Health Benefits of Taking a Probiotic Daily
As previously posted at onbetterliving.com
It’s wild to think about, but each of our guts are home to about 100 trillion microbes, that includes about 1000 strains of bacteria, that can weigh up to 5 pounds (1). While the word “bacteria '' doesn't necessarily drum up warm and cozy feelings, most of these invisible critters are there to help us. In fact, researchers are learning just how critical this invisible ecosystem called the “microbiome” is to many aspects of our health.
Our bodies rely on the “good” bacteria to perform a variety of beneficial functions that include producing nutrients, helping us digest food, feeding our digestive lining, and protecting us from bad microbes. It’s when we eat a poor diet high in sugar and processed food, drink chlorinated or unfiltered water, have high stress, hormone imbalances or use medications like antibiotics, that our gut health gets thrown out of balance. This allows the perfect conditions for bad microbes to take over.
To keep the good guys thriving and our guts healthy and balanced, it’s important to regularly eat a high-fibre diet rich in fruits, veggies, and whole foods. Eating naturally fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi can help too.
Another option is taking a daily probiotic. Probiotics, from the Greek meaning “for life”, are a type of supplement that can supply you with a variety of strains of beneficial bacteria in a convenient form like a capsule. Combined with a healthy diet, probiotics are a great way to support and balance your gut while keeping you healthy.
Here are some of important benefits you can get from taking a probiotic daily:
- Probiotics May Improve Immunity
It’s estimated that 70 to 80% of our immunity is located in the gut, and probiotics can act in a variety of ways to protect, improve, and support our immune response. Not only do beneficial bacteria stick to the wall of the gut to form a protective layer that allows the gut to repair and strengthen itself so it can keep the bad guys out, but they also produce chemical substances called metabolites that can help support our overall health.
For example, probiotics can produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA), by fermenting the fibre in our diet. These building blocks of fats which have less than 6 carbon atoms have a variety of beneficial functions in the body. (2)
SCFAs are the primary source of energy for the cells on our gut lining, but when it comes to immunity, SCFAs can communicate with and modulate the cells of our immune system. They also trigger the release of chemicals called cytokines, which are like tiny proteins that communicate with your immune cells, activating a response and regulating your body’s immune system. (3, 4)
- Probiotics Can Support Healthy Digestion
In addition to protecting and repairing the lining of our intestines, the bacteria in our guts help us to digest our food and surprisingly they also synthesize essential B vitamins including riboflavin, folate, thiamine, biotin, and pantothenic acid, which do everything from energy production to maintaining healthy cells. In addition to B vitamins these good bacteria also produce up to half of the daily need for Vitamin K, which is needed for blood clotting, wound healing, and bone health. (5)
A 2010 study found that the probiotic strains B. lactis and L. caseiwere especially effective in promoting regular bowel movements. (7) Saccharomyces boulardii is one probiotic strain that has shown in studies to be especially beneficial when it comes to protecting the lining of the gut.
- Probiotics May Help Boost Metabolism and Help with Weight Maintenance
We know that SCFAs produced by the beneficial bacteria in our guts are needed for immunity and to feed our gut lining, but they also provide us without about 10% of our caloric needs. More than that, they can also help regulate energy metabolism in the body and increase the burning of fat. (8, 9)
Taking a probiotic along with eating whole foods with natural fibre can help diversify the flora in your gut and may help your body stay leaner.
- Probiotics Can Replenish Good Bacteria During and After Antibiotic Use
Taking antibiotics can be necessary sometimes. But while they can be effective, unfortunately they can wipe out both the bad and the good bacteria in our bodies. This can weaken our immune systems further leaving us more susceptible to pathogens and bring on other unpleasant symptoms including yeast infections.
Taking a probiotic both during and after a course of antibiotics can help you repopulate your gut with all the good guys.
- Probiotics May Support Skin Health
If you’re having troubles in your gut there’s a good chance it may manifest as skin issues. This symbiotic relationship called the gut-skin axis helps our skin build a protective barrier and strengthens our skin's own immune defenses. (12)
- Probiotics Can Help Beat Yeast Overgrowth
One of the signs of a gut lacking in gut flora is an unhealthy overgrowth of candida, a.k.a yeast. While yeast infections are usually associated with women, candida can affect both men and women and cause many horrible symptoms including sugar cravings, bloating, weight gain, brain fog, diarrhea, rashes, sinus infections, fatigue, joint pain and more. Oral thrush is a type of candidiasis or yeast infection that affects the mouth. (13)
When you suspect you have candida, avoiding sugar and processed food can starve them out, while taking a probiotic daily can help replenish you with the good bacteria that naturally keep them in check.
- Probiotics Are Especially Beneficial for Women and Hormone Balance
In addition to benefiting our guts and skin, a daily regimen of probiotics can also help keep a woman’s vaginal microbiome balanced and healthy. Studies have shown that taking probiotics with strains like Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus fermentumdaily, can be especially beneficial for vaginal flora and support a woman's health. (14)
Your gut flora also play an important role in breaking down and eliminating excess hormones from the body. Low levels of beneficial flora have been linked with hormone imbalances like estrogen dominance. Taking a probiotic can increase the amount of bacteria in your gut and help support hormone balance.
- Probiotics Can Promote a Healthy Pregnancy
Studies have found that taking probiotic supplements during pregnancy is safe and beneficial. A review in 2020 found that the length of pregnancy was significantly longer in those who took probiotic supplement than with those given a placebo. (15)
- Probiotics Are a Must-Have For Traveling
Even subtle changes in diet or drinking water can affect the balance of our gut microbiome causing upset stomach and bloating. Not only is it easy to eat unhealthily and seriously overindulge on our travels, but many countries don’t have a standard of food safety which can leave us susceptible to food poisoning from infections like E.coli. And many of us have experienced the woe of “traveller's diarrhea” when travelling to a new place, which makes the act of travelling not as fun as it should be.
So next time you’re travelling, be sure to take a probiotic with you to ensure a smooth and healthy trip.
What Type of Probiotic Should You Take?
Probiotics work by sticking to the lining of the gut where they can improve the gut health of the gut lining to give us greater protection against toxins and pathogens, while improving immunity.
When choosing a probiotic look for a multi-strain formula so you can get the most benefits to make sure your probiotic can actually deliver the strains and benefits you're looking for.
Flora Health, which has been making all-natural and effective supplements for over 50 years, offers a high-quality selection of targeted probiotic formulas that can help you increase the diversity of your gut biome.
Flora Health uses a variety of beneficial human strains in their probiotics, which are designed to implant in the gut and reproduce.
With strict quality control, Flora Health probiotic formulas are:
- Extensively tested to ensure they survive stomach acids so they can get to your gut.
- Formulated to act synergistically so you get the most benefits out our of your probiotic
- Non-GMO and gluten-free
- Yeast and sugar free
- Potency guaranteed!
Flora Health also has probiotics formulated for specialized gut support and contain different strains in varying concentrations, depending on the benefits they provide for specific conditions.
Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria are two specific probiotic families included in these formulas chosen to ensure a blend that is close to what you would find in a healthy digestive system.
Specialized probiotic formulas from Flora Health include:
Super 8 Plus Probiotic helps boost the healthy microflora in your small intestine and promotes healthy yeast balance. This Super 8 formula is ideal for adults 16-55 and delivers 42 billion gut balancing live cells in each capsule at the time of manufacture. This one should be kept refrigerated for best results.
This full-spectrum blend with 6 strains of “good” bacteria is the perfect formula for daily support of your gut and keeping your digestive and immune health on track. Complete Care Probiotic contains Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, two probiotic families that closely resemble the normal environment of a healthy digestive system. Each capsule provides 34 billion viable cells and is perfect for daily maintenance.
Designed with the needs of women's digestive and vaginal health in mind. Women’s Care Probiotic includes 8 strains of beneficial bacteria. This formula is jam packed with Lactobacillus species which produce lactic acid that help to maintain natural pH balance and support healthy yeast balance. Each capsule contains a whopping 87 billion viable cells per capsule at the time of manufacture and provides extra support to address the specific needs of a woman’s body.