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What are probiotics

To talk about probiotics, is to talk about bacteria. Most people are not aware of this, but a big part of our bodies is actually made up of bacteria. In fact, with more than trillions of bacteria living inside of us, they outnumber our cells 10:1, making some speculate that we are actually more microbes than humans. Now, that is not as bad as it sounds. Bacterias come as good or bad, and if you’re lucky (and healthy), the majority of the bacteria in you should be good ones, a.k.a. probiotics. 

What are probiotics good for? Why should we take probiotics?

With about one kilogram of our body weight made up of probiotics, they play an essential role in our health and wellbeing. Let us go through a few of them.

Helps digest and absorb nutrients

When we talk about the “gut”, we generally refer to the large and small intestines. Their job is to extract energy and nutrients from the food that we eat, as well as remove waste. But as our gut can’t extract all of the necessary nutrients from the food on its own, we need the help from the healthy bacterias. They will aid in breaking down the food, which in turn will improve your immune system, and strengthen the intestinal walls. If we don’t have enough probiotics, it can in turn lead to malnutrition.

Improves immune system

To look at the basics about what happens when we get sick, it’s because bad bacteria latches onto cells in our bodies, which then triggers our white blood cells, which leads to inflammation, and so on. But if there’s nothing for the bad bacteria to latch onto, then we (simply put) won’t get sick. So how probiotics – which we now know are also bacteria – boost our immune system, is by latching onto the cells before the bad bacteria has a chance, leaving no space over. With the majority of the probiotics living in our guts, this is the connection between our stomach and immune system.

Strengthens the barriers of the gut

The probiotics not only stimulates our immune system, but the mucus secretion in our guts as well. If we have proper mucus secretion in our guts, it will line our intestines and protect them from toxins in the food that we eat, which will drastically reduce the inflammation and irritation in our bowels.

When and How to take probiotics

Preliminary research shows that almost 70% of our immune system is in our microbiome, which is another word for the probiotic colony in our bodies. When this colony is functioning well everything is fine, but once it gets thrown off balance for different reasons (medication such as antibiotica, alcohol, stress, poor sleep, disease), we become more susceptible to harmful bacteria, and need to add probiotics back to it to make it function normally again.

This can be done in two ways: either refill through foods or supplements. If you want to go for foods rich in probiotics, then fermented dishes such as kimchi, yoghurt and sauerkraut are excellent choices. Keep in mind, however, that not all fermented foods are “probiotics”, they need to have sufficient amounts of the living bacteria to be considered that.

If you instead opt for taking dietary supplements, then there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing which product to use. Always check the CFU, which stands for Colony Forming Unit. For it to be worthwhile, the CFU should be no lower than 5 billion. Next, check which bacteria strains are in the probiotics. Don’t go for products with only the Lactobacillus acidophilus strain, as that one is the cheapest and might actually conquer out other healthy gut bacteria if over consumed. Lastly, if you are suffering from certain ailments or critically ill, it will be wise to consult your doctor before you start taking probiotics.

How long does it take for probiotics to work

Probiotics are not an instant fix, they need to take root and grow before they can really get to work. This happens faster if you mind your diet and consume more fiber rich food and make sure to get enough sleep, as the microbiome follows the circadian rhythm. It also depends on whether you chose to reestablish your gut flora through a changed diet, or through dietary supplements. One can say that it generally takes 60 days to restore the microbiome through food, and around 30 days if that is combined with supplements.

That being said, there are some people who have reported instant improvement when taking probiotics, so while we are in this for the long run, you might encounter the benefits sooner than expected.

Different types of probiotics

Probiotic supplements usually come in three different forms: capsules, sachets, or as liquid. Each has their benefits, so it’s up to you to choose what you feel suits your lifestyle best.

Capsules

When it comes to probiotics as capsules, their main benefit is that they are easy and convenient to use. You can carry it with you almost anywhere, and all it requires is a mouthful of water to use. The downside to capsules is that you can’t be certain of whether or not the live bacteria in them are truly still alive, or if they will survive the trip all the way down through your stomach and  into your intestines. If the capsules have been microencapsulated, then they should be fine, otherwise there’s a big risk of the bacteria getting digested up by your stomach acids. Also try to go for the freeze dried probiotic capsules, as they are much more likely to keep the shelf life going.

Liquid probiotics

When it comes to liquid probiotics, their main benefit is absorption — which start as soon as they enter your mouth. It is believed that the body absorbs liquids faster and better than pills, as it doesn’t need to break it down, and it finds its way into your bloodstream even as it’s on its way down to your intestines. It might also have a better chance at surviving the stomach acids that have pH levels between 1.5 and 3.5, if the probiotics is like our Fermented Hemp Drink, and has a matching pH level of 3, ensuring that the live bacteria cultures are already thriving in a sour environment. Furthermore, seeing as how bacteria already likes wet and moist environments, having it in the liquid form increases the odds that the bacteria in it isn’t dead.

The downside of the liquid probiotics, is that it might be hard to carry with you. They often come in bigger bottles, and might need to be refrigerated after the seal has been broken. Taste might also be an issue, and while there are probiotics with added flavour, one can speculate about how beneficial that is for the body.

All in all, we advise you to be alert when choosing probiotics that fit your lifestyle, make sure that it is worth your money by looking through the ingredients of different bacteria strains, how much CFU it has, and how it’s been packaged and stored. We wish you luck!

Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

Due to a lot of changed regulations and laws, we decided to rebrand ourselves and focus more on making CBD essential oils instead, as we believe that CBD in this form will be just as beneficial as it used to be. But what are essential oils, and how can one use them?

What is CBD essential oil and how is it extracted

Another name for essential oils is ethereal oils, or just the name of the plant that it was extracted from, which in our case would be Oil of Hemp. The “essential” refers to the oil containing the essence of the plant; its most characteristic scent. With the CBD essential oil, this gives it the naturally rich earthy smell, with a hint of sweetness from the hemp plant.

There are a few different ways of extracting the essence from a plant, with the most common one being through distillation. We at Apoteum use the oil extraction method, as we have come to see that this is the best way to ensure that the CBD and other active components of the hemp plant stays intact and effective. An important difference between what is labeled as essential oil and what is labeled as a fragrance is that while the former is derived purley from plants, the latter is often simply chemicals. As essential oils aren’t regulated, one should take extra care when buying it to make sure that you get the real deal, as some companies will label their chemical fragrances as essential oil.

How to use CBD essential oil

What is CBD essential oil used for, then? Like any other essential oil, the CBD one can be used to enrich your everyday products with. It works well for blending with lotions, creams, shampoo and conditioner, so that you can feel safely encased in the familiar essence of your choice for the rest of the day. Another use is to drip a few drops into your bathwater, for extra relaxation. Our skin has a tendency to absorb particles of what it comes in contact with, so with this topical application, you can reap the benefits of CBD oil in a most pleasant way. Do not apply undiluted essential oil directly on skin, it can lead to allergic reactions and injuries. All of these uses, and many more that we haven’t mentioned yet, are considered to be the practice of something called aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy and essential oil: how does it work

The theory behind aromatherapy and how it works, is based on how our sense of smell works. Whenever we smell something, it travels through the limbic system, which is the part of the brain that focuses on our survival instincts and emotions. By “manipulating” this part of the brain through smells, it is believed that one can gently trigger mood swings in the more positive direction, without the use of heavy medication. The sense of smell is also strongly linked to our memory, and is one of the main causes to the feeling of nostalgia, as one whiff of something familiar can revoke fond memories from times long gone.

Essential oils are regularly used for aromatherapy, so much so that aromatherapy is also known as essential oil therapy. When the oils are mixed together for the therapy, they can work in synergy and deliver an even more potent effect. Whether it’s for relaxation, sleep or sharpening of the mind, you will most likely be able to find plenty of recipes online on how to create a scent that’s to your liking. Or you can be adventurous and try to mix and blend completely free-hand, like a hobby alchemist.

Can aromatherapy be used with CBD oil?

Some have found use of essential oil therapy as an aid to their other medical procedures, to lessen side effects and the likes. It is highly recommended to consult with your doctor before doing this, but if you get the green light to go ahead, you might find that CBD essential oil can give some respite to your tired body, no matter if you use it in a diffuser to breath in the fumes or as a topical on specific areas.

An interesting trend that has been rising in popularity lately, is to use different essential oils when bathing in a sauna to spice up the experience. While sharp smells like eucalyptus are the most used essence at the moment, CBD hemp oil has started to find its use there as well, with its grounding earth scent. A few drops in the sauna water bucket is all that you need, before sprinkling it on the hot stones and let it steam. This will bring your sauna bath to the next level, and you can tailor it more to fit your mental needs for the day. Do not drip the essential oil directly onto the heated stones, as that might be a fire hazard.

For those that aren’t too fond of the natural CBD oil scent, we now also offer CBD essential oils with fresh smells of lemon and mint. The lemon essence has an aftertaste of mandarin, to add a sweetness to the sharper, more prominent lemon. In aromatherapy, lemon has been used for energizing and smoothing of cold symptoms purposes, just to name a few. The mint essence we use is a mix between peppermint, spearmint, and a hint of Japanese mint. In aromatherapy, the uses of mint have been many. It has ranged from relieving muscle aches, mouth wash, mosquito bites, poor appetite, and even as pesticide. In combination with CBD, these essential oils are sure to give you everything you’ve ever wished for from your aromatherapy session.

The CBD essential oils that Apoteum offer are already diluted, and can be used directly.