The idea that bacteria are beneficial can be tough to understand. We take antibiotics to kill harmful bacterial infections and use antibacterial soaps and lotions more than ever. The wrong bacteria in the wrong place can cause problems, but the right bacteria in the right place can have vast benefits. This is where probiotics come in. Probiotics are live microorganisms that may be able to help prevent and may be able to assist in the treatment of some illnesses. Promoting a healthy digestive tract and a healthy immune system are their most widely studied benefits at this time. These are also commonly known as friendly, good, or healthy bacteria. Probiotics can be supplied through fermented foods, fermented beverages, and dietary supplements.
The root of the word probiotic comes from the Greek word pro, meaning “promoting,” and bios, meaning “life.” The discovery of probiotics came about in the early 20th century, when Elie Metchnikoff, known as the “father of probiotics,” had observed that rural dwellers in Bulgaria lived to very old ages despite extreme poverty and harsh climate. He theorized that health could be enhanced and senility delayed by manipulating the intestinal microbiome with host-friendly bacteria found in sour milk. Since then, research has continued to support his findings along with suggesting even more benefits.
What exactly do probiotics do? They are believed to protect us in two ways. The first is the role that they play in our digestive tract. We know that our digestive tract needs a healthy balance between the good and bad bacteria. So what gets in the way of this? Our lifestyle is both the problem and the solution. Poor food choices, emotional stress, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, other drugs, and environmental influences can all shift the balance in favor of the bad bacteria.
Research into the benefits of probiotics has been branching out, and new areas are emerging. Preliminary research has linked them to supporting the health of the reproductive tract, oral cavity, lungs, skin and gut-brain axis, and the prevention and treatment of obesity and type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
When the digestive tract is healthy, it filters out and eliminates things that can damage it, such as harmful bacteria, toxins, chemicals, and other waste products. The healthy balance of bacteria assists with the regulation of gastrointestinal motility (movement) and maintenance of gut barrier function. Research has shown some benefits for the use of probiotics for infectious diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, gut transit, IBS, abdominal pain and bloating, ulcerative colitis, Helicobacter pylori infection, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and necrotizing enterocolitis.
The other way that probiotics help is the impact that they have on our immune system. Some believe that this role is the most important. Our immune system is our protection against germs. When it doesn’t function properly, we can suffer from allergic reactions, autoimmune disorders (for example, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis), and infections (for example, infectious diarrhea, H. pylori, skin infections, and vaginal infections). By maintaining the correct balance from birth, we can possibly prevent these ailments. Our immune system can benefit anytime that balance is restored, so it’s never too late.
The recipe has been purposefully designed to be simple and all natural. We have meticulously selected each ingredient for its health promoting attributes, both to humans and to the probiotic strains. flourish is intentionally free of: gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, and carrageenan; it is also vegan and non-GMO. In designing the recipe and formulation, we were very intentional in not only what we put in, but what we left out. Therefore, there are no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no artificial sweeteners, and no preservatives added to our probiotic liquid.
The ingredients are: purified water (reverse osmosis and structured), the probiotic mother culture, and 100% sugarcane molasses (which is organic, non-GMO, non-glyphosated). The molasses is especially noteworthy; we have scoured the world to find the very best molasses, as it is the primary food source for the probiotic strains. The fact that the molasses is non-glyphosated is crucial. Non-glyphosated indicates that it was never treated with glyphosate. Anything sprayed with glyphosate can harbor glyphosate residue. It is believed that glyphosate residue is particularly harmful to the good bacteria, both in the fermentation phase and in the human gut. Therefore, for optimal living conditions for the bacteria, we were diligent to source such specific molasses.
The diverse, carefully selected species of probiotics include:
Lactobacillus – Multiple species
Bifidobacterium – Multiple species
Enterococcus – Multiple species
flourish is best taken on an empty stomach when stomach acid is lower (higher pH). flourish may also be taken after a meal when food and beverage has diluted the stomach acid. These are the most favorable conditions in which to take flourish. However, flourish can safely be consumed any time of the day.
For increased longevity, flourish is best stored in the refrigerator. Storing in the refrigerator also helps tame the natural flavor. For travel purposes or convenience of daily dosing, a bottle can be kept at room temperature for up to four weeks. We do recommend to consume the product within 3 months of opening. Do not expose to temperatures over 100 degrees; temps of 100 degrees will activate the bacteria’s “growth phase” where they become extremely active and will consume all of their food source quickly, ultimately decreasing shelf life. Temperatures of 140 degrees will start to kill the bacteria. Do not freeze the bacteria; the expanding nature of water will damage the bacteria cells. As living organisms, the bacteria cells are similar to human cells in that they are affected by temperature extremes.
Yes. flourish has been safely used in many children of various ages. Probiotics are naturally occurring gut bacteria that need to be present in the human gut. Many cultures consume their beneficial bacteria daily as part of their normal diet. Probiotic supplements are designed to augment and support this natural gut environment, especially in populations where intake of fermented food is low.
Research is showing that probiotics are especially important in children born via Cesarean section. The most important thing to ever happen to your microbiome happens the moment you are born. Babies born vaginally get their first major dose of microbes from their mothers as they pass through the birth canal. These beneficial bacteria include Lactobacillus, which helps breakdown the lactose in milk to make energy. More Lactobacilli colonize the mother’s vagina as her due date nears, ready to jump ship to her baby and help it digest breast milk. Babies delivered via C-section surgery get their first dose of microbes from their mother’s skin and the skin of doctors and nurses in the delivery room. Researchers worry that because C-section infants do not get the bacteria their mothers evolved to give them, it will set these children on the road to poor development. Studies are showing that our native bacteria help train our immune system to recognize friend from foe. Without proper training, the theory goes, the immune system is weak and the body is more likely to overreact to everyday substances like dust and peanuts.
As with any supplement or medication, check with your healthcare practitioner before use if there are underlying or unusual health conditions.
Some clients have seen immediate results within a few days. Others have reported maximum benefit after a few weeks. It mostly depends on the health of one’s gut when starting, if there is an active, ongoing, or previous gut ailment, current or past antibiotic use, and a person's nutritional habits. Many testimonials have been retrospective in nature, in that they look back over time and say, “I don’t get sick near as often” or “I feel better and more energetic.” It is recommended that probiotic supplements should be taken regularly for at least three months to achieve the most extensive whole health benefits.
In designing the recipe and formulation, we were very intentional in not only what we put in, but what we left out. Therefore, there are no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no artificial sweeteners, and no preservatives added to our probiotic liquid. The result is a purely natural product that maintains the rich flavor of molasses, but with an acidic overtone from the lactic acid naturally produced by the bacteria. We have heard from many clients that they mix their daily dose of flourish with a small amount of fruit juice, such as mango, cranberry, orange, apple, or grape. While it is recommended to take on an empty stomach for optimal performance of the probiotics, mixing with small amounts of another beverage is acceptable if needed for hurdling the flavor.
While many clients have experienced immediate results within just a few weeks, others have reported benefits after several months. Still others report not “feeling different” or seeing bowel habits changes, but they do notice over the long term a more robust immune system manifested in avoiding common illnesses (colds, flus) or an enhanced ability to fight an illness (shortened duration, less severity). We are not machines, and everyone is unique in their physiology and gut biome. Research supports the long term health benefits of continuous boosting of the gut microbiome.
The microbiome is an ever changing and evolving environment. It is greatly affected by food intake, nutritional habits, bowel habits, medication use, and over-sanitized lifestyle. Even normal bowel movements can change the gut bacteria daily. Therefore, continuous intake and replacement of good gut bacteria is recommended. Other world cultures eat their beneficial bacteria daily in their normal diets with fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, and kefir. The American diet is not robust with fermented foods containing good gut bacteria; therefore, we need to supplement daily with quality, natural probiotics like flourish.
One may experience mild gas, mild bloating, increased bowel frequency, change in stool consistency, or temporary diarrhea. These are natural consequences in the process of good bacteria taking habitat, restoring balance to the microbiota, improving digestion, and competing with bad bacteria. Many healthcare practitioners agree that temporary loose stools are actually a good indicator of the probiotics working and the bad bacteria exiting the body. However, if prolonged diarrhea (lasting more than a few days) occurs, stop taking flourish and consult with a healthcare practitioner. It is also important to stay well hydrated and drink plenty of water during these periods of bowel habit changes.
While flourish does include natural trace minerals to foster the growth of the good bacterial strains, it does not provide the complete daily dose of all vitamins and minerals for human dosing. Therefore, one can safely continue use of their multivitamin.
Most notably, flourish probiotic is a liquid probiotic, the most natural state for beneficial probiotics to grow and thrive. Most other probiotic products are capsules. (See also What is the difference between liquid and capsule (freeze-dried) probiotics?) flourish contains eleven diverse strains of good gut bacteria, including multiple genera: Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus, Bacillus, and Saccharomyces. This diversity makes flourish unique because the majority of other probiotic products contain strains from only one or two genera, but not all four. The inclusion of a Saccharomyces (yeast) amongst the other genera is also unique. flourish probiotics are fermented in the old-world style using eleven strains of bacteria grown together as a consortium. Our probiotic supplement is kept in its natural [liquid] state along with its prebiotic culture medium (food source) and its naturally produced organic acids, which help the good bacteria to thrive. This provides nutrition and a robust environment for the good bacteria, further ensuring their success. The prebiotic nutrition also feeds the unique probiotic strains that were already present in your gut. flourish probiotic blend includes nutrition that supports your own individual microbiome.
In addition to prebiotics and organic acids, the culture medium provides nutritious vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids. Being able to take one dose that covers probiotics, prebiotics, and organic acids provides peace of mind that the supplement will successfully supply noticeable whole health support.
All probiotics start out as a liquid; they have to be grown as a liquid. To encapsulate the probiotics, they have to be centrifuged to remove most of the liquid (and as a result, the food source and the beneficial metabolites are lost as well). After being centrifuged, the paste is then freeze-dried into a powder. This powder can then be placed into capsules or mixed with other ingredients. In this process, the bacterial strains are grown as single strains and combined only after having undergone centrifugation and freeze-drying; they did not grow together in community. In our liquid flourish, we retain the natural growing state, never centrifuging or freeze-drying. Also, we grow all eleven strains together in a commensal environment. By remaining in the natural liquid state, we retain their food source and all the good metabolites that the beneficial bacteria have produced. Also, by growing commensally, we ensure that the bacteria can thrive together.
Each bottle of flourish contains thirty-two doses. An open bottle stored in the refrigerator should be consumed within three months*. An open bottle stored at room temperature should be consumed within one month.
*Test results show that an unopened bottle stored in the refrigerator still has live probiotics at nine months.
When it comes to CFU’s (colony forming units) in probiotics, more is NOT necessarily better. In addition to quantity, we need quality and synergy. It is clear that probiotic supplementation is vital to support good health, but it is also important to note that not all probiotic supplements are the same. Some that boast “billions and billions” of bacteria may actually supply too many of one strain, causing the immune system to respond to a perceived threat. What is important is how strong and beneficial the strains are. They need to incorporate many complementary strains versus just one or two isolated strains. In addition, they need to provide enzyme activity to aid digestion, reduce inflammation, alleviate toxins and help normalize pH balance in the colon. Another mistake many consumers make is to supplement only with probiotics, while failing to take any prebiotics. Prebiotics are substances that help nourish probiotics and, along with organic acids, encourage the supplemented probiotics to take root. Prebiotics also nourish and feed pre-existing probiotic strains that are completely unique to each individual. Probiotics + Prebiotics = Synbiotics. flourish is the synbiotic blend that incorporates all of the above.
Kombucha is more of a casual, leisure drink. Many people sip on a bottle of kombucha instead of coffee, tea, or Diet Coke as a “daily/habitual” beverage. One of the popular brands of kombucha is labeled to contain 2 billion organisms in one 16 oz. bottle, compared to the minimum of 8 billion organisms in one TBSP. of flourish. You would have to drink four to five entire 16 oz. bottles to get the same “dose” of probiotics that you would get from one tablespoon of flourish. Other brands of kombucha state 4-6 billion CFUs (Colony Forming Units) per bottle; again, lower potency than one tablespoon of flourish.
flourish is a concentrated supplement with a more medicinal dose rather than a leisurely sipping drink. Another significant difference between flourish and kombucha is diversity of strains. flourish contains eleven different strains of beneficial probiotics from five different genera: Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus, Bacillus, and Saccharomyces, whereas most kombuchas contain 2-4 strains. Also, the SCOBY or “mother culture” for kombucha most likely has different strains of bacteria than that of our product; therefore, adding diversity to our gut biome. Could you do both? Absolutely. It is really hard, and quite frankly rare, to overdose on good gut bugs.
The beneficial bacteria in flourish are in their most natural state in this liquid environment. Included in the liquid environment is the food source for the bacteria to continue to live and thrive. As thriving, living probiotics, they continue to live and breathe and metabolize, releasing CO2 which pressurizes in a closed bottle and is released upon opening the cap. As the volume in the bottle decreases, there are fewer probiotics releasing CO2 resulting in more available airspace; therefore, there is less pressure built up. The microorganisms are still alive, they just have more room to breathe.
Similar to kombucha, one would have to consume large servings of yogurt to get comparable levels of the good gut bacteria. Yogurt is a dairy based food, so people with lactose intolerance are not be able to consume yogurt. Most of the yogurt products are not plain yogurt; they have been loaded with added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Research is showing that simple refined sugars actually “feed” the bad gut bacteria and that artificial sweeteners are harmful to good gut bacteria. Most yogurts contain some sort of modified food starch or corn starch. Unless stated otherwise, these starches are most likely genetically modified (GMO), since most corn in the United Stated has been genetically modified. New (and ongoing) research is suggesting that genetically modified foods might have a negative impact on the gut biome. It is also important to note that most yogurts contain only Lactobacillus strains, not the diversity of strains contained within flourish.
Absolutely. Sugar and simple refined starches “feed” the bad gut bacteria, making it more difficult for the good gut bacteria to get a foothold and take up residence. New research is also suggesting that wheat, more specifically the proteins of gluten and gliadin contained within, has harmful effects on both the good gut bacteria and the intestinal wall lining. Other studies indicate that wheat contributes to the growth of bad bacteria. One can begin to feed the good guys by reducing or eliminating sugar, simple refined starches, and wheat, and replacing them with vegetables, seeds, and fruits such as: psyllium seed husks, ground flax, chia seeds, prunes, berries, tree nuts, legumes, cabbages, onions, mushrooms, non-starchy greens, and colorful root vegetables.
Humans were designed to have [good] bacteria living in the gut. Generations of worldly cultures have safely consumed fermented foods (containing multitudes of beneficial bacteria) along with various medications. That being said, clients should consult a healthcare practitioner if they are concomitantly using any prescription medication. Because good gut bacteria can improve digestion, some medications may be altered by such improved digestion. For example, improved/increased gut bacteria can alter the digestion and uptake of carbohydrates, which can in turn have a [beneficial] impact on blood sugar, thus, changing the requisite diabetic medication regimen. Probiotics can safely be used in diabetics, but close monitoring of blood sugars for the first few weeks is recommended. We also recommend taking flourish at separate times from diabetic meds; for instance, take diabetic meds at breakfast and evening meal while taking flourish at noon or bedtime.
Since probiotics contain live microorganisms, concurrent administration of antibiotics could kill a large number of the organisms, reducing the efficacy of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species. Clients should be instructed to separate administration of antibiotics from probiotics by at least two hours. Similarly, Saccharomyces might interact with antifungals, reducing the efficacy of this probiotic. Probiotics should also be used cautiously in those taking immunosuppressants, such as cyclosporine, tacrolimus, azathioprine, and chemotherapeutic agents, since some probiotics could cause an infection or pathogenic colonization in immunocompromised people. Consult a healthcare practitioner if there are questions.
Using the old-world, traditional fermentation style allows the bacteria to regulate the pH in their environment. Lactobacilli are named as such because they produce lactic acid, which lowers the pH. During the fermentation process, we do not chemically alter the pH as some other commercial processes do. Therefore, the consortium is allowed to reach its desired pH, which ranges from 3.2-3.5. The human stomach fluctuates between pH 1.5-3.5 depending on physiologic state, fasted or fed.
An empty stomach has an approximate pH of 3.5. As such, flourish probiotics can survive quite well in the empty stomach because that is the environment in which they were grown. The strains included in flourish are known to be hearty, resilient survivors of the stomach environment. Also, several of our bacterial strains are spores formers, which allow them to pass unscathed through the stomach and reach the intestines where they are active. See also “A Scientific Literature Review of the flourish Species” by Lydia Marcus for more information.
Yes, we utilize independent, third-party testing laboratories to test for both good bacteria and bad bacteria. These labs ensure that we have a minimum colony forming units of the beneficial bacteria. We also confirm the absence of harmful bacteria, most notably: E. coli O157, Salmonella, Listeria, mold, and Staph aureus.
flourish probiotics are sold as dietary supplements, which do not require FDA approval before they are marketed. Dietary supplement labels may make claims about how the product affects the structure or function of the body without FDA approval, but they cannot make health claims (claims that the product reduces the risk of a disease) without the FDA’s consent.