- improved digestion and mood
- enhanced immune function
- weight loss and
- clearer skin
What are probiotics?Probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial to your health. They are naturally found in your body, but they are also present in supplements and some foods, from yoghurt to chocolate. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria are the 2 most commonly prescribed strains of probiotics and they also form part of the normal healthy intestinal microbiota.
Probiotics for gut healthProbiotics play a fundamental role in normal digestive function. They are involved in the breakdown of food, nutrient absorption and the production of vitamin K and certain B vitamins.4 Probiotics have also been shown to assist in the management of digestive conditions such as infectious diarrhoea, antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), abdominal pain and bloating.5
Probiotics for weight lossGut microbiota can influence blood sugar reactions after a meal.6Lactobacilli strains have been found to stabilise blood sugar levels,7 which may result in lowered sugar cravings and less fat-storage hormones. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria may assist in the prevention and management of obesity and metabolic syndrome (a group of conditions that often occur together and increase your risk of diabetes and heart disease).8
Healthy gut, healthy mind?An increasing number of studies link gut health to healthy mood. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria generate neurochemicals in the gut and these are circulated through the blood stream.9 This allows the probiotics to have effects other than those on the gut. Supplementing with Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli strains may improve stress, low mood and memory.10 Emotional states cause an imbalance to the gut microbiota and as a result this upsets the inner lining of the gut and contributes to inflammation.11
Probiotics for radiant skinProbiotics have been observed to improve skin conditions by improving intestinal health and reducing inflammation.12
Probiotics each day keep antibiotics awayProbiotics may shorten the duration or risk of infection and reduce allergy symptoms.13 Probiotics help stimulate the immune response14 and keep our immune system healthy by competing with harmful bacteria and blocking infectious organisms from moving from the bowel to the rest of the body.4 As an important contributing factor to one’s general health and wellbeing, probiotics provide numerous health benefits. They can be found in fermented foods like keffir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi and miso, or you could take a good quality, multi-strain probiotic supplement. Whichever way you choose, make sure you get your daily dose! Speak to your healthcare practitioner for more information about a healthy diet and supplementation. Make sure to always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare practitioner.
- Clemente JC, Ursell LK, Parfrey LW et al. The impact of the gut microbiota on human health: an integrative view. Cell 2012;148:1258-1270.
- West CE, Renz H, Jenmalm MC et al. The gut microbiota and inflammatory noncommunicable diseases: associations and potentials for gut microbiota therapies. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2015;135(1):3-13.
- Pham M, Lemberg DA, Day AS. Probiotics: sorting the evidence from the myths. Med J Aus 2008;188(5):304-308.
- Corse A. Why understanding your microbiota is key to health and longevity. Viewed 21 March 2017, https://mindd.org/why-understanding-your-microbiota-is-key-to-health-and-longevity/
- Hill C, Guarner F, Reid G et al. Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2014;11:506-514.
- Zeevi D, Korem T, Zmora N, et al. Personalised nutrition by prediction of glycemic responses. Cell 2015;163(5):1079-1094.
- Ruan Y, Sun J, He J, et al. Effect of probiotics on glycemic control: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. PLoS One 2015;10(7):e0132121.
- Festi D, Schiumerini R, Eusabi LH, et al. Gut microbiota and metabolic syndrome. World J Gastroenterol 2014;20(43):16079-16094.
- Lyte M. Probiotics function mechanistically as delivery vehicle for neuroactive compounds: microbial endocrinology in the design and use of probiotics. BioEssays 2011;33(8):2011.
- Wang H, Lee IS, Braun C, et al. Effect of probiotics on central nervous system function in animals and humans: a systematic review. J Neurogastroenterol Motil 2016;22(4):589-605.
- Bowe W, Patel NB, Logan AC. Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis: from anecdote to translational medicine. Benef Microbes 2014;5(2):185-199.
- Kober M, Bowe WP. The effect of probiotics on immune regulation, acne, and photoaging. Int J Wom Dermatol 2015;1(2):85-89.
- King S, Glanville J, Sanders ME et al. Effectiveness of probiotics on the duration of illness in healthy children and adults who develop common acute respiratory infectious conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Nutr 2014;112(1):41–54.
- Technical memorandum: Bifidobacterium lactis BI-04. Danisco: Brabrand