What Can’t Probiotics Do?
After birth, our gut is colonised by trillions of micro-organisms called probiotics which we are supposed to have for life. These micro-organisms, mostly beneficial bacteria, are important to the health and wellbeing of our bodies and carry out numerous functions which include enhancing immunity, digesting food and manufacturing energising B vitamins. Each of us have a unique probiotic profile which is influenced by genetics, gender and age, all of which cause it to change throughout our lifetime. This probiotic profile is of course also influenced by our diet and lifestyle.
With increasing research, we are finding out that many probiotic species have specific roles to play in the body including elevating mood, preventing gum disease as well as protecting our heart. So which probiotic supplement should you take? And can you take more than one probiotic supplement?
A probiotic for overall health and immunity
For the overall health and wellbeing of the body, I would normally recommend a broad spectrum probiotic supplement such as Mega Probiotic ND by Food Science of Vermont. Mega Probiotic ND is a non-dairy probiotic supplement containing eight species of friendly bacteria that can colonise the gut after passing through the harsh environment of the stomach. These bacterial species within the formulation include ones that work in the upper and lower half of the gut offering the body multiple benefits of enhancing immunity, digestion and so on.
Mega Probiotic ND is what I would call your core supplement which the whole family can take for the overall wellbeing of the body and you can then add an extra specific probiotic supplement if you have any of the concerns listed below knowing that probiotics can be used alongside any conventional medications without fear of side effects.
A probiotic for low mood
There are many communication pathways between the gut and the brain and so it does not come as a surprise that the gut influences our emotions. The vagus nerve passes through the chest and abdomen connecting the nerves from key organs to the stem of the brain and is thought to be one of the pathways. Another pathway for altering mood is the ability of these probiotics to produce neuroactive compounds that communicate with the cells in the brain which produce the mood elevating and nerve calming serotonin.
Florassist Mood Improve was used in human studies and showed a 50% plus decrease in low mood scores and a 55% improvement in anxiety scores.
A probiotic for constipation
Many people have experienced the benefits of taking probiotics for constipation as well as for digestive health and comfort. There is a specific strain first isolated from yoghurt, Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, which has been clinically studied and found to alleviate both occasional and recurrent bouts of constipation assuming that there is not an underlying medication condition such as an obstruction in the gut.
This particular strain works by enhancing the production of short chain fatty acids which set of a chain reaction that “speeds” up the motility in the gut leading to bowel regularity. The Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 strain in high concentration is available as a one-a-day supplement called FLORASSIST® Daily Bowel Regularity and is free from gluten, dairy and genetically modified ingredients.
FLORASSIST® Daily Bowel Regularity can be taken on an ongoing basis and alongside other probiotic supplements for general health and for supporting the immune system.
A probiotic for your heart and cholesterol
Researchers are now discovering that an important strategy to prevent cardiovascular disease may lie within our intestinal tracts. These beneficial bacteria are a key interface between the body and its genetic structure. The result of these interactions determines our cardiovascular risk, energy metabolism and lipid levels in the body.
Life Extension’s Florassist Heart Health contains a specific probiotic strain, Lactobacillus reuteri (NCIMB 320342), which works to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and crucially helps to keep C-reactive protein within a normal range. C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation in the body because high levels of this protein are linked to cardiovascular disease and a host of other health concerns.
A probiotic for preventing gum disease
Large numbers of the adult population have some form of gum disease. This includes gingivitis which is inflammation of the gums without tooth loss or periodontal disease with receding gums leading to tooth loss. The problem with gum disease is that the infecting bacteria move to the other parts of the body causing inflammation which is why gum disease is linked to heart disease and numerous other concerns.
Florassist Oral Hygiene contains specific probiotics strains which have been shown to compete against the pathogenic bacteria which reside in pockets of gum tissue and hence this supplement may help prevent and treat gum disease.
A probiotic for inflammatory bowel disorders such as IBS & Colitis
Although many general probiotic supplements may work to detoxify and rid the gut of inflammatory compounds and hence help alleviate the symptoms of IBS and other inflammatory bowel disorders, for those suffering from chronic symptoms, the probiotic supplement Ultibio contains the well documented probiotic strain, Lactobacillus plantarum LP299V®. This particular strain has been found to be missing from the gut of those suffering from IBS and its usage was found to help many people free from both upper and lower intestinal problems.
A probiotic for travel
Traveller’s diarrhoea is invariably caused by contaminated or tainted water, poor hygiene by food handlers or food which has been contaminated by insects and/or bacteria. The bacteria responsible for traveller’s diarrhoea include Salmonella, Campylobacter and various strains of E. coli. Normally antibiotics are prescribed but these are not without side effects.
For those seeking to prevent traveller’s diarrhoea, Travel Biotic by Viridian Nutrition may be of benefit. Travel Biotic contains a unique non-pathogenic yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii. It helps to increase the numbers of bacteria residing in the gut and in turn these bacteria produce lactic acid which prevents pathogens from thriving. The idea is to use this supplement to prevent and to treat diarrhoea.
A probiotic for the intimate area
Vaginal thrush and other bladder infections may arise as a result of a lack of beneficial bacteria residing in the urinary tract. Optibac Probiotics For Women contains two very specific researched strains of beneficial bacteria which have been proven to reach the intimate area. There is often an increase in recurrent bladder infections during menopause and pregnancy and For Women is perfectly safe to take in both these transitions of life.
A probiotic for problem skin
Maintaining healthy levels of beneficial bacteria has benefits beyond digestion. Introducing these beneficial bacteria might help to prevent or treat certain skin complaints such as acne, rosacea and eczema. It is theorised that these bacteria reduce inflammation which can trigger many skin concerns.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a probiotic strain originating from the human intestinal microbiota, has been the subject of more than 760 scientific studies and 260 clinical trials. This particular probiotic strain has been found to be of benefit for skin disorders such as acne, eczema and allergies associated with food sensitivity.
Probiotics during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding
Many pregnant women suffer from digestive concerns which may include constipation, heartburn, diarrhoea and stomach cramping to include a few. Incorporating probiotics from food sources such as live yoghurt and kefir helps promote healthy intestinal function and relieve many of the digestive concerns during pregnancy.
Probiotics are generally regarded as safe to take during pregnancy however because of the wide range of probiotic strains and the limited research, it is stated that there does not appear to be any risk associated with probiotic usage.
Optibac Probiotics For Babies and Children is a probiotic supplement which can be used during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding to enhance the health of the baby’s immune function.
Probiotics are certainly the cornerstone of good health. Introducing these beneficial bacteria through the use of fermented foods such as sauerkraut, live yoghurt, tempeh and kimchi is a good idea however supplementing can help to keep you in the best possible state of health.
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