Dara: You’ve mentioned to me before that Balance is an unsung hero in the Omni-Biotic lineup. Can you tell us what makes the Balance formula special?
HANNAH: I see Omni-Biotic Balance as an all-around support for optimal digestion, nutrient absorption, and pH balance in the GI tract. And it really addresses the immune system that’s located in your gut.
A lot of people don’t realize this, but 70-80% of the body’s immune cells are located there; the gut is the biggest gatekeeper between the external world and what’s absorbed into the body.
The immune cells in the gut come into contact with so many bacteria and viruses, and they’re constantly assessing whether or not what they’re encountering is a friend or a foe. So supporting our gut-modulated immune response is really important to our overall well-being.
Omni-Biotic Balance is special because we know the keystone strains in it — “keystone” meaning strains that we know are essential for a healthy gut — help maintain the proper pH balance in the GI tract for good bacteria to thrive and bad bacteria to be controlled. It encourages healthy, mucous-producing bacteria, which keep the gut barrier strong, keep digestion and elimination regular, and help modulate the body’s immune response. If your gut has a lot of inflammation and overgrowth of bad bacteria, it impacts how the immune system works throughout your body.
And if you’re one of the many people who struggle with yeast infections — which might show up as a white coating on the tongue, bloating, gas, or sugary cravings, which are all signs of candida — we also know the strains in Omni-Biotic Balance are very effective at keeping candida and other yeasts in check, too.
A final fun fact is that Omni-Biotic Balance was the first product in the Omni-Biotic line to be developed.
Dara: That is fun, and I’m also intrigued by its immune-modulating benefits. Can you tell us how that works?
Sure — to start with, the first line of defense in your gut is the mucous layer. It acts as a physical barrier between what is in your intestines and what is absorbed into the bloodstream. If the mucous layer is degraded, you don’t have that barrier and it’s much easier for unwanted bacteria, viruses and environmental toxins to enter your bloodstream. By managing the pH level in your intestines, you’re making sure certain opportunistic bacteria and yeast, like candida, can’t thrive.
Next, we know from the clinical studies on the strains included in the Balance formulation that it supports a healthy immune response. One of the important measures of immune system health is a marker called Secretory Immunoglobulin A, or SIgA. In a clinical study with student athletes we have seen that Omni-Biotic Balance help increase the levels of SIgA, which in turn strengthens overall immune response in the body.
We also know that the strains in Omni-Biotic Balance stimulate cytokine production as well as the production of other markers of a healthy immune system: this helps the immune system activate and defend itself against the things you don’t want in your body.
All of this is upping your body’s defense systems. Omni-Biotic Balance can also play an important role in situations where the immune system is overly active, such as in the case of allergies, eczema and food sensitivities. In this case, the probiotic strains in Omni-Biotic Balance help re-regulate the immune system into a more stable state. Specifically, the lactobacilli in the product have the ability to increase an anti-inflammatory cytokine called interleukin 10 while reducing Th2-type cytokines, which trigger inflammatory responses. This helps re-regulate how the immune system responds to allergens.
Dara: Who would you typically recommend it for? It sounds like a great everyday formula, but from what you just told me, it sounds like it could be particularly helpful in the case of overactive immune systems, too.
HANNAH: Omni-Biotic Balance is a favorite for individuals who are looking for overall digestion and immune support, struggle with constipation and/or recurring yeast infections. Let me elaborate on this. First of all, if you’re feeling good overall, and you’re mainly looking for digestion and immune system support with a probiotic — you’re not under too much stress or looking for metabolic support — it’s a great place to go.
It’s also really effective for people who struggle with constipation: we’ve heard from many customers who struggled with constipation for years and reported that, after taking Omni-Biotic Balance for just a few days, they’ve noticed a major difference. This also makes it a favorite during pregnancy. Many women, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, struggle with nausea and constipation. This is a really gentle formula that many people can tolerate really well, even throughout all of the changes of pregnancy, and it helps keep them regular.
And because it’s immunomodulating, we’ve found that it’s really effective with people who are struggling with eczema and food sensitivities. These are signs that your immune system is overreacting; it’s in overdrive. The strains in Omni-Biotic Balance help rebalance your immune system’s response to some of these triggers. With that, many people have reported that it calms their eczema and food sensitivities.
Because it’s gentle, it’s a great choice for kids and teens, too. Many people looking to support their child’s immune system in school choose Omni-Biotic Balance; we usually suggest starting with half the dose if your child is 3 or 4, but by age 5 or 6, they can take a full dose.
For people who have autoimmune conditions, what’s interesting is that oftentimes there is a component of leaky gut involved as well. For leaky gut, we often recommend Stress Release because it’s been shown in clinical studies to reduce zonulin, marker for gut barrier integrity. But Balance can then come in and help calm the immune response. Many people combine those two formulas, so they’ll take Balance in the morning and Stress release at night. This addresses the immune system component as well as the gut barrier integrity.
And we also hear from many customers who had recurrent UTIs and yeast infections, and/or struggled with candida, and found that Balance was particularly effective for these situations.
Dara: Let’s talk for a moment about UTIs and yeast infections. How does Balance address those?
HANNAH: One of the things many people don’t know is that, anatomically speaking, the GI tract is so close to urinary tract that many of the germs that cause UTIs are the same ones that you’ll find in a dysbiotic gut. Salmonella and E.coli, for example, can travel from your gut to your urinary tract and then up into your system, causing infections.
Candida is similar, and oftentimes women with recurring yeast infections also have candida overgrowth in their gut. It becomes a chicken and egg situation: what came first, the yeast infection or the candida overgrowth? If you take medication that helps get it out of the vaginal tact, but it’s still overgrowing in GI tract, it’s easy for the microorganisms to migrate back. But once you address the imbalance in your GI tract, you reduce the chances that these unwanted bacteria or yeasts are migrating from one place to the next.
Dara: Understanding that Balance addresses a variety of issues, what do people most frequently notice when they take it?
HANNAH: They typically mention three main things —
From people who take it specifically to help with frequent colds, we often hear, “I feel my immune system is stronger.”
But the main needle movers are people who have struggled with constipation for long periods of time. They report that their digestion feels better almost overnight.
We hear the same thing from those with recurring UTIs and yeast infections. And with those who might have sugar cravings, a white coating on the tongue, or bloating, they typically notice differences after a week or two.
Dara: Tell us about the studies that have been done to support Balance.
HANNAH: Since Omni-Biotic Balance was one of the first formulas that Omni-Biotic developed, we don’t have as many of the final formula studies as we do with newer formulas, but we have some great ones.
There’s a really interesting clinical study on the final formula focusing on Secretory IgA: it was done at a university with student athletes. A lot of these students were exercising at a high level, they were pretty stressed out, and they probably weren’t eating the best diet. Their SIgA levels were very low, which resulted in a weaker immune system and more susceptibility to infections. After 4 weeks of either a magnesium-zinc combo, or Omni-Biotic Balance, or both, the study looked at which treatment brought SIgA levels back into normal range the fastest. Within 4 weeks, Balance was 75% more effective than just magnesium-zinc — and the study participants who took magnesium-zinc and Balance only experienced a 2% improvement over that.
There’s also a good candida study on the final formula, but this one looked at the formula in a petri dish (because you can observe candida growth so well in a petri dish). This study compared Omni-Biotic Balance to single-strain probiotics and found that it was much more effective at reducing Candida levels.
And in support of cytokine production and allergy responses, we have several studies on the strains themselves, either alone or in combination.
HANNAH: Omni-Biotic Stress Release and Omni-Biotic Balance go really well together. Balance addresses the immune system. Omni-Biotic Stress Release addresses gut-brain axis, mood, and the cognitive aspect of the gut-microbiome connection. We think of these two together as a “strong body, strong mind” combination.
You can also combine Omni-Biotic Balance with Omni-Biotic Hetox; people who do that often want to support their detoxification processes and metabolism longer-term with Hetox, but they might layer in Balance if they’re constipated or having recurrent infections, or if they want extra immune support for a month or so. Because it’s so gentle, you can layer it in as needed.
During pregnancy, many people like to switch to Balance, then switch back to Stress Release after the baby’s arrived! Hetox is technically safe during pregnancy, too, but since it works on the metabolism and detoxification pathways, many women prefer to switch to Balance or Stress Release during pregnancy and breastfeeding for a gentler approach.