The power of probiotics
by Natalie Lamb
Natalie Lamb is a Nutritional Therapist at Bio-Kult and gives an insight into ten ways probiotics can help boost our health, looks and mood.
1. Weight Loss: New studies are indicating that the mix of bad and good bacteria in our gut could play a role in weight gain. Ensuring you are getting lots of good bacteria alongside a healthy diet and fitness regime could help to reduce unwanted weight around your midsection.
2. Mood: Not many people are aware of how well connected the brain and the gut are. Research has indicated that maintaining a healthy gut flora could help to reduce anxiety and lower levels of brain activity linked to emotion and pain, whilst increasing activity associated with decision making.
3. Sleep: The gut is largely responsible for the production of the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin, needed to make the relaxation hormone, ‘melatonin.’ Taking a multi-strain probiotic could therefore boost the production of these hormones to help you sleep soundly.
4. Stress: Stress can disturb the mixture of bacteria in the gut, allowing an increase in bad bacteria. Stress has been shown to irritate or aggravate a range of diseases; probiotics could therefore be a valuable tool for encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria which supports healthy immune functions.
5. Fatigue: A lack of energy could arise when you aren’t getting the vital vitamins and nutrients from your food needed to keep you functioning at your best. A multi-strain probiotic, such as Bio-Kult (www.bio-kult.com) could help to sustain healthy levels of good bacteria, to help you absorb the goodness from the food you’re eating. A healthy gut flora also aids in the production of extra B vitamins, which are essential for energy production throughout the body.
6. Teeth: In recent years, there has been a lot of interest in the use of probiotics and the maintenance of a healthy gut flora in preventing and treating oral infections, including dental cavities, periodontal disease and halitosis.
7. Bloating: It is the bad bacteria in the gut which can produce gas and cause bloating in the stomach. Sugary foods can feed this bacteria, helping it to multiply. Taking a multi-strain probiotic could help to top up the beneficial bacteria to prevent an imbalance in the gut and reduce the effects of bloating.
8. SAD: Taking a daily probiotic was recently shown to increase vitamin D levels by more than 25% (well known to be low during the winter months and in SAD) and to modulate the area of the brain responsible for mood.
9. Allergies: Allergies are said to be a malfunction of your immune system. With 70% of the immune system lying in the gut, maintaining a healthy gut flora could help to manage the various symptoms of allergies.
10. IBS: IBS is associated with an imbalance of the normal ‘friendly’ bacteria in the intestine, and is becoming increasingly common in our modern busy lifestyles. A multi-strain probiotic could help top up levels of healthy bacteria supportive of healthy digestive function.