We get a lot of questions about the probiotic in our Superfood & Probiotic Supplements so we thought we’d take a few minutes to answer the most frequent ones and to tell you why our specific probiotic is so special and so beneficial to the health of cats and dogs.
First the basics
Of all the probiotics currently available on the market, the bacterial strain we chose, Ganeden BC30 (Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086), is among the most widely studied with over 25 peer-reviewed scientific papers. Some of the notable findings from that research state that Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086:
And now to your frequently asked questions!
Q: What are the overall benefits of probiotics?
The microbiota of people and pets play a number of pivotal roles in maintaining good health, including improved immunity, reducing the risk of infections, and ensuring healthy digestion.
During periods of stress or sickness, when we take medication (especially antibiotics), and even as we age, our microbiota change, and in many cases, some of the healthy bacteria we carry are replaced by more nasty ones.
There have been thousands of scientific studies linking an unhealthy microbiota with disease states as varied as cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, allergies, and more.
Probiotics are “live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on to the host,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). “Consuming probiotics help promote good health in any animal, including humans, cats and dogs.”
In plain language, this means that consuming probiotics—which are also known as friendly bacteria—help promote good health in any animal host, including both humans and pets.
Q: Aren’t probiotics all about digestion?
Dogs and cats benefit greatly from probiotics – and not just for digestion. A pet’s immune system is greatly influenced by the digestive tract. And likewise, when the gut is devoid of healthy bacteria – aka, probiotics – poor digestion is only one of the many negative health issues that can arise.
Q: I already feed my dog/cat really good food, why would I need a probiotic?
The problem of poor gut health in companion animals is rooted in pet food.
Commercial pet food is processed food, and any healthy “live” bacteria inside the food is killed in production. There are also studies proving that bisphenol-A, or BPA, is detrimental for the gut. For human food, BPA is slowly being eliminated from packaging, but in pet food, we are still far away from seeing the end of BPA-lined cans and other packaging. (That said, rest assured that none of Because Animals’ compostable, human-grade packaging contain BPA!)
Q: I feed my pet a raw diet, so I don’t need to worry about probiotics, do I?
A raw meat diet is all the more reason for a probiotic. Probiotics help maintain a normal balance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. Even though raw meat may harbor some healthy bacteria, raw meat also contains many pathogenic bacteria (such as Salmonella and Listeria) that can make your pet sick. Among the extraordinary benefits of probiotics is that they can combat pathogenic bacteria, which means that supplementing your pet’s diet with healthy microbes can decrease the chance that your pet will become ill from eating a raw diet.
At the very least, probiotics should be used to transition your pet to a raw diet.
Q: This is a human-grade probiotic, but is that right for a dog? Don’t dogs and humans have very different digestive tracts?
Interestingly, research has shown that dogs have very similar microbiomes to humans. Here is a recent paper demonstrating that. The amazing thing about the microbiome - whether in dogs, humans, or any other animal - is that bacterial compositions vary remarkably between individuals (even within the same species!) depending on diet and the environment. Overweight humans have more similar microbiomes to one another and to overweight dogs, and lean humans have more similar microbiomes to one another and to lean dogs.
All of which is to say that the human microbiome and the changes that occur can be predictive of what we see in dogs. So if we know that a given probiotic benefits humans, the chances are very good that it will also benefit dogs!
Q: Don’t probiotics need to be refrigerated?
Yes, some do, but Bacillus coagulans GBI-30, 6086 is a spore-forming (vs. vegetative) probiotic that is highly stable with a naturally protective outer layer. It can survive most manufacturing processes, it can survive the low pH of the stomach and it has a 3-year shelf life and does not require refrigeration.
Q: What exactly makes your probiotic different than ones that need to be refrigerated?
There are two types of probiotics on the market: vegetative strains, which are more fragile and require refrigeration, and spore-forming strains. GanedenBC30 is a spore-forming probiotic that has a naturally-protective outer layer, which means it can survive most processing conditions as well as the path to the gut, allowing it to provide the desired health benefits:
To be more specific, vegetative cells such as Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium are:
Q: How many million probiotics are in your supplement?
There are over 250 million active probiotics per gram of the supplement.
PHOTO CREDIT: Well Pet Coach