler’s diarrhea, acute watery diarrhea, and acute gastroenteritis-related diarrhea. 9, 10, 11
L. rhamnosus is also a type of bacteria that can aid your gut health by preventing Candida albicans, a form of harmful bacteria, from colonizing your intestine walls. 12
As the name suggests, Lactobacillus Salivarius is a type of bacteria prevalent in saliva, and it is responsible for metabolizing carbohydrates to produce organic acids such as lactic acid and acetic acid.
These are substances that inhibit the growth and spread of harmful bacteria that can cause infection and disease, and because it is the main bacteria in our mouth, it’s important for maintaining dental hygiene.
L. salivarius can create a type of bacteriocin (an antimicrobial substance) that can protect against infection of invasive pathogens in food. Some studies suggest that L. salivarius can protect against Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria responsible for gum disease. 13
L. salivarius, according to existing evidence, can improve bacterial populations in the mouth, reducing the development or accumulation of gum plaque, also increasing resistance to the risk factors for dental caries. 14
Lactobacillus Casei can also be referred to as L. casei or casei, and it seems to have the potential in regulating the digestive system.
A study from 2007 studied a probiotic drink containing L. casei, L. bulgaricus, and S. thermophiles concluded that the combination of those bacterial strains can reduce the incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and C. difficile-associated diarrhea. 15
A more recent clinical trial in 2014 found that L. casei can help alleviate symptoms and improve inflammatory cytokines in women with RA (rheumatoid arthritis). 16
However, more evidence is required until we can fully determine L. casei’s effects.
Also referred to as L. Plantarum or Plantarum, Lactobacillus Plantarum is a bacteria that inhabits the human gut, saliva, and it is also present in certain foods, namely plant-based foods.
L. plantarum appears to be a highly resistant bacteria because it can withstand a variety of temperatures, in fact, it can survive in any environment between 1-60 degrees Celsius, and is also able to adapt and survive in a wide scale of atmospheric pressures.
A major benefit associated with L. Plantarum is that it has the ability to repair the intestinal lining, and it does so through mannose-specific adhesions, which allow it to compete with both gram-positive and gram-negative pathogenic strains for receptor sites.
L. Plantarum also provides valuable nutrients in the mucosal membrane, which means that it can excrete anti-microbial substances that help stop pathogenic colonies from forming the gut. 17
While Lactococcus Lactis is related to other lactic acid bacteria (like L. acidophilus) that colonize the intestines and mouth, L. lactis does not colonize human tissue. 18
L. lactis has an antibiotic substance called nisin, which fights a variety of gram-positive bacteria, including food-borne pathogens such as Listeria, Staphylococcus, and Clostridium.
However, the most important use of L. lactis is in boosting the immune system.
For instance, L. lactis can be particularly effective in delivering antigens that stimulate mucosal immunity and create resistance against pneumococcal respiratory infections. 19
Additionally, it also seems to protect against non-respiratory pathogens, such as HIV, the Human papilloma virus, and the malarial parasite.
By itself, Streptococcus Thermophilus doesn’t seem to be particularly beneficial, but studies show that used in combination with other probiotics such as B. bifidum, L. plantarum, and L. paracasei, it’s beneficial.
Combined with these strains, Streptococcus Thermophilus has been found to improve the symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and diarrhea.
It is also a bacteria that facilitates the digestion of lactose, reducing the symptoms associated with lactose intolerance.
Also referred to as B. bifidum, Bifidobacterium Bifidum has been quite popular in the last few years, but a lot of the research around it is limited.
However, there are several high-quality studies that suggest B. bifidum is quite promising in relieving certain conditions, including IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
A 2011 randomized control trial of 122 people found that B. bifidum may help lower symptoms of IBS, in which 47% of the subjects taking the probiotic reported significant relief from symptoms. 20
Several studies on human tissue cells also demonstrate that B. bifidum might improve immunity.
For instance, one study shows that some strains of this bacteria can influence the immune system by recruiting white blood cells to fight off infection, whilst others can reduce inflammation by recruiting fewer white blood cells. 21
Lastly, a randomized trial of 112 pregnant women suggests that B. bifidum may play a role in preventing eczema in their babies. 22
Bifidobacterium Lactis or B. lactis is a multi-purpose probiotic bacteria that inhabit the gut.
Some studies suggest that B. lactis can fight cancerous tumors, and it does so by increasing tumoricidal activities in the body, which fight off tumors. 23
Studies on mice also show that B. lactis might have preventative effects for colitis-associated cancer and acute colitis. 24
However, more evidence is required to determine whether it’s actually beneficial in that sense.
Bifidobacterium Infantis, as the name slightly suggests, is one of the most abundant probiotic species in the bodies of breast-fed babies, particularly because it’s passed on to them through breast milk.
Research demonstrates that organisms in breast milk are vital to nourish a baby’s gut bacteria, and the most important of them all is B. infantis, which is the only strain that can fully break down the sugars in breast milk.
However, B. infantis can also be beneficial to the gut and digestive function of adults. In fact, a study published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics suggested that B. infantis can help to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, such as abdominal pain, gas, and bloating. 25
Bifidobacterium Breve or B. breve is best known as a probiotic for babies and young children. Even though it’s also present in adults, it’s more abundant in infants.
For adults, one of the most notable effects of B. breve is its ability to prevent skin dryness while also improving gut function and elimination of toxins. 26
Children, on the other end, can take advantage of B. breve’s anti-allergy benefits— in fact, supplementation to pre-term infants has been shown to trigger an anti-inflammatory response which may help reduce allergic reactions later in their life. 27
Another benefit associated with B. breve is its ability to reduce symptoms like constipation and diarrhea, especially in young children. 28
Bifidobacterium Longum, like other Bifidobacterium bacteria, is mostly present in the gastrointestinal tract and vagina.
Being a rather versatile and resistant probiotic, B. longum is able to survive harsh conditions in the gut, so it’s not affected by stomach acid, bile, pH fluctuations, or the passage through the gastrointestinal tract.
Studies show that it has a powerful effect on the immune system, helping the body’s defenses fight against malevolent pathogens. It seems to be particularly important for elderly people because it boosts their immune response. 29
B. longum has also been shown to help prevent constipation, reduce inflammation caused by certain bowel conditions, prevent high cholesterol levels, and prevent the development of certain allergies.
For instance, B. longum has been reported to provide relief from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms without the negative side effects of pharmaceutical medications. 30
This is a novel bacterial strain, but it is tied to many different benefits.
How Much Does It Cost?
One bottle of liquid probiotic contains 20 servings for $44.95, or $2.24 per serving. That is a bit expensive for a probiotic; especially when compared to other probiotics that cost between $0.67 and $1 per serving.
Is Mary Ruth’s Probiotic Effective?
Mary Ruth’s liquid probiotic supplement seems to have a good variety of probiotic strains that have moderate-decent evidence for their benefits and potential side effects.
Because it is delivered in liquid form, Mary Ruth’s probiotic can be digested quickly and effortlessly, which means its effects can also be felt sooner. This is the case for most liquid supplements.
Having a variety of probiotic strains in a supplement means that you may experience different benefits, including a more proactive immune system that is able to fight off infections more efficiently. If you’re someone that suffers from digestive issues such as IBS, it’s also possible that you may experience relief from taking this supplement.
However, allow me to also point out that this probiotic is more expensive than most, and it contains fewer servings than most. Therefore, if you’re someone that can’t afford $44.95 for a probiotic, then you should definitely look for a more affordable option.
Editor’s note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The content of our articles is not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or a certified medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet, or exercise routine, or trying a new supplement.
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