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Digestive and Gut Health

What are Probiotics?

The human body is inhabited by millions of tiny living organisms, which, all together, are called the human microbiota. Bacteria are microbes found on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and especially in the gut. The microbiome is vital to our health.

Health starts in the gut.

Gut is our second immune system. 80% of our immune defense is located in our gut and a balanced microbiota and enough of good bacteria is important for a well-functioning immune system. The good bacteria educate the immune system, making it ready to fight unwelcome invaders like bad bacteria and toxins. To achieve a healthy balance the good bacteria need to outnumber the bad with ten to one.

If bad bacteria for some reason start to exceed it may lead to an imbalance in the digestive system, called dysbiosis. Dysbiosis may cause problems like diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, temporary stomach pain and leaky gut.

Health starts in the gut.

  • Usage of antibiotics and other drugs – antibiotics do not only kill pathogens, they also kill our good bacteria
  • Obsessive hygiene – showering several times a day, using germ killing soap and detergents are depleting our microbiota
  • Birth by Caesarean section – babies born by C-section don’t pass through the birth canal and are therefore not exposed to the desirable variety of good bacteria from their mother
  • Poor eating habits – fast food, processed food, coffee and alcohol. It may taste good, but unfortunately your gut bacteria do not thrive on junk food, they need fibers, fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Stressful living and lack of sleep – both stress and too few hours in bed may lead to changes in composition and reduction of microbial diversity
  • Excessive exercising – while your workout at the gym is beneficial for your general well-being, professional athletes are often exercising at a level that harms their microbiota and puts their immune system under stress, making them more susceptible to infections.

Replenishing with Good Gut Bacteria – Probiotics

Probiotics are “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host,” according to an expert panel convened by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics. Probiotics can help prevent harmful bacteria from taking up residence and growing in your gut microbiome—the community of trillions of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract—and promote the growth of health-promoting bacteria. There are many types of beneficial bacteria that are considered probiotics. The most common include various strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. The benefits are strain-specific, and “each strain of bacteria has a different mechanism of action.

Tips on choosing probiotics supplement

  • Include prebiotics. Prebiotics are the food sources for beneficial bacteria. Adding prebiotics can make the supplement more effective. The probiotic bacteria can “eat” these prebiotic nutrients. This makes the bacteria strong for their passage through the acidic environment of the stomach and increases survival.
  • Multi-strains. Multispecies probiotics combine different bacterial strains. In most situations, a multispecies probiotic is the preferred option as it allows for more diversity in the gut.
  • Check the CFU (Colony Forming Units). The average CFU count in probiotics is between 1 and 10 Billion CFUs per serving.

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