Benefits of Probiotics
Probiotics are essential for creating a healthy functioning digestive AND immune system. The human gut is an ecosystem with trillions of bacteria performing beneficial functions such as:
- cleaning and maintaining the digestive tract;
- breakdown foods and assisting with assimilation of nutrients;
- manufacture of B vitamins;
- fighting disease causing pathogenic bacteria; and
- dynamic interaction with both the innate and the adaptive immune system. It has been found that when one or more steps in this communication fail, inflammatory or auto-immune diseases may occur. (1)
For a healthy immune system your body must have adequate balanced population of the beneficial bacteria.
HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM is OUT OF BALANCE?
Common signs of imbalance are
- Poor concentration;
- Acid Reflux;
- Painful Joints;
- Bad Breath;
- Frequent Colds and Flu that linger for weeks;
- Candida overgrowth;
- Eczema; and
- Menstrual symptoms
WHAT CAUSES THE IMBALANCE?
Generally the beneficial bacteria are killed by Antibiotics, Steroids, Fluoride and Chlorine (present in our tap water), Caffeine (present in tea and coffee), Carbonated drinks (drinks that are carbonated by adding gas), radiation, stress, preservatives and pesticides. Most of us have been subjected to most of these substances at some time, often on an ongoing basis, so it stands to reason that the majority of people have digestive systems that are in need of some repair.
A poor diet causes harmful microbes to flourish – leading to a range of unpleasant and debilitating symptoms such as digestive pain, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhea, headaches. A healthy diet that is tailored to meet the needs of the individual is the basis of good health. Probiotics can help re-establish the microbiome in the gut – but of course, healthy diet is essential to maintain the right environment in the gut for beneficial microbes to prosper.
MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF PROBIOTICS
I just read about the findings published in Nov2106 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine by researchers McKean J, Naug H, Nikbakht E, Amiet B, and Colson N.J. from The School of Medical Science, Griffith University, Gold Coast and The Menzies Health Institute , Gold Coast.(2)
These researchers analysed seven randomised, placebo-controlled studies which investigated pre-clinical psychological symptoms of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress in healthy volunteers pre- and post-supplementation with a probiotic. The results “show that probiotic consumption may have a positive effect on psychological symptoms of depression.”
So, not only do probiotics help to normalise the environment of the digestive system for digestive purposes, probiotics also have the potential to alleviate symptoms of stress and mood disorders.
HOW TO INTRODUCE BENEFICIAL BACTERIA SAFELY
There are a large number of probiotic powders and capsules in the market these days. It can be tricky to work out which one is best for you. There have been a number of research projects and studies in recent years attempting to ascertain which bacteria are best for which health problems. It is also important to know that some beneficial organisms may actually exacerbate your health problem so a consultation with your qualified natural health practitioner will guide you to make the choice that is best for you.
Taking probiotics is only going to be beneficial in the long term if the health of the gut is being maintained with nutritious balanced food choices and regular (daily) waste removal via the bowels.
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