Health and Wellness >> Probiotic Drinks and What You Should Know
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Improper digestive system flora is a major contributor to obesity and chronic health issues.
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About 2 years ago, I started doing research on various products on the market that are designed for improving people's health. I have learned that there are different standards related to FDA Approved supplements vs. Medical Foods, which do not require FDA Approval, but are supposed to be administered and monitored by a Medical Professional, i.e. your medical doctor. I have found different companies sell Medical Foods without medical supervision and I have found products that are not FDA Approved, in spite the fact that they are being sold and require FDA Approval. And since they are not a company that resides in the US, it doesn't seem to concern the FDA. Since I have taken the time to discover these things for myself and my practice base and I choose to share the information through this forum, I continue to research other products on the market. Today I will look at DanActive, a "probiotic formula yogurt drink" designed to strengthen your Immune defenses.
DanActive, found at www.danactive.com has a wealth of information, some being interactive and some a short movie discussing the benefits of why DanActive are important. The movie and the website give basic information without getting too technical and the premise of the probiotic is sound. As always, knowing a little bit about the topic and the importance of using probiotics, along with what happens once a probiotic is taken into the body, they have some good educational information on their site. Overall, I would say the site offers information that can educate a person about the need for antibiotics with the exception of discussing the major contributor for the need of a product such as DanActive for your probiotic needs.
The main ingredient they discuss on the site and what makes this product unique is a "special bacteria" called L. casei Immunitas. The site states the following:
Even if we do not notice it, our body's natural defenses are weakened everyday by several challenges such as cold weather and stress (psychological or physiological). However, we manage to live a healthy active life.
How do we do that?
Nature has given our body a complex system of barriers and defense mechanisms to fight bacteria, ultimately helping protect us. However, this natural defense system can undergo cyclic variations and is often influenced by the way we live.
There are obviously many things that you can do to help strengthen your body's defenses*: keeping up physical exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, a healthy lifestyle and ensuring sufficient rest are all important. However, now there is also a new natural ally for your body's defenses*: a probiotic drink called DanActive.
DanActive with L. casei Immunitasâ„¢ is a new generation of probiotic drinks, developed by Danone Vitapole. DanActive has a delicious fresh taste, liked by everyone in the family. Taken every day, DanActive can help strengthen your body's defenses. And DanActive's fresh and delicious taste makes it a natural ally in your body's daily effort to help strengthen you from the inside.
DanActive and the barrier effect
DanActive contains a unique culture called the L. casei Immunitasâ„¢. DanActive is believed to have a positive effect on the balance of your intestinal bacteria. A balanced intestinal microflora acts as a barrier against colonization of harmful bacteria. As a matter of fact, the extent to which DanActive can help strengthen our natural defenses has been subject to several scientific research studies around the world.
The healthy start for the day
In the morning, as part of your breakfast, when the whole family gets ready to face the day, DanActive seems to be just the perfect complement to a naturally healthy start. DanActive is a conventional food with a specific benefit to our natural defenses. DanActive can be consumed by everyone: children 3 years or older, adults and seniors, as part of a varied and balanced diet. DanActive comes in 5 delicious flavors: Strawberry, Vanilla, Blueberry, Cranberry Raspberry and Plain.
What exactly is L. casei Immunitasâ„¢?
L. casei Immunitasâ„¢ (scientifically known as L. casei strain DN-114-001) is the marketing name of the natural probiotic culture: a living microorganism which upon ingestion in sufficient numbers exerts health benefits beyond basic nutrition. The specific strain L. casei Immunitasâ„¢ was selected by the Danone Vitapole research center for its resistance to gastric juices and its beneficial effect on the defense system of our body.
What is the difference between L. casei Immunitasâ„¢ and other yogurt cultures?
The probiotic culture L. casei Immunitasâ„¢ is, in comparison to other yogurt cultures, more resistant to the stomach acid and is therefore getting in a high concentration in the intestine, where about 70% of the body's immune cells are located. Once there, DanActive with L. casei Immunitasâ„¢ can help strengthen our body's defenses.
This special bacteria, which can only be found in their product is needed for the body to replace the friendly bacteria that get destroyed by stress. Nowhere on their site do they discuss antibiotics and the need for probiotics as a result of that therapy. They simply state, "Even if we do not notice it, our body's natural defenses are weakened everyday by several challenges such as cold weather and stress (psychological or physiological). However, we manage to live a healthy active life." Cold weather and stress of either kind are not the main reason for difficulties with our digestive health. The effects of those are minimal compared to the way we deal with those forms of stress. All of us will at some point or another reach for refined and processed sugar as a result of feeling stress, simply because eating sugar satiates our self-esteem by stimulating our taste buds and our stomach/spleen/pancreas meridians. In combination and certainly after the ingestion of antibiotics, this causes an imbalance in the digestive flora. That is the main culprit in having the need for a probiotic. But is DanActive really the best choice?
Appreciating what helps to feed the imbalance associated with antibiotic ingestion, and knowing that sugar is that main culprit, adding sugar to the DanActive does something interesting. Simply, the sugar de-activates the probiotic and does not allow for the L. casei Immunitas probiotic to work, as the sugar destroys the friendly bacteria. DanActive has several different flavors, 7 in fact. And the addition of flavoring will render the product ineffective. So in spite of the fact that you will have a feel good experience in your mouth while drinking the DanActive, the long-term effects of such a product will not produce the effects you are looking for. More importantly, using this product over time will most likely feed the imbalance created by the antibiotic therapy and cause you body to continue down the long road to health issues.
What's also interesting is the second company product put out by Dannon under a different name with a different strain of "healthy bacteria." This is the product called Activia; with information available at www.Activia.us.com . This site of course has the association with the actress, Jamie Lee Curtis, and her endorsement of the product. Since she is a semi-popular actress from the 80's and 90's, I'm guessing that generation would feel a certain level of trust associated with her. After all, she's healthy looking and spunky, which is what every baby boomer desires, right?
So what does the site claim?
Activia® is Unique. Activia® is a great-tasting low fat yogurt from Dannon® that contains Bifidus Regularis, a natural probiotic culture that can help regulate your digestive system by helping reduce long intestinal transit time*. Bifidus Regularis, available only in Activia, is a live "friendly" bacteria that's beneficial when eaten daily.
You may already know how important it is to maintain a healthy balance of the good bacteria that naturally reside in your digestive system. But you might not realize the extent to which this balance changes with age and is affected by diet, the environment, hormonal changes and your stress level. An imbalance can lead to potentially uncomfortable digestive issues, including slow intestinal transit time.
Activia® Can Help
Including Activia in your daily diet can help regulate your digestive system by helping reduce long intestinal transit time* - and you'll enjoy its eight delicious flavors. Because Activia is made by Dannon, you can be assured that it's a delicious way to do something good for your body.
What Is It?
The human digestive system is naturally inhabited by billions of bacteria called the intestinal microflora. You begin acquiring this internal ecosystem in infancy and by the time you've reached adulthood, there are as many as five hundred bacterial species in the colon alone, including bifidobacteria only available in Activia, known as Bifidus Regularis.
About Bifidus Regularis
What It Does
Specialists at Dannon® selected Bifidus Regularis for Activia® because it survives passage through the digestive tract, arriving in the colon as a living culture. Once there, it plays a beneficial role in your intestinal ecosystem*.
Two Weeks Can Make a Difference Eating, as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, Activia every day for two weeks delivers enough Bifidus Regularis to help regulate your digestive system by helping with slow intestinal transit. And continuing to eat Activia will maintain that benefit.
Once again, same story even though a different product. Interestingly enough, Dannon who makes both, yet they separate out the two active ingredients. Activia uses Bifidus Regularis as its "Special Bacteria" while DanActive uses its "Special Bacteria" L. casei Immunitas.
Further research on both products turned up the following:
Dannon Activia Lawsuit
Dannon Activia is a yogurt that claims to help regulate your digestive system. The difference between Dannon and most other yogurts is Dannon contains probiotic bacteria. Probiotic bacteria are live bacteria that are supposed to not only help regulate your digestion, but also help improve your immune system. Probiotic bacteria can be found naturally in your intestinal tract, but scientists say that as you age, good bacteria such as probiotic will decrease. Dannon has claimed their yogurt will help replenish the good bacterium to your system, thus improving your health.
These yogurts with probiotic bacteria have helped boost Dannon's sales. It is expected that in 2008, Activia and DanActive (another yogurt by Dannon with a different bacteria that claims to "help strengthen your body's defense") will produce about 40% of the company's yogurt business. In its first year of release, Dannon grossed approximately $100 million from this yogurt line.
However, a lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles federal court is saying Dannon fooled consumers into paying more for Activia based on the false advertising campaign. The lawsuit seeks to reimburse consumers as well as have Dannon correct their advertising campaign. While the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization says probiotics have a beneficial health effect, it must be backed up by research. The Food and Drug Administration does not get involved in such claims, but rather looks for labels in which a product claims to equate the probiotic products with disease-curing drugs.
The lawsuit against Dannon says that even their own studies failed to prove that Activia has health benefits superior to other brands of yogurt. Yet, Dannon has stated these yogurts were proven "clinically" and "scientifically" to have health benefits. In the lawsuit, it is mentioned that Dannon charges about 30% more for the Activia and DanActive yogurt lines than other yogurts. The lawsuit also contains scientific reports showing that there is no conclusive evidence proving that probiotic bacteria can benefit adults. One such report was released by the American Academy of Microbiology, which states, "At present, the quality of probiotics available to consumers in food products around the world is unreliable."
Trish Weiner filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles on January 23, saying that the "only effect that it had on me was that it tasted poorly." Weiner's lawyer, Tim Blood, with the San Diego firm Coughlin Stoia, said, "Companies are getting more and more aggressive in their advertising claims. They end up playing off people's general fears and concerns." He claims Weiner suffered an "economic injury" and believes if settled, the lawsuit could amount to as much as $300 million dollars.
You can read Dannon's response to the lawsuit here.
The Dannon Company, Inc. today provided the response below to a class-action lawsuit filed yesterday in Los Angeles, CA.
Dannon is aware of the lawsuit and we are reviewing it. Dannon proudly stands by the claims of its products and the clinical studies which support them. All of Dannon's claims for Activia and DanActive are completely supported by peer-reviewed science and are in accordance with all laws and regulations. Dannon's advertising has always been and will continue to be absolutely truthful, and Dannon will vigorously challenge this lawsuit.
Dannon strongly disagrees with the allegations in the lawsuit. The filed complaint does not contain any support for the broad generalizations made in the lawsuit. The one publication cited in the lawsuit does not disprove Dannon's scientific substantiation for its proven product benefits. Indeed, the report cited in the lawsuit, published by the American Academy of Microbiology, does not even reference any Dannon products.
Dannon makes all scientific studies about its products available to the public following the established method of peer-review and publication. Dannon regularly consults with leading independent experts in the field of probiotics about the science behind all of its probiotic claims.
The scientifically substantiated benefits of Dannon's products are confirmed not only by the scientific journals that have reviewed and published the findings - which are made available on the company's web sites for any and all to read - but also by the millions of highly satisfied consumers who enjoy Dannon's products.
So there you have the story.
Listening to Doctor Radio in my car, I am always eager to learn from their perspective. And from one of the "experts" on the radio, a caller asked about probiotics. The expert's response was "We don't have enough scientific evidence that these are safe to take or that the body really needs them." His perspective was "the body will correct itself over time." My hope is you will not take that advice if you'd like to avoid chronic health concerns.
Personally, I stand by what I have written and have always known about probiotics. They are very necessary to offset the effects of antibiotic therapy and ingestion from various foods that have been treated with antibiotics (beef, chicken, fish and milk). They always need to be taken away from sugar and artificial sweeteners. They should be taken with every meal and should contain Colony Forming Units (CFU's) in the billions per serving. Most importantly, they should be kept in the refrigerator, both at the health food store and in your own house when not taking them. This keeps the cultures alive and allows them to do their job once consumed.
We offer a product called UltraFlora Balance, Dairy Free which contains 15 billion CFU's per serving and I recommend and personally take 3 every day. They are shipped in a refrigerated container and are stored in my refrigerator until you purchase them. Based on my own research, these are the highest quality probiotics on the market and I stand behind them 100 %.
If you'd like more information about this product, would like me to test and compare it to what you may already be taking to see which product is best for you, please call the Office and ask us to set up a time where we can do this. It doesn't take all that long, AND will make a huge difference in your Digestive System health as well as your Immune System health. And since these are the two most important systems for your health, knowing you are doing the correct thing is important. Please call (845)561-BACK or 561-2225 and set up a time for us to evaluate you and the need for a probiotic supplement. You deserve it and are certainly worth it. Don't you think?
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Advanced Alternative Medicine Center
Serving All Your Heath Care Needs ... Naturally!
Dr. Richard A. Huntoon