Probiotics are all the rage right now.
Are they really that good for you?
You may be asking yourself… what the heck is gut flora? Basically, your gut is host to about 100 trillion microorganisms that play many different roles in human health and disease. (THAT’S A LOT!) It is super important to have a healthy gut because our gut flora is responsible for 75% of our immune system. It also helps to regulate our metabolism and helps to provide normal digestion. Unhealthy gut flora is associated with obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disease and several others. So, I’d say that our gut flora is pretty important. Researchers are finding out just how important our gut is for our overall health.
You may be wondering how you can have unhealthy gut flora? Several things may affect the bacteria in your gut. These are a few things that can affect your gut bacteria:
- anti-biotics, NSAIDS, antacids
- diet high in refined carbohydrates and processed sugars
- industrial seed oils
- lack of fiber in diet
If any of those things are present in your life (all of us), then you could benefit from including probiotics into your daily life. (as well as trying to minimize the things that affect your gut)
Some studies have shown that certain strands of probiotics help to reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies in some individuals. I don’t know if you have allergies, but if you do, you will do ANYTHING to get rid of them. I recently moved from North Carolina to Indiana, and my allergies went CRAZY. Growing up in Indiana my allergies were so bad that I had to get allergy shots. However, when I moved to North Carolina, I didn’t have any allergies so I thought I had just grown out of them. When I moved back, I quickly discovered that I had not grown out of them, but they had gotten WORSE. It was absolutely horrible.
All this to say, I started taking a probiotic and I have seen immense improvements. I can honestly say that after taking a probiotic twice a day for 2 weeks, my allergy symptoms are gone. I am not saying that they cured my allergies, I am just saying that they definitely have something to do with helping to ease my symptoms. If you have seasonal allergy problems, you may benefit from taking a probiotic. Read more here from Chris Kresser.
Have you ever heard the term leaky gut? Some of you probably haven’t. I know I sure didn’t learn about it in school where I was learning all about nutrition (I SHOULD HAVE!). Our gut is literally responsible for so many processes in our body and if it is unhealthy it can cause problems. One of the problems it can be associated with is skin problems including acne, psoriasis and eczema. There has been scientific evidence showing that a healthy gut can help improve the health of your skin. If you are like me, you have had acne at some point in your life. I had major acne in college, and treated it with topical and oral medication. I’m not going to lie, it worked. However, this time around I am trying as much as I can to treat my acne with my diet and supplements (because obviously it came back and the medication didn’t cure it forever). I believe that food is our best medicine. Finding the root cause is important because it will hopefully get rid of the problem completely without it coming back again and again.
Probiotics can be a great treatment for your acne or other skin condition you might have. The reason for this is because it can help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. I recommend this probiotic because not all probiotics are created equally. Some out on the market are not the best and this one is specifically great for skin conditions. The reason for this is because it helps feed the good bacteria (prebiotic) and also provides good bacteria to the gut (probiotic).
People who are overweight or obese have been shown to have different strands of bacteria in their gut than people who are lean. Too much bad bacteria in the gut can affect how we store our fat. Some things that can damage the gut flora are highly processed foods that are present in our modern day culture. We rarely eat very fresh wild caught food and this is affecting our bodies.
From the day we are born we are actually predisposed to obesity and other health conditions depending on several factors. Breastfed babies and babies who are born vaginally have less chance of developing diabetes or becoming overweight than formula fed and cesarean born babies. This is all because of the bacteria in our gut. Breastfed babies have more good bacteria in their guts and being born vaginally exposes them to the bacteria in the vaginal canal which is beneficial for babies. Needless to say, our gut bacteria is important from the moment we enter into this world. And this is evidence that you should BREASTFEED YOUR BABY. PLEASE.
Now, I am not saying that you are overweight because you have bad bacteria in your gut and that is to blame. There are several factors that determine your weight and this is just one of them. If you are eating a diet full of processed foods, sugar, and not exercising, those are major contributors to your health and the major cause of becoming overweight. However, our gut may predispose us to certain conditions and some people are more susceptible than others.
Certain bacteria in the intestines are linked to many conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, colon cancer, diabetes, celiac disease and many more. It is still uncertain whether certain bacteria cause these conditions or if these conditions cause this certain type of bacteria present in the gut. However we do know they are associated.
Consuming probiotics can help to provide good bacteria and a beneficial “mix” of bacteria in the gut that promotes healthy intestinal lining. I won’t go into all of the details of these certain digestive issues, but trying to heal your intestinal lining will help to reduce the symptoms of these conditions. Many other factors are at play here, however probiotics is a great start to finding healing.
What to do:
- Include probiotics in your daily routine (I recommend this one). The first seven days, start with one per day. After that take 2 per day until desired results are achieved. (it usually takes about 3 months to see any changes)
- Eat fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and yogurt to provide those pre and probiotics to your gut. (read ingredients on yogurt–many have A TON OF ADDED SUGAR)
- Exercise. It is associated with a better mix of beneficial gut bacteria.
- Eat a diet high in fiber and gut promoting starch (plantains, cooked and cooled potatoes)
- Decrease the amount of processed foods and foods high in sugar
These are just some of the major issues that probiotics can help. I hope this was helpful for those of you wanting to start taking probiotics and wondering if they are beneficial at all. I wondered if they were worth the money. The answer is YES. YES THEY ARE.
What are your experiences with probiotics?