What Does Your Gut Say?

Posted by Mei Ying Teh on

A look into probiotics and how gut health impacts the body overall

 

The scare brought about by the current pandemic has pushed individuals to take a serious look at their health and how well it can defend itself against illnesses. Staying fit, pursuing a healthier lifestyle by working out and a balanced organic diet has been talked about as the baseline for good health. But recent studies have been looking at an invisible line of defence residing inside our bodies.

 

As we all know, the human body is teeming with bacteria—both the good and the bad. Usually, bacteria are regarded in a negative light; as something that make people ill. But there are beneficial bacteria called the probiotics, the “good” or helpful strains that are usually found in the digestive system.[1]

 

In addition to the well-known ways of keeping the body strong, let’s see how taking probiotics would make it easier to stay healthy and stave off possible infections.

 

 

Probiotics and how they work

Humans coexist with a number of bacteria, yeasts, and other microorganisms, which form the body’s microbiome, which probiotics are a part of. Think of it as an ecosystem but inside the body. Every individual’s microbiome has its own unique set of microorganisms, and is dictated by our diet, lifestyle, geography, and even by what we have inherited from our mothers during birth.[2]

 

Typically, microbiomes are prevalent in areas in contact with the outside world, such as the mouth, urinary tract, skin, and vaginal tract for women. But the most predominant of these is the one found inside our gastrointestinal tract, or gut. [3]

The balance that the microbiome has with our bodies’ own processes has an effect on our overall health. Particularly, the gut flora plays an important role in nutrient absorption and the synthesis of vitamins and amino acids. Surprisingly, it is also responsible for communicating with immune cells on how to respond to an infection: from providing identifiers to potentially harmful pathogens to regulating inflammation.[4]

Disrupted balance occurs when the “good” bacteria is diminished or overtaken by “bad” bacteria, through illness, stress, poor diet, or by taking antibiotics. This then leads to a host of other problems, like poorer bodily functions as well as a weakened immune response. So what does it take to get your gut back in track?

 

Replenishing the gut flora

While they flourish inside the body, probiotics can also be acquired through food and dietary supplements. Some probiotic foods you can add to your meals are:

  

  1. Probiotic yogurt – Having been fermented with beneficial strains of Lactobacilli, consuming yogurt can address digestive problems and might be suitable for those with lactose intolerance. A yogurt with active or live cultures is the best choice.
  2. Miso - A staple in Japanese cuisine, the probiotic component of miso is Aspergillus Oryzae. This fermented soybean paste seasoning is touted to lessen the risk of cancer and stroke.[5]
  3. Fermented foods in brine – Dill pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi are foods produced through fermentation, in which lactobacilli play a role in its preservation. These probiotic heavy-hitters are also low in calories and high in vitamin K. However, vinegar-based pickles do not have probiotic effects.[6]

But for those who can’t stock up on these items, probiotic supplements can reliably replenish the body’s good bacteria.

 

Probiotics for healing

Awareness is the initial step in finding the right balance in the immune system. Once understood, actions can be taken to start with the healing process.

Coupled with proper medical attention, probiotic supplements are seen as possible treatments for certain conditions associated with microbiome imbalance. Here are some common issues in this area that the body might experience.

 Indigestion, constipation, and diarrhoea[7]

The proliferation of bad bacteria in the gut can readily be seen through symptoms such as indigestion, constipation, and diarrhoea. Here are a few tips in dealing with stomach troubles:

  1. Examine food that might be causing disruptions, like sugar, gluten, or fats. Slowly introduce more fiber and fermented foods in your diet.
  2. Take high quality supplement every day to be sure to get the nutrients needed. Adding NOW Foods Probiotic-10 100 Billion daily between meals or with an empty stomach will aid in maintaining balance among gut flora.

 

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) [8] [9]

               

BV is a common condition for women when the vaginal tract’s natural PH goes higher than 4.5, encouraging the multiplication of unusual bacteria. The following may be done to prevent it:

 

  1. Yogurt consumption may help boost the lactobacilli flora in the area, resulting in better balanced vaginal environment. Eat at least one serving of yogurt per day.

 

  1. Taking probiotics in pill or liquid form may help treat and prevent future cases of BV. And if you’ve finished a course of antibiotics, these can restore the microbiome with the right kind of bacteria. Replenish the natural flora by taking supplements like NOW Foods Women's Probiotic 20 Billion daily.

 

  1. Prevent BV with good hygiene practices. Use underwear and pants that are breathable and don’t trap moisture. Avoid contamination by wiping from front to back after using the bathroom. Frequent change of tampon or pads may also help.

 

Unhealthy gut due to high-sugar diet[10]

               

Consuming high amounts of refined sugars affect the body in insidious ways. In itself, it decreases the number of good bacteria in the gut, which trigger even more sugar cravings. This has been associated to increased inflammation in the body, which may lead to diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and even some cancers.

 

Prebiotics is a type of fiber that serve as food for probiotics, keeping their numbers happy and strong. To combat the effects of a high-sugar diet, prebiotics help with mechanically regulating digestion as well as fortifying the healthy bacteria in the gut, thus helping the body manage hunger and maintain healthy, normal glucose levels. Probiotics supplement intake like NOW Foods Prebiotic Fiber with Fibersol-2 aid in promoting good gut health, in addition to an increased intake of foods high in fiber like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.[11]

 

 

 Detoxification for a Healthier Gut

 

In times like these, maintaining the amount of gut flora is much more difficult since the body is daily exposed to toxins, medications, and chemicals. Chlorinated water, pesticides, food preservatives, and antibiotics destroy the good bacteria, paving the way for the bad bacteria like parasites, yeast, and fungus to take their place.

               

Boosting the body’s metabolic and liver function with the right steps is possible through detoxification. Focus on liver-healthy foods like berries, nuts, fatty fish, and vegetables like broccoli and kale. It is also best to increase the daily intake of water, which is known as the great detoxifier. Green tea, beetroot juice, and coffee are beverages with known detoxifying qualities.[12] NOW Foods Probiotic-10 25 Billion Veg Capsules is a supplement that also participates in the detoxification process. This also restores the internal microbiome to normal, especially after being depleted by antibiotics.[13] Prebiotics like NOW Foods Prebiotic Bifido Boost Powder supports the new growth of probiotics and contribute to maintaining the balance of the body.

 

From infancy to adulthood, the microbiome health can significantly impact the overall health. Probiotics can help reduce the time of staying at home due to infection, as well as the occurrence of imbalances in the gut, helping to improve the overall health of an individual.[14] The choices that an individual makes today for the body will most likely result to better things in the future. While day-to-day exercise and proper diet will help the body improve, the increasing evidence behind probiotics and health is definitely something to look into.

 

 

 

Image 1: https://elements.envato.com/healthy-breakfast-yogurt-granola-strawberry-bowl-i-PZPGYER

Image 2: https://elements.envato.com/man-holding-toilet-paper-roll-in-bathroom-P283KGH

Image 3: https://elements.envato.com/afro-woman-holding-belly-sitting-on-bed-at-home-4X7J5NR

Image 4: https://elements.envato.com/detox-drink-ZTDCX4P

 

 

[1] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/14598-probiotics

[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/gut-microbiome

[3] https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/what-are-probiotics#1

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4056765/

[5] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-miso-is-healthy

[6] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-super-healthy-probiotic-foods

[7] https://marcellepick.com/digestion-dysbiosis/

[8] https://www.healthline.com/health/vaginal-health/probiotic-vaginal-health#what-works

[9] https://www.healthline.com/health/home-remedies-forbacterial-vaginosis

 

[10] https://www.healthline.com/health/gut-health

[11] https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/top-10-ways-to-deal-with-hunger#1

 

[12] https://www.makewell.de/4870-why-probiotics-important-during-detox/?lang=en

[13] https://perlmanclinic.com/the-benefits-of-probiotics/

[14] https://blog.metagenics.com.au/how-to-use-probiotics-for-life-long-health/

 

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