If you are like me, you have heard of probiotics, but may not know everything about them. I know they are good for you, but to what extent, I don’t know. While at Expo West last month, I met up with Stephanie from CredibleCravings. This company has created organic whole food bars, jammed pack with nutrients for moms. These bars were created for women, specifically for before, during, and after pregnancy. These bars can be eaten by anyone, but they contain specific ingredients for women who are expecting and breastfeeding.
CredibleCravings’ mission is to educate the community about the importance of good perinatal nutrition, to provide healthy, natural products that promote the health of mom and baby, and to inspire a healthful community who shares in their passion to promote the wholesome well-being of their future. In my conversations with Stephanie we started talking about probiotics and why they are in their bars. In order to educate women and those that are interested in learning more about probiotics, I am going to share info created by CredibleCravings.
What are probiotics and why did we include them in our bars?
Probiotics are live, “good” bacteria that populate the gut and provide health benefits to our bodies. As humans, we share our bodies with trillions of bacteria that are introduced to our digestive system in utero. Believe it or not, this is a good thing! Healthy bacteria work together with our body to support our own immune system, help our bodies digest and utilize nutrients and even protect us from harmful, disease-producing bacteria1.
Our goal at CredibleCravings is to help mothers create a nourishing environment for a growing baby by maintaining optimal health during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Backed up by evidence from a number of studies, we feel that the addition of a probiotic during this time will help meet this goal. The added stress on the body during pregnancy can alter the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut, which can have negative health consequences on the body. As a result, we feel that supporting women with probiotics during pregnancy and breastfeeding is an important step towards enhancing the health of not only the mother, but also her growing baby2. Refer to the studies section for more detailed information on the health benefits of probiotics during pregnancy and breastfeeding!
What probiotic is included in our CredibleCravings bar?
We specifically chose to include GanedenBC30 (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086) in our bars due to its U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) awarded Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status and safety and efficacy proven in seventeen peer-reviewed studies3-5. GanedenBC30 has many properties that make it an ideal choice for incorporating into food products. A protective shield around its genetic core allows it to survive against rigorous manufacturing processes and acidity from the stomach and also retain its activity without refrigeration. In sticking with our all natural product, Ganeden BC30 is also lactose-free, kosher, and a non-GMO probiotic ingredient5.
What is the probiotic dosage in our CredibleCravings bar and can I take supplemental probiotics in addition to your bar?
Each CredibleCravings bar contains 1 billion CFU of Bacillus coagulans. Studies have shown that GanedenBC30 is safe for chronic consumption at up to 93.8 billion CFU per day3. So, do not be afraid to consume more than one CredibleCravings bar per day in case your cravings get the best of you! GanedenBC30 is also safe to take with other supplemental strains of probiotics. In fact, we encourage the addition of probiotic food sources to your diet such as kefir, sauerkraut, or yogurt.
What is the research saying about probiotics during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
Probiotics can have protective effects on pregnancy complications.
Pregnancy is associated with an increase in pro-inflammatory markers, which can result in a number of pregnancy complications. This includes pre-eclampsia, which is a condition associated with high blood pressure during pregnancy, and gestational diabetes. Large observational studies and randomized control trials (RCTs) have shown that probiotics can reduce the incidence of pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, likely as a result of reducing inflammation associated with pregnancy2.
Probiotics used during pregnancy and breastfeeding can reduce the incidence of childhood eczema.
In a RCT of 415 pregnant women in Norway, probiotic use starting at 36 weeks gestation and continuing until 3 months after birth reduced the incidence of eczema by 40% in children at 2 years of age6. This was the first study that showed preventative effects when the mother alone was given probiotics vs. giving the probiotic directly to the infant. Another study from the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology showed similar results of with significant reductions of eczema in infants whose mothers supplemented with probiotics during the last 2 months of pregnancy and the first 2 months of breastfeeding7. This study included only mothers with a history of allergic disease and or atopic sensitization and found no adverse effects related to the use of probiotics7. While neither of these studies showed a significant reduction in asthma or allergies, ongoing trials with longer probiotic use during pregnancy are currently underway to hopefully shed more light on these potential benefits.
Maternal diet can affect the immune system of the growing baby.
Research is providing exciting new information on probiotic use during pregnancy and breastfeeding and its effects on the immune system of the growing baby! Current studies suggest that your gut bacterial makeup early in life can affect your health later in life by influencing the development of your gastrointestinal tract (GI) lining8. New findings have also found that bacterial growth in the GI tract may start earlier than originally thought! Previous thought was that growing babies were introduced to bacteria during birth; however, recent studies have demonstrated that a growing baby is populated with their mother’s gastrointestinal bacteria in the womb8. The importance of this finding was highlighted in a recent study that found bacteria in the womb are affecting a growing baby’s immune system gene expression and that immune function can be altered by maternal dietary habits1. This means that a growing baby’s immune system may be positively affected by the mother’s diet, including the use of probiotics9!
Probiotics can improve the immune function of mom.
Probiotics and healthy gut flora can help train your immune system to defend against harmful bacteria. In vitro studies on bacillus coagulans: GBI-30, (the probiotic found our CredibleCravings bar!), show that components of bacillus coagulans: GBI-30 possess the ability to change your immune function via anti-inflammatory effects. This information shows the ability of bacillus coagulans to support the immune system and sparks future inquiry on how these anti-inflammatory effects might help treat inflammatory conditions such as irritable bowel disease (IBS)10.
~ Rebecca Hodgson, PharmD
1. Rautava, S, et al. Probiotics modulate host-‐microbe interaction in the placenta and fetal gut: A randomized, double-‐blind, placebo-‐controlled trial. Neonatology. 2012;102:178-‐184.
2. Lindsay KL, et al. Probiotics in pregnancy and maternal outcomes: A systemic review. J Matern Fetal Nenatal Med. 2013. Early Online: 1-‐7.
3. Endres, JR, et al. One-‐year chronic oral toxicity with combined reproduction toxicity study of a novel probiotic, Bacillus coagulans, as a food ingredient. Food and Chem Toxicol. 2011;49(5):1174-‐1182.
4. Endres, JR, et al. Safety assessment of a proprietary preparation of a novel Probiotic, Bacillus coagulans, as a food ingredient. Food Chem Toxicol. 2009;47(6):1231-‐1238.
5. http://www.ganedenlabs.com, accessed on 3/6/2013
6. Dotterud, CK, et al. Probiotics in pregnant women to prevent allergic disease: A randomized, double-‐blind trial. BJD. 2010;163:616-‐623.
7. Rautava, S, et al. Maternal probiotic supplementation during pregnancy and breast-‐feeding reduces the risk of eczema in the infant. J Allery Clin Immunol. 2012;130(6):1355-‐60.
8. Thum, C, et al. Can nutritional modulation of maternal intestinal microbiota influence the development of the infact gastrointestinal tract? J. Nutr. 2012;142(11):1921-‐8.
9. Jenmalm, MC, et al. Timing of allergy-‐preventive and immunomodulatory dietary interventions-‐are prenatal, perinatal, or postnatal strategies optimal? 2013;43(3):273-‐8.
10. Jensen, GS, et al. GanedenBC30 cell wall and metabolites: Anti-‐inflammatory and immune modulating effects in vitro. BMC Immunology. 2010;11:15.
I wish I had had this information when I was pregnant. I plan on increasing my intake of probiotics in my general diet. If you are interested in learning more, check out CredibleCravings. I will be doing a review and giveaway later this month. If you have any questions for CredibleCravings, feel free to leave them in the comments and I will pass them onto the nutritionists behind CredibleCravings.
Did you learn something new? Do you take probiotics?