Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1What are probiotics?

Not all bacteria are bad for you. In fact, the human body needs many bacteria to stay healthy! Helpful bacteria are called probiotics. They live in the intestinal tract and other regions of the body, including on the surface of the skin. Probiotics are best known for their role in the gut, where they promote a healthy digestive pH and support regularity.*

Science is quickly discovering countless other benefits of a healthy probiotic population including:

  • Supporting a healthy immune system*
  • Promoting hormonal balance*
  • Making some of our vitamins*
  • Supporting the body’s innate ability to detoxify itself*
  • Helping the body digest and absorb nutrients from food and other supplements*
2Why do we need probiotic supplements?

Modern lifestyles can create imbalances in the probiotic population. Stress, processed foods, chlorinated water, and even some medications can alter our “microecology.” These lifestyle factors can affect the population of sensitive healthy bacteria. Meanwhile the abundance of carbohydrates and sugars we consume each day can feed less welcome guests. This, in turn, can influence day-to-day energy levels and the immune response.

Today, no one can escape all the lifestyle factors that alter probiotic balance. Thankfully, probiotic support through supplementation can help the body maintain its beneficial bacteria balance in the digestive tract. It is also possible to maintain dermal probiotic balance by using natural probiotic-based skin care products.*

3Why are fermented foods good for my health?
The main benefit of fermented foods is that the nutrients in them are broken down by microorganisms. This makes it easier for the body to digest, absorb, and actually utilize those nutrients. Furthermore, fermented foods contain highly beneficial lactic acid bacteria (LAB), various organic acids produced by LAB, vitamins and minerals derived from the food itself, and enzymes. All these components help maintain good health. Daily consumption of the fermented foods promote the balance of your intestinal flora.* Dr. Ohhira discovered the importance of LAB a quarter century ago! He began the development of a fermented food made from wild plants and fruits and published his research in a 1987 paper titled, “The Isolation and Identification of Lactic Acid Bacteria from Naturally Fermented Wild Plants and Fruits.” His goal was to produce a natural food containing the vitamins, minerals and useful microorganisms that often run low in modern diets.* Dr. Ohhira recognized the importance of land and aquatic wild plants that had traditionally been eaten in the Chugoku region of Japan and began the fermentation of, among other plants, Chinese bayberry, wild vine, akebi, wild strawberry, mulberry, oleaster, Chinese matrimony, broad leafed plantain, mugwort, brown algae (Hijiki) and sea tangle (Konbu). Dr. Ohhira processed all ingredients in the way that maximized the function of each botanical. He used some ingredients as they were and extracted other ingredients with natural brown sugar. Then he fermented and matured the ingredients for more than two years in a natural, room-temperature environment. While developing this unique extract, Dr. Ohhira discovered new functions of LAB and human health benefits of fermented food. Thus,he began developing various dietary supplements that utilze his extract. Each supplement draws from the power of fermented foods to help promote certain aspects of human health.*
4How many beneficial bacteria do I need in my digestive tract?

There are billions of bacteria in the human digestive tract. Science has found that the ratio of good to bad bacteria needs to be at least 85:15. To maintain that balance, we need to provide both probiotic and prebiotic support for the gut.*

It’s clear that probiotic supplementation is vital to support good health. But it’s 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 regard them as a threat. 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 encourage the supplemented probiotics to take root. Prebiotics also nourish and feed the probiotic strains that are already present in the gut. These are often completely unique to each individual—like a probiotic fingerprint.*

Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® contains both probiotics and prebiotics. Because the formula is, in itself, a fermented whole food, it also contains naturally occuring organic acids, vitamins, and enzymes. All these components help to maintain the supplemented strains and also feed the strains that are part of the individual’s probiotic fingerprint.*

When supplementing, a higher quantity of probiotic strains is not necessarily wise. The key to high efficacy is well-rounded quality. A quality probiotic will contain probiotics, plus prebiotics, plus organic acids. This adds up to long-term success.*

5How do probiotics help support immune response?
Currently, science has established that approximately 70% of immune system cells reside in the digestive tract. Probiotics support those immune system cells by maintaining an internal environment that is friendly only to other beneficial microorganisms. With a healthy probiotic population in place, there isn’t room for anything else. The gut is the first line of immune defense, and to stay healthy, we need a strong population of friendly bacteria.*
6Why should I choose Dr. Ohhira's Probiotics®?
There are 5 major reasons…
  1. Live Bacteria Guaranteed to Take Root: A probiotic supplement is helpful only when the beneficial bacteria actually cohere (take root) in the digestive tract. It’s even better if it supports the body’s ability to cultivate its own unique probiotic strains.* Created by award-winning microbiologist Iichiroh Ohhira, Ph.D., Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® contains viable bacteria (never freeze-dried or centrifuged) that are guaranteed to cohere in the colon.*
  2. Complete Probiotic and Prebiotic System: Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® are fermented for three years using 12 strains (12 Probiotic Strains) of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) including the proprietary TH10 strain, which is six times stronger than any other known LAB strain. The probiotic supplement is encapsulated along with its prebiotic culture medium of nutritious vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, and seaweed and the naturally developed organic acids, which help alter the pH of the colon so the good bacteria can thrive. This provides nutrition and a level playing field for the good bacteria, further ensuring their success. The prebiotic nutrition also feeds the unique probiotic strains that were already present in the individual’s gut. Dr. Ohhira’s probiotic blend includes nutrition that supports each person’s unique microecology!*In addition to prebiotics and organic acids, the culture medium provides nutritious vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids. Digestive support, bacteriocins, and hydrogen peroxide also help maintain the delicate micro flora garden living in the digestive tract. Being able to take one capsule that covers probiotics, prebiotics, and organic acids provides peace of mind that the supplement will successfully supply noticeable whole health support.*
  3. Convenience: The fermentation process used to craft Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® is conducted at seasonal temperatures. This results in a very stable product that does not require refrigeration. Individually blister-packed capsules preserve potency, ensure purity, and are convenient for travel.
  4. Results: All probiotic supplements should be taken regularly for at least three months to achieve the most extensive whole health benefits. That is the case with Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics®. However, Dr Ohhira’s Probiotics® also provides more immediate relief, soothing the effects of occasional heartburn and digestive discomfort. This is because the whole food culture medium has a balancing effect in the stomach.*
  5. Scientific Support: Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® is backed by over 20 university-based scientific studies. It is highly recommended among health care providers who specialize in digestive health and immune system support.*
7What other dietary supplements and products do you offer?

Dietary Supplements: Along with the award-winning Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics®, Dr. Ohhira has formulated a Brazilian green propolis product and Vegan Omega-3, 6, and 9 plant and seed oils. Together, our probiotics, propolis, and certified Vegan omegas provide strong supplementation to address modern health challenges.*

Skin and Beauty Care: Probiotics are good for your skin too! Dr. Ohhira has crafted a beauty bar and a growing selection of moisturizers that contain his probiotic support blend and botanical ingredients to help cleanse and nourish the skin naturally. These products are incredible for sensitive skin and contain no artificial chemicals, fragrances, or surfactants.

8I am allergic to soy and notice that it is listed on your label as one of the ingredients. Can I safely take Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics®?
During Dr. Ohhira’s three-year fermentation process any allergy-causing soy proteins are broken down into a substance that is no longer recognized by the immune system as the same protein. Soybeans used in long-term fermentation process are predigested and structurally modified to reduce or eliminate any allergic reaction to soy. However, if you are concerned about a reaction, always seek the advice of your health care provider. Click here for more information about soy.
9What are CFUs?
CFU refers to Colony-Forming Unit. It is an estimate of how many viable bacteria are in a sample.
10I hear so much about CFUs and that the more the better? I notice Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics does not have billions and billions of CFUs, why is this?

CFU refers to Colony-Forming Unit. It is an estimate of how many viable bacteria are in a sample. The majority of probiotic supplements on the market today advertise the number of “bacteria per dose” in their products (usually upwards of 10 billion) as a good thing. But take a step back and really think about this.

The human gastrointestinal tract is a very diverse and complex environment. For explanatory purposes, let’s compare the human GI tract to a large metropolitan city. In order to run efficiently, a city needs to have police and fire departments, garbage disposal, city maintenance, schools and teachers, grocery stores, restaurants, lawyers, and hundreds of other types of workers ranging from janitors to veterinarians. Basically, a city needs to have a wide variety of citizens with a wide range of skills, talents, goods and services in order to function properly. The same applies to the human gut - A healthy microbiome contains hundreds to thousands of strains of probiotic bacteria, all with unique and varied functions. So, when a company says, “Our probiotic contains 20 or 30 billion CFU” it is important to note that these are high doses of only one or several probiotic strains.

If we look back to the “city analogy”, supplementing with a very high does of only a few strains is similar to suddenly having your city flooded with thousands of electricians, or thousands of teachers. It creates an imbalance, overpopulation and ignores the importance and necessity of all the other types of bacteria (workers) that are required to make your city function properly.

What the human GI tract really needs is a probiotic supplement that contains numerous types of live probiotic strains, but more importantly, contains prebiotics and probiotics as well. These are effective to support the growth and increase of your existing probiotic bacteria. Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics® is the only probiotic that provides 12 live probiotic strains, prebiotics AND postbiotics. Again, you can’t just introduce thousands of new workers (bacteria), you need to help your existing city workers flourish as well.*

11Are Dr. Ohirra’s products freeze-dried?
None of Dr. Ohirra’s products are freeze-dried or centrifuged.
12If I take Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics do I need to take Reg’Activ?

Dr. Ohhira Probiotics is the final amalgamation of probiotics, prebiotics, organic acids, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other bioactive nutrients created during the fermentation process. Dr. Ohhira’s is the leading product to “remodel the digestive tract.” A properly functioning digestive tract is critical for optimal functioning of the immune system and overall good health.

ME-3 is proven to produce glutathione naturally in the human body. Working as a glutathione-activating agent via three different mechanisms, Reg´Activ® is set to impact the future of preventative and restorative health on a cellular level.

Dr. Ohhira’s and Reg´Activ® can safely be consumed separately or in combination depending on an individual’s health goals.

13Can I take Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics and Reg’Activ together?
Dr. Ohhira’s and Reg´Activ® can safely be consumed separately or in combination depending on an individual’s health goals.
14I am concerned about Carrageenan as an ingredient in Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics. Why is it used?

Essential Formulas Incorporated is of the opinion the use of food grade carrageenan is safe and acts as an effective material for "a smooth mouth feel." Please feel assured you and yours may continue to consume Dr. Ohhira's Probiotics with peace of mind.

The carrageenan used in Dr. Ohhira's Probiotics is extracted using a multi-step process to avoid any degradation either by boiling the seaweed in water and freeze-drying it, or by precipitation with alcohol and then concentrating it by evaporation. Carrageenan is used as a thickening, emulsifying and stabilizing agent in ice cream, yogurt, custards, jellies, cream cheese, cottage cheese and other dairy products, as well as chocolate products, pie fillings, salad dressings, soups, soy milk, and as a fat substitute in processed meats, and in toothpaste to mention just a few. For more information, click here.

Troubled by a term?

Click Here for our Glossary of Probiotic Terminology