Probiotics Overview

Probiotics Overview

Everyone has heard the word “probiotics” and most of us understand that they’re important for maintaining balance in the gut. But what does that mean exactly? How does a balanced microbiome affect our digestive health and our overall well-being? We’re drilling down on probiotics in today’s blog post. We’ve gathered stats and insights about these healthy microorganisms, why you should ensure you’re getting your intake, and some of the tastiest sources of them!

What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria. Your body naturally produces probiotics, but they are also found in certain foods and supplements.


How do probiotics support gut health?
Probiotics are good bacteria and play a vital role in balancing out any bad bacteria that may be inhabiting your gut. If you experience digestive discomfort – like stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea – your body may be signalling to you that your gut bacteria is out of whack. Some people believe insufficient probiotics in the gut can also cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative colitis.

Probiotics help our gastrointestinal tract function optimally by allowing us to effectively absorb nutrients and preventing harmful gut bacteria from dominating.

What are some other ways probiotics contribute to well-being?
• A study conducted in France found that mood disorders “can be controlled from the ‘bottom up’ using two specific strains of probiotic bacteria” (source)
• 87 study participants were given 100 grams of fermented milk twice daily; milk consumed by half the group contained a probiotic. After 12 weeks, the group who consumed the milk with added lactobacillus gasseri lost an average of 2.2 pounds, while the other half of the group did not lose weight (source)
• “Probiotics have been linked to enhanced immune responses…Several studies have found that certain probiotic strains boost measures of immune response” (source)
• “Korean study of 56 acne patients found that drinking a Lactobacillus-fermented dairy beverage effectively reduced their total acne lesion count and decreased oil production over 12 weeks” (source)
• Two large studies point to probiotics ability to reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 60% (source)

Who should assess their probiotic intake?
If any of the below examples reflect your current lifestyle or health situation, you should consider assessing your probiotic intake.
• You consume artificial sweetener like aspartame or sucralose — these can decrease good bacteria in the gut by 50%!
• You’ve recently completed a round of antibiotics
• You’ve recently had food poisoning or other “stomach bug”
• You get sick frequently (weakened immunity)*
• You experience digestive difficulty (e.g., gas and bloating)*
• You are chronically fatigued**
• Your mental focus is low***

What are sources of probiotics?
The follow are some examples of foods that offer probiotics.
• Kimchi
• Sauerkraut
• Pickled vegetables
• Tempeh
• Kefir
• Kombucha
• Sunbiotics almonds and chocolate bars
• Lakanto Matcha Latte & Drinking Chocolate
• Sunwarrior Ormus Greens

Do you have any additional facts or insights about probiotics to share? Your favourite foods or supplements that offer these good bacteria? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

Sources:
* http://thechalkboardmag.com/9-signs-you-need-probiotics
** http://universityhealthnews.com/daily/energy/are-you-taking-probiotics-benefits-for-chronic-fatigue-symptoms-and-more/
*** http://radiomd.com/show/health-radio/item/29181-the-5-warning-signs-of-probiotic-deficiency

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