You may already know that probiotics are good for gut health, but research now suggests that “good” bacteria may have other health benefits.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are “good bacteria” or live microorganisms that line your digestive tract, help our digestive organs function optimally.Gut bacteria is also known as gut microbiota, it support our body’s ability to fight infection and absorb nutrients; there are ten times more probiotics in the gut than cells in our bacteria are needed to for health.
The gut is our second brain
80% of our entire immune system is located in our digestive tract, making our digestive tracts critical to health. More, our digestive systems contain the second largest part of our neurological system; the enteric nervous system, this is why it’s called our second brain!
Probiotics have been on the forefront of digestive health studies for a while, with increasingly evidence to support the theory that these “good bugs” may do more for us than solely aid digestion. These new studies have resulted in more health professionals such as doctors, osteopaths and physiotherapists beginning to recommend probiotics to their patients. Nutritionists have known for some time that probiotics may be helpful in supporting immunity, and assist in weight management. Recent TV programmes have discussed their use to aid sleep, improve mood and manage diabetes.
Good gut bacteria also responsible for:
- Producing vitamin B12, and vitamin K2
Creating enzymes that destroy harmful bacteria
- Stimulating secretion of IgA and regulatory T-cells, which help our defence systems
- By adding more probiotic foods into your diet, you could see all of the following benefits:
- Stronger immune system
- Improved digestion
- Increased energy from production of vitamin B12
- Better breath because probiotics destroy candida
- Healthier skin, since probiotics naturally treat eczema and psoriasis
- Reduced cold and flu
- Healing from leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease
- Weight loss
Gut and brain connection
As mentioned earlier there is now evidence that shows gut health and brain health are inextricably linked. What you eat and ingest and how ‘healthy’ your gut is can be directly related to many neurological disorders for example depression. Research has shown an improvement in mood after just taking a four weeks supply of probiotics.
Probiotics and sleep
Taking a good quality multi-strain probiotic could boost the production of the hormones that help sleep., the gut is principally responsible for the production of ‘happy’ hormone serotonin, as well as the melatonin which helps us relax and helps with sleep.
Here’s the scoop on the latest probiotic research.
Probiotics may help to reduce bloating and flatulence in some people with IBS. Probiotics won’t work for everyone with IBS, but if you want to try them, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) suggests taking them for at least four weeks, at a dose recommended by the manufacturer
This is a common digestive problem in which the body is unable to digest lactose (a type of sugar found mainly in milk and dairy products). Some studies have found that certain probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, may help to reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance, which include stomach cramps, flatulence and diarrhoea. Research into this is ongoing. In the meantime, if you are lactose intolerant, you may wish to try probiotic preparations (not yoghurts) to see if they help.
Ulcerative colitis (pouchitis)
Some people with ulcerative colitis need to have part of their bowel removed and a loop of bowel constructed in its place. This loop, or pouch, can sometimes become inflamed, leading to diarrhoea and other problems. Small studies have shown that adding sachets of a specialist probiotic preparation called can help treat ulcerative colitis. However, more research is needed before it can be recommended as an effective treatment. Do speak with your consultant if this applies to you.
What causes gut flora imbalance
Most people, including children, are in may be in need of a probiotic boost due to the use of prescription medication, particularly antibiotics. High-carbohydrate diets can also lead to a gut flora imbalance. There is also debate over the effects of non-organic meat and dairy that may contain antibiotic residues.
You may benefit from probiotic if you have taken, or consume the following;
- Prescription antibiotics
- Emotional stress
- Chemicals and medications
Easy steps to get more probiotics
Eat More Sour Foods, like apple cider vinegar, specifically, and fermented vegetables.
Consume More Probiotic-Rich Foods
- Coconut Kefir
- Raw Cheese
Feed the Probiotics in your system. Getting good, high-quality fibre in your diet can cause probiotics to increase in your body. The best type of fibre is soluble fibre. Chia seeds are an excellent source, as are flaxseeds, just adding either to your breakfast smoothie would be easy. Fruits and vegetables are a great option too especially, sweet potatoes or apples.
Last but not least, taking a quality probiotic supplement is an excellent way to get more probiotics in your body. Most people need a 4 – 12-week course to restore gut flora, so be patient
While probiotics are a great idea for digestion health, this new evidence shows there be incredible effects on our health that we weren’t aware of. If you would to read more see below for links to research papers
Please note: This is for guidance only, it should not be regarded as a substitute for medical advice, examination or treatment given in person by an appropriately trained health professional.