Probiotics and Antioxidants FAQ

What are Probiotics?

They are beneficial or “good” bacteria. They are naturally found in your intestinal tract and are key to promoting a healthy immune system and proper balance for your digestive system functions.

I know that probiotics are available as a “supplement.” If they are in my body, why to I need to supplement my diet with them?

Our digestive system is under attack from stress, indulgent foods and unhealthy lifestyles. Therefore we need to replenish our good bacteria with new bacteria to help maintain balance in our gut. Our chocolate is not a supplement as it is a functional food. As such, it is a great source of beneficial bacteria and in a better delivery system than common supplements that come in pills of milk-based products.

How many do I need every day to replace the bacteria that dies?

It is important that the good bacteria is replaced daily. You need about 1 billion new bacteria every day. That number has to survive the trip through the stomach and then populate the small and large intestines to insure good balance in your digestive system. The cocoa butter in our dark chocolate is a superb “delivery vehicle” for the bacteria protecting them from stomach acid.

How many bacteria do I need? Is more better?

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has considered this question. They note “higher [bacteria] counts do not necessarily improve the product’s health effects...[and] because probiotics must be consumed alive to have health benefits and they can die during their shelf life...” users should focus on how many bacteria actually survive*. This is why SmartLife Chocolate has chosen to use microencapsulated bacteria and delivers them in dark chocolate. These two techniques both lengthen the shelf life and protect the bacteria in the stomach on its way to the intestines where it can do its job.

I noticed that you include two probiotic strains in the chocolate. Why those two? Why not more?

Our formulation contains two strains that scientific study after scientific study have been shown to be truly of benefit: Lactobacillus Helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium Longum R0175. While the intestines contain various bacteria our product focuses on increasing the count of those proven to be beneficial. We will not include other strains unless sufficiently robust scientific studies show them to be both of benefit and without negative impact.

Do the probiotics make the chocolate taste bad?

Probiotics have no influence on taste, texture or mouth feel of the chocolate.

Do I have to refrigerate the chocolate to preserve the shelf life of the probiotics?

Chocolate does not have to be refrigerated and is best when stored between 55 and 70 degrees temperature. Most home environments are just fine. The encapsulated good bacteria is in a stable environment in the chocolate and has a long shelf life. At least a minimum of one year.

I am counting calories in my daily diet. How many calories are in the chocolate piece?

Our chocolate is one half ounce of premium dark chocolate and has only 70 calories.

I am trying to lead a healthier lifestyle with better diet and some exercise. How will probiotics help me? What are the benefits to my general health?

Daily intake of one piece of our chocolate with the probiotics will add about one billion good bacteria to your intestinal area. This will greatly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by the de-conjugation of bile and lowering blood cholesterol levels. In addition, probiotics will also help combat cancer by detoxifying free radicals and replacing bad bacteria with good bacteria.

Can I eat too many pieces and if so, what would happen?

No. This is real food and your body will process it like all other food you eat. If you overeat the chocolate you just might feel full from eating too much like eating too much of any other food.

What is an antioxidant?

Antioxidants are molecules capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation of other molecules and provide protection against free radicals. Research published over the past decade, shows that polyphenol antioxidants can also suppress viruses.

How do antioxidants help me stay healthy or combat a disease that I have contracted?

Antioxidants stop the damaging, disease-causing chain reaction that free radicals create. Their ability to neutralize the free radicals prevents the damage of cell walls, vessel walls, proteins, fats and even the DNA nucleus of our cells. They can also inhibit viral infections.

What are the best food sources of antioxidants?

The best sources are plant-based foods like chocolate and coffee along with other foods that come from plants and beans. Also nuts like walnuts and almonds are good and fruits like blueberries, raisins, blackberries and raspberries. Some vegetables like broccoli and spinach also have some antioxidant levels that can help.

However, the best source of all is dark chocolate with high levels of cacao solids. That is why SmartLife Chocolate<sup>®</sup> chocolate is made with 70% cacao.

Why is chocolate such a good source?

Antioxidants occur naturally in chocolate. Chocolate scores very high on the ORAC list of tested foods that measures the different kinds of foods for the activity or bioavailability of antioxidants. ORAC test measures the oxygen radical absorbance capacity of foods.

Antioxidant levels can be directly measured for overall polyphenol content or for particular flavanols, such as the catechins and epicatechins. Cocoa is particularly rich in polyphenols and flavanols.

In addition, polyphenol antioxidants in the form of flavonoids found in plant based foods such as cacoa, colorful fruits, vegetables, tea (green and black), extra virgin oil, all culinary herbs and in many medicinal herbs, such as curcumin can suppress viruses. A virus needs a host and enzymes to allow it to replicate itself. Antioxidants can block the production of the enzymes that allow that reproduction process.

Can I get too much antioxidant in my daily diet?

No. The basic problem is how to get enough. It is suggested that the average person needs a daily ORAC score between 3000 - 5000 units or more per day. A one half ounce piece of SmartLife Chocolate has a score of 5,740 and exceeds the suggested daily requirement.

By comparison, one half ounce of broccoli has 126, blueberries 336, almonds 630 and walnuts 1,904.

How important is my diet as a source of getting an adequate amount of antioxidants?

It certainly makes sense to adopt any diet or lifestyle measure that provides you
with a combination of foods that helps you achieve a daily ORAC score (a minimum of 5,000 ).

What about the new coronavirus?

The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose. To protect yourself, practice social distancing and clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also avoid touching your face.

Your body’s immune system is very important to help you fight against infectious diseases of all kinds and it is therefore paramount that you do everything you can to boost its function. 

*See, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Probiotics-HealthProfessional/