Gut health remains a hot topic in the wellness world. Commonly referred to as the ‘second brain’, our gut is the key to optimal health – but how exactly can probiotics help? We caught up Hannah Braye, Nutritional Therapist for bestselling probiotic brand Bio-Kult, to find out more...
1. Improve Immunity
Did you know approximately 70% of our immune cells are located within the lining of our gut, and that these cells are supported by our gut bacteria? When our tummy isn’t happy we can be more prone to picking up coughs, colds and other infections – this can be particularly noticeable during the back-to-school period and over the winter months. Studies have shown that live bacteria supplements, such as Bio-Kult Multi-Strain Advanced Formula and Bio-Kult Infantis, may help prevent upper respiratory tract infections, reduce the need for antibiotics, and result in significantly fewer sick days.
2. Boost Mood
Dark winter days do nothing to help low mood, with one in 15 people in the UK now believed to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Those suffering with IBS are also at an increased risk of depression and anxiety, and with evidence suggesting the composition of our gut bacteria can help improve mood via the gut-brain-axis, there’s never been a better time to take a probiotic. Several studies have shown that supplementing with live bacteria can help reduce anxiety and improve symptoms of depression, including the winter blues.
3. Eliminate Eczema
Eczema is believed to be a malfunction of the immune system, with many sufferers experiencing a flare-up in winter months. An issue known as ‘leaky gut’ is a common trigger of eczema, when food proteins and toxins are allowed to migrate into the blood stream, confusing the immune system and causing inflammation. Studies indicate taking a probiotic may help rebalance gut flora, decrease leaky gut and improve immune function. The strains in Bio-Kult Infantis have been shown in clinical trials to significantly improve the severity of atopic eczema in young children, so stock up if your little ones are prone to skin woes.
4. Help Heartburn
While many people think heartburn is down to having excessive amounts of stomach acid, the truth is actually the opposite. When we don’t have enough stomach acid, food ferments in our gut (it struggles to be properly digested), leading to symptoms of heartburn. Taking a probiotic can help to rebalance gut bacteria, thus supporting healthy digestive function.
5. Regulate Sleep
Insomnia is a common problem in the UK, especially as we age. Poor sleep can have a significant impact on our quality of life and health, with studies suggesting getting less than six hours a night can increase the risk of an early death. Research suggetss our gut flora plays a significant role in regulating melatonin (our sleep hormone) as well as reducing stress levels and anxiety, helping those who struggle with their sleep to fall asleep more easily.
6. Manage Weight
As winter sets in, it can be tempting to spend more time indoors, move less and eat heavier, larger meals. If you’re looking to keep your weight on an even keel, it could be worth considering taking a probiotic as research shows our gut bacteria is involved in the control of body weight and food cravings. Studies show the gut flora of obese individuals appears to differ from a lean individual, meaning overweight people actually absorb more calories from their food than those with a healthy weight. The bottom line? Probiotics could help to aid weight loss if taken alongside a healthy, balanced diet.
7. Reduce Bloating
You’re not alone on your quest for a flatter tummy, with up to 30% of the British population reporting feeling bloated at any one time. When bloating occurs, it’s a sign our digestive system is not functioning optimally, most likely due to an imbalance of gut bacteria. The strains in Bio-Kult Advanced and Bio-Kult Infantis have been shown to have potent anti-microbial effects, and studies indicate multi-strain formulas are more effective than others. Plus, live bacteria supplements can help to boost production of digestive enzymes such as lactase (which helps to digest milk), leading to a reduction in gas and bloating.