Should I Take a Probiotic? When to Use Digestive Support
A probiotic is a live microorganism which, when consumed, can confer a health benefit on the host (that's you). You may be familiar with probiotics if you eat yogurt in the morning, or take daily supplements. These tiny living organisms are categorized as “good bacteria” and offer numerous health benefits.
Although they are small in size, there is so much to know about probiotics. Studies have shown that balancing bacteria in your digestive system is linked to improving overall health and minimizing disease. Health benefits can include improved gut health, better mental health, improved skin, and a healthier heart. Through incorporating probiotics into your daily routine, you too can experience the numerous health benefits. We will teach you the basics of probiotics so that you can improve your overall health and digestion.
What Do Probiotics Do For You?
It can be hard to maintain good gut health when you are on the go. Despite having a probiotic-rich diet, your body may lack a sufficient amount of daily probiotics. We often forget how important probiotics truly are to our overall health, as they can aid weight loss, improve our cholesterol, and even have positive effects on our minds.
When the gut is not balanced, probiotics can help restore balance. Probiotics have been known to secrete protective substances, which can stimulate the immune system and prevent pathogens from creating disease. Taking probiotics while on antibiotics makes you less likely to experience negative symptoms such as diarrhea.
Here are a few ways in which probiotics can improve your health:
70% of your immune system is located in the gut, therefore, keeping it in good health can improve your overall health through restoring a natural balance of gut bacteria. Taking probiotics daily has been linked to improving gas, bloating, and constipation. Furthermore, specific types of probiotic strands (Bifidobacterium and lactobacillus, just to name a few), have improved the symptoms of individuals with inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, IBS, and necrotizing enterocolitis.
More studies are finding that our gut health is linked to our mental health. In other words, what we eat can affect our mentality. In a recent NIH-funded research study, 15 individuals were studied as they took probiotics (Bifidobacterium and lactobacillus strains) for 1-2 months. The findings of this study changed the way in which we look at probiotics in relation to mental health, as the results were that probiotics can improve anxiety, depression, autism, OCD, and memory.
Probiotics are great, but it's first and foremost about eating a variety of foods beneficial to skin health. Applying probiotic skincare products can get rid of acne while improving dry skin. Several studies suggest that probiotics can help battle skin aging and even skin cancer.
But, how do you use probiotics on the skin? Well, serums, moisturizers, and oils can be infused with probiotics to improve your skin’s appearance and health.
Taking probiotics regularly has been linked to improving LDL, or “bad” cholesterol and blood pressure. They break down bile in the gut, as lactic-acid producing bacteria works hard to reduce cholesterol. The breaking down of bile prevents it from being reabsorbed in the gut, serving as a preventative mechanism against the formation of cholesterol. In a systematic review of 5 studies, eating probiotics in yogurt for 2-8 weeks reduced cholesterol by 4%. The proof is in the pudding… or in this case, yogurt infused with probiotics!
Best Time to Take Probiotics
Probiotics contain live microorganisms that can improve your digestive health. Research suggests that some strands of probiotics survive best when taken before a meal. However, research also suggests that timing is less important than the consistency. It is imperative that you take your probiotics at the same time each day. Probiotics can be tricky, as they do not stay in your gut for very long. This is why you must take them daily to get the full benefits of probiotics.
Be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking probiotics, as some people with immune deficiencies or cancers should not use probiotics without their doctor’s permission.
Here are 5 trusted probiotics:
- HUM: Skin Squa Pre-Probiotic
- Clevr: Matcha Probiotics
- Ora Organics
- Rae: Pre + Probiotics
- Thrive: Vegan Yogurt (contains probiotics)
Written by Kyleigh Eaton