Strains Matter

When probiotics first arrived on the scene, advertising stressed their ability to help maintain “regularity.” Soon after, it became clear that the benefits of probiotics also included immunity, since 70 percent of the body’s immune function resides in the gut. It was logical. And it was relatively simple.

Today, research shows that the state of the microbiome affects systems far beyond the gut, and that different types of bacteria perform different roles in the body. For example, research shows that Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 supports digestion by reducing diarrhea, cramping and vomiting among the lactose intolerant. On the other hand, Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM—the same genus and species but a different strain—has shown to support the immune system by reducing fever, cough and runny nose.