Probiotics. We’ve all heard of them, but what do you really know about them? The right kinds can help nourish your gut bacteria for your physical and mental well being.
Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” that are similar to organisms that occur naturally in the digestive tract. Certain strains or types of probiotics have been linked to all sorts of health benefits; from helping with irritable bowel syndrome and traveler’s diarrhea to boosting the immune system.
With the colder months quickly drawing in, it is time to start thinking about how to protect our health over the winter period and whether or not a daily dose of friendly bacteria could be your answer to protected immunity and a healthy gut.
Bad bacteria can make you fat.
Many of us have a depleted microbiome to begin with because we are eating a poor diet that’s high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed foods and artificial sweeteners or antibiotics have wiped out some of our beneficial bacteria. In fact, just one course of antibiotics can leave your gut bacteria weaker for up to four years.
So if our microbiome doesn’t contain enough friendly species of bacteria we may extract more calories from the foods we do eat, leading to weight gain, whatever our diet. Moreover, bacteria interact with hormones in our guts that regulate appetite, such as leptin and ghrelin.
Are Probiotics Safe for Everyone?
People who are acutely ill or who have a compromised immune system should be cautious about consuming probiotic products and supplements. Researchers are still trying to figure out which types of disease and illnesses should preclude the use of probiotics.
Although no studies have shown probiotics to be harmful in healthy people, Barry Goldin, MS, PhD, a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, says terminally ill cancer patients and people with conditions with the potential for leaky bowels, including acute pancreatitis, should NOT consume probiotics.
The have affect on the skin.
Probiotics and friendly bacteria are now being put into creams and to treat skin conditions such as eczema and acne.
There are about 100,000 bacteria per square centimetre on the surface of our skin and these are made up to 200-300 different types of bacteria.
They can potentially support your mental health just as much as they can your physical health.
Researchers are discovering that the potential benefits of probiotics aren’t limited to your gut. Your gut is connected to your brain via what’s called the gut-brain axis. What affects your gastrointestinal tract affects your brain, and vice versa.
When your microbiome is unbalanced, it can affect your mood, mental health, immune health, and even your brain function. Probiotics in your gut appear to be able to make compounds called neuropeptides that directly impact your brain.
These discoveries about the relationship of probiotics to mental and psychological health underscore the value of probiotics for all ages.
If you are taking an antibiotic, you don’t need to wait until you finish the full course before starting probiotics.
Whenever you’re on an antibiotic, it is really essential to take a probiotic alongside it. Antibiotics destroy this fantastic community of bacteria that is in your intestinal tract, probiotics put it back.