Friday, May 11, 2018

The Benefits of Probiotics

Probiotics have gained popularity due to their many health benefits. But what are probiotics and how can they benefit you?

Probiotics are good, beneficial bacteria that play key roles in many functions in the body, such as aid in healthy digestion, support a healthy immune system, maintain healthy pH levels in the gut, and support healthy detoxification.

Americans consume processed foods more now than ever. Because of this we consume fewer key nutrients, such as B vitamins. Probiotics provide better nutrient absorption and can produce key nutrients, such as vitamins, short chain fatty acids, and amino acids.

In the gut there is a constant battle going between good and bad bacteria. Our diet plays an important part on which side is winning. When you consume more sugar and processed grains it feeds the bad bacteria causing an imbalance known as dysbiosis–more bad bacteria than good. The fewer good bacteria in the gut affects the entire digestive process, can cause irregularity, gas and bloating, IBS symptoms, and nutrient absorption drops. When the gut has more good bacteria than bad it is known as symbiotic, or in a state of balance.

Not only can diet affect the good bacteria in the gut, but so do antibiotics. If you have a bacterial infection it’s common to take an antibiotic to thwart the infection, but it also eliminates the good bacteria. After completing a round of antibiotics the good and bad bacteria are off to the races again. Sugar feeds bad bacteria giving them an advantage to colonize faster than the good bacteria leading to poor digestive and immune health. This is were probiotic consumption is key.

There are many strains, or types, of probiotics each playing a specific role in the gut. Strains of probiotics that are grown together are more united and work towards greater health benefits in the gut.

In order to get the most benefit from probiotics there are two key elements involved: prebiotics and postbiotics. Prebiotics come from fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms. They help to feed the probiotics as they colonize in the gut. Postbiotics are compounds produced by the good bacteria to strengthen the body’s basic and critical functions. When the probiotics are fermented for at least three years with the prebiotics they produce far more postbiotics which provide even greater benefit to your overall health.

by John Connor, CNC

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