I decided to do a blog mini-series on the ingredients of key products and supplements that I use with my family. I find it astonishing how many people blindly apply to their skin, ingest, inject and inhale products without ever having read or taken the time to learn about the ingredients.
Granted, I am definitely guilty of occasionally doing this myself and so I’m making a conscious effort to really understand what I bring into my home. I spent a few hours this weekend totally nerding it out and reading scientific abstracts. Be assured I won’t reference any random health blogger or profit-seeking corporation info (even though I shamelessly do represent this brand).
This first post is going to be about PB Assist Jr., a probiotic I give to my son and personally use on a regular basis. Yup, I take a kid’s probiotic because it just tastes so darn good that I crave it and thus never forget to take it 🙂
And this is why I don’t want to forget to take my probiotics or give them to my son:
“There is increasing evidence in favour of the claims of beneficial effects attributed to probiotics, including improvement of intestinal health, enhancement of the immune response, reduction of serum cholesterol, and cancer prevention. ” (Source)
In addition to the 5 billion live cells of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains in this probiotic formula, and the fructo-oliogosaccharide prebiotic, this product includes:
Xylitol and erythritol: these are known as “polyols”, “sugar alcohols” or “indigestible sugars”. They are safer sweeteners with side benefits. For example, xylitol can apparently reduce blood glucose, trygliceride and cholesterol levels (source and source). It’s been studied a lot in the context of dentistry as it has been shown to have beneficial effects on the oral flora, reduces the accumulation of dental plaque, promotes mineralization by increasing the flow of saliva and decreases the risk of caries in children (source).
(Note: xylitol, and to a lesser degree erythritol, can cause gastro-intestinal disturbances in some people and xylitol should be avoided by those on the FODMAPs diet. Eating fiber at the same time can help prevent this. Also, know that this issue will go away as soon as you stop consumption.)
Silica: silica is a food additive and acts as an excipient for drugs and vitamins. I didn’t know what “excipient” meant either so I googled some definitions and found that it’s an inactive substance that confers a therapeutic enhancement, such as facilitating the absorption or enhancing the solubility of something. So it sounds like it’s basically helping something work better.
There’s data to suggest that silica is actually essential for health but there is no established RDI. Deficiency induces deformities the skull and peripheral bones (yikes!), poorly formed joints, reduced contents of cartilage, collagen and disruption of mineral balance in some bones (source).
Citric acid: citric acid is found in fruit and also acts as an excipient due to its antioxidant properties (source).
And well, there’s natural strawberry melon flavor… I’m sure that’s what has me addicted to this product (lol). This information is likely proprietary so I’ll have to trust in the good faith of the company for this one.
I hope this was helpful! These ingredients are in many other natural health products so now you know what they do 😉