If you read the news at all, you have probably noticed that “probiotic” and “gut health” have become buzzwords. There has been a big push recently regarding all of the great health benefits that you can receive from taking a probiotic supplement, but you may not really understand why taking a pill full of bacteria is good for you.
As part of taking back your health, we look to natural supplements. This article will explain what exactly a probiotic is, why your gut health is so important and what to look for when shopping for a probiotic supplement.
What is a Probiotic?
Believe it or not, your body plays host to trillions of bacteria and yeasts. Many of these bacteria are “good” or “healthy” strains that help to keep your gut healthy balanced. While bacteria generally have a bad reputation for causing illness, there is now a rapidly growing body of scientific research that shows that certain strains of bacteria in your gut can actually help prevent some health issues. Live cultures of these beneficial microbes are what we know as probiotics.
Probiotics can be found naturally in certain foods that are fermented with bacteria, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. In America, however, probiotic supplements have gained far more popularity than foods with naturally occurring, healthy bacteria.
How Can a Probiotic Improve My Health?
The effects of your gut health are far-reaching. Because there is a delicate balance between certain healthy strains of bacteria that keep the harmful strains in check, any disruption of that balance can lead to a myriad of health problems. The healthy microorganisms living in your gut also help your body digest food and absorb nutrients, so an imbalance can easily trigger nutrient deficiencies, inflammation, hormone production problems, fatigue or even mental health issues.
You may have noticed that when you take antibiotics, you have a greater chance of experiencing stomach upset or other digestion issues. This is because antibiotics can kill off the good bacteria alongside the bad, so you are more likely to get sick. Taking a probiotic can help replenish the lost, helpful bacteria.
Probiotics can also help people with Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome and Clostridium Difficile infections better manage their symptoms.
There is still plenty of other research being done regarding the effects that probiotics can have on fatigue, obesity, boosting the immune system and preventing urinary tract infections.
How Do I Know Which Probiotic to Choose?
Now that you know a little bit more about what probiotics are and how they work, you may be thinking about adding a supplement to your daily routine. The selection of probiotics can be absolutely staggering if you aren’t prepared beforehand, so it is important to learn what to look for in order to receive the most benefits possible.
First of all, your personal mixture of gut bacteria, or microflora, is as unique to you as your fingerprint. This means that there is no “one-size-fits-all” probiotic. In general, it is best to decide what you hope to gain from taking a probiotic supplement in order to choose which one is right for you.
Second, the delivery method matters. Because the entire purpose of a probiotic is to get live, healthy bacteria into your gut, the supplement you choose will have to be able to safely transport those bacteria through your digestive tract. If the cultures don’t survive the extremely acidic ride to their destination, there is no point in taking them. This is why it is best to look for encapsulated probiotics rather than chewables or liquids.
There are plenty of great reasons to add a probiotic supplement to your health regimen and almost no reasons not to. If you have any concerns or a unique health situation, however, it is always best to consult your general practitioner before you start taking anything new.
Overall, there is a lot of promising research about the benefits of balanced gut health, so a probiotic may be just what you need to take your health to the next level.
Information on a probiotic supplement with the research from Reviews.com can be found here: http://www.reviews.com/probiotic-supplement/.
Thanks very much to Reviews.com for submitting this guest blog.
Wendy Love Edge
Take back your health America!