"Probiotic" is a term that gets a lot of recognition lately. You've probably seen it on yogurt labels ("good source of probiotics!") and some cheese packaging - but what are probiotics exactly? Is it just a buzzword? Why do we need them?
To understand probiotics, you have to understand your gut flora!
Our gut has live microorganisms (bacteria) that are responsible for many, many functions of the body. From how you digest your food, to vitamin/mineral distribution, to energy levels, to mood regulation; there's a reason why the gut is known as our second brain. While the "good" bacteria is responsible for proper homeostasis of our gut, "bad" bacteria can set up camp and cause havoc. This is where probiotics come in!
Probiotics are naturally occurring live bacteria that can replenish the good microorganisms in the gut. Probiotics are found in fermented foods; cheese, yogurt, kombucha, and sauerkraut are a few popular sources. Probiotics also come in supplement form. While there is little risk, always consult a doctor before adding a new supplement to ensure it is right for you.
5 Reasons to Include Probiotics
1. To Maintain Gut Health During/After Antibiotic Use: We rely on an antibiotic's power to sweep away bad bacteria when we are sick. Unfortunately, antibiotics will also sweep away the GOOD bacteria in your gut, messing up the balanced ecosystem of your immunity. Probiotics will replenish what has been removed, keeping your gut health intact while you course through the sickness. If you decide to take a probiotic at the same time you are taking antibiotics, make sure to take them 2-3 hours apart (antibiotic first) so that the antibiotic doesn't destroy the probiotic in the stomach.
2. To Boost Your Mental Health: Like we've said, the gut is known as our body's second brain. The complexity of the gut and it's role in how we feel, look, sleep, digest, and behave is surreal. Scientists have been extensively studying the gut's role in overall mental health; this study here shows how the use of probiotics, prebiotics, and positive dietary changes can reduce anxiety and improve mood.
3. To Improve Immunity: We'll say it again: the gut is important! 70% of the immune system is in your gut, so what you feed it really matters. Probiotics provide a boost to your immune system by balancing gut flora and forming a "protective barrier" against bad germs. While this study is preliminary, there is promising research to show that probiotics may help prevent and treat certain diseases. A strain of probiotics, lactobacilli, has been used to treat and prevent UTI's and improve fertility in women.
4. To Help Heart Health: With over 20 clinical studies used as reference, this journal indicates how probiotics aid overall heart health. Probiotics can help lower LDL-C levels (known as the "bad" cholesterol) and reduce other heart disease risk factors such as inflammatory biomarkers. How does this happen? Probiotics actually help reduce the absorption of cholesterol from our food, keeping our overall cholesterol levels stable.
5. To Improve Skin Health: Probiotics as an acne remedy? That's right! The bacteria found in your gut and on your skin are closely related, so probiotics can help replenish good skin bacteria. Acne is often a result of an inflammation and probiotics can help reduce that inflammatory response. Research says that many skin conditions (like eczema, rosacea, and KP) may be related to internal inflammation, so bringing balance back to your gut flora may help.
Looking to add probiotics into your routine? We offer different probiotic products that will suit your needs!
Book a FREE consultation with a nutritionist to learn more about incorporating probiotics!