Probiotic Supplements and Gut Health

Probiotic Supplements and Gut Health

The role of our immune system is of such importance that without our immunity we just couldn’t live. It is our no.1 shield against infections, viruses and pathological agents. Since the greatest part of our immune system is located in our gut, taking good care of our gut health is one of the things to focus on. Disturb your gut health and your immunity will suffer, too. There are many ways to boost and support one’s immune system and one of the most popular ones is related to the use of probiotics. Naturally found in our intestines and not only, probiotics are tiny lifeforms that support life as their name suggests it. Our intestines are populated by good and bad bacteria alike. When bad bacteria take over, though, all sorts of health issues occur. Let’s find out more about probiotics and their health benefits.

Probiotics – what you need to know?

The human body is home to trillions of microorganisms. Some of them are life-supporting (probiotics) and help our health in various ways. Some of them, though, are harmful and lead to various health issues when they reach high levels.

The probiotics in our gut are of utmost importance when it comes to boosting our immune system since they support the immunity receptor cells forming a protective shield inside our intestines. Health specialists say that the ideal parity of good and bad bacteria is of 85% probiotics and 15% harmful bacteria. When bad bacteria reach high levels, your health will suffer since your immunity against viruses, infections and diseases will be affected, too. Therefore, your health begins in your gut.[1]

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How do probiotics support health?

Many studies have focused on the various health benefits probiotics trigger and, even if more research is needed, scientists and health specialists have reached the following ideas when talking about probiotics and health benefits.

  • Probiotics support the immune system. As we’ve said, further studies are needed before knowing precisely the way probiotics work but researchers have concluded that there is a direct link between these microorganisms and our immune system. The human intestinal lining or mucosal barrier is almost the size of a tennis court. Quite a lot, right? Well, that is a vast territory for probiotics to populate. Probiotics thus get a vital role in developing and maintaining the mucosal immune system in the gut. These life-supporting microorganisms compete with bad bacteria that aim at food and attachment sites on the receptor cells as well.  Teaming up with your immune cells, probiotics will support your overall health and will train your immunity to make a distinction between harmful antigens and non-harmful ones and to respond appropriately.
  • Probiotics may improve your body’s ability to assimilate nutrients. Probiotics are said to help our body absorb certain undigested starches, sugars and fibers. If you have a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria, you are likely to successfully convert these carbohydrates into energy and nutrients. There are cases when people who lead a healthy lifestyle still encounter tiredness and low energy-related issues. Such health problems are often caused by the toxins in their body, constipation issues and assimilation problems. Even if your diet includes healthy foods, tiredness is a natural effect if your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in such foods is affected. Probiotics will help you absorb the nutrients in your food and will help your body produce B and K vitamins. Moreover, they will improve your bowel movements, break down body waste and thus draw toxins away.
  • Probiotics may help us treat flu. One study involving kids with flu showed that those who took a single strain of probiotics or a blend of strains twice a day for six months, unlike the kids who took a placebo treatment, reduced their fever and coughing and had less runny noses.
  • Probiotics may offer support in losing weight. Certain strains of probiotics are associated with weight loss. The way they do that is by improving one’s bowel movements. Once they become regular and constipation is no longer an issue, you belly fats will diminish. Then probiotics are said to reduce one’s cravings for sugar, alcohol, and carbohydrates. If you reduce such yearnings and eliminate such foods from your diet, losing weight will come naturally. Moreover, research studies have discovered that overweight adults have different gut bacteria than people who have no weight issues. One study involving overweight people showed that the participants who had a probiotic-rich fermented drink for 12 weeks reduced their stomach fat.

You can find probiotics in…

Foods such as lassi (an Indian yogurt); Kefir, natto, yogurt, raw vegetables and Tempeh (like thick veggie burgers, tempeh is produced using cooked matured soybeans). See your dietitian for a custom-made eating plan, one that would suit your needs best. Go for a probiotic supplement if necessary but make sure it is one that comes from a respected and quality manufacturer.[2]

Final Thoughts

Probiotics are just a piece of the great puzzle health means. It is not enough to have a probiotic supplement or probiotic-rich foods in order to support your gut health. One important thing in keeping a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria is also to avoid probiotic slayers such as antibiotics (if your doctor prescribes you antibiotics, then make sure they are accompanied by a probiotic), chlorinated or fluoridated water, and heartburn pills. Talk to your doctor if you need to take one of the medicines mentioned above and ask him for a probiotic as well.

You can also improve your gut health by quitting bad habits such as drinking, smoking, and having highly processed foods. Plus, don’t forget that what works for some people might prove inefficient for others. There are several factors that affect the efficacy of a probiotic supplement such as age, health conditions and habits.

No matter what probiotics-related questions you have, see your health care provider for answers. Keep in mind that taking probiotics is just a part of the things you should do to support your health.

Probiotic References   [ + ]

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