Incorporating Probiotics into your lifestyle can be a great technique to implement into your health plan if you’re looking to improve your overall wellbeing. We spoke to Microbz about what some of the benefits of using probiotics might be.
What are the benefits of incorporating probiotics into your diet?
Probiotics and the regenerative microbes they contain lie at the heart of our wellness and our immunity to disease. That’s because our gut contains trillions of microbes. If they get destroyed or out of balance through poor diet, infections, overuse of antibiotics or even stress, then our digestion suffers, and so does our general health. Good digestive health is vital because it strengthens our immune system, so we are better able to fight off allergies and diseases. Probiotics help to repair and support our microbiome, our own community of trillions of single cell living organisms. As we look after it, it looks after us.
Research has shown that our gut microbiota affects our mental as well as our physical wellbeing. There is a lot more to understand about the gut/mind connection, but evidence of the benefits of probiotics is on the increase.
Should a medical professional be consulted before starting?
If you have a medical problem, it is always best to consult a doctor. However, probiotics contain naturally occurring and organic microbes that will have no adverse effects on your health. Some people may experience a change in their gut behaviour while adjusting to some probiotics or individual microbes but this is natural and not a cause for concern. Some medications though, especially antibiotics, might negate all or most of the beneficial effects of a good probiotic.
What is a microbe and what do they do?
Take a deep breath because this is a big question. Microbes are microscopic organisms and are hugely diverse. They have been around for billions of years and are the foundation of life on earth. They inhabit every part of the planet from 40 miles high in the atmosphere to the deepest ocean. You have at least ten times more microbes in, on and around you than you have cells in your body. With every breath, you take in billions of microbes.
There are at least 1000 different known species of microbes just in the gut. They each have a role to play in the healthy functioning of the whole inner and outer ecosystem, and together they perform and support countless vital functions in the body.
Microbes make up 70 percent of all living matter so they are essential and ever-present and we need to learn to live with them and support them.
What are probiotics typically made up of?
Probiotics contain a mixture of beneficial microbes, many of which have traditionally been used for fermenting food. Of course, there are lots of varieties of probiotics available today, and most contain strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium plus other microbe families, as well as yeasts and fungi. Some may add a variety of minerals, essential enzymes and herbs.
See also: What are the Benefits of Probiotics?
What should I consider regarding my digestive health when looking into nutritional supplements?
Your microbiome is the single most important aspect of your health. Without a good balance of microbes in your digestive system, many supplements will not be fully absorbed. Supplements that contain natural ingredients are easily absorbed by the microbiota because they most closely resemble how microbes exist in foods.
How many probiotics can be taken at any one time?
Probiotics are basically harmless but if you take too many they could be wasted as any excess your body does not need will pass through you. If you are taking probiotics to build up your microbes and your immunity then little and often is best, along with a fresh, varied diet and pre-biotics which provide a helpful environment for microbes to survive and re-colonise.
What is the best way to take probiotics?
A liquid live probiotic is the most effective and direct way to deliver friendly microbes to the gut. Some pills or powders may contain additives, and freeze-dried microbes need to be resurrected within the body. A liquid solution works well, taken early in the morning or late at night, either straight or mixed with water or a good juice. Look for a ph acidity of around 3.4 – 3.8, as many probiotics are affected by stomach acid which means few make it through to actually survive and recolonise.
What simple health mistakes can have a negative impact on my digestive system and how can I go about improving these?
Our bodies are very forgiving, and once we get close to a healthy diet they begin to correct themselves quickly. However, to fully recover from years of poor diet and misuse, common wisdom recommends two years of a healthy diet and probiotics. Let’s put it this way: what keeps your gut healthy is:
• Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, not too much meat and stay away from processed foods.
• Drinking two litres of plain, good water every day. Our cells need water to flush out toxins and function smoothly. Bear in mind microbes don’t like chlorine whether we drink it or bathe in it.
• Exercising regularly, it improves blood flow and keeps everything in motion!
• Prolonged stress causes havoc in the gut, and since the gut is the largest immune organ in the body, any weakness leads to inflammation and disease. Get enough rest, and try yoga or meditation: it’s important, and you are worth it.
What are the signs of a healthy digestive system?
‘All disease begins in the gut’ – Hippocrates said this 2000 years ago, and we now have proof that 60-80 percent of our immunity is housed in our gut. Those trillions of diverse microbes together form a giant waste disposal unit. If our system is sluggish and waste material builds up, then toxic pathogens can flourish, causing illness and disease.
Some indicators of a healthy digestive system are:
• Clear skin without blemishes
• Daily elimination
• Mild-smelling breath
• No mucous, partially digested food, or blood in your stools
• Elimination time between 18 and 24 hours
• A big bowel movement in the morning
• A smaller bowel movement later in the day
• Soft, well-formed stools expelled effortlessly
• Vigorous energy and clear thinking
Are probiotics available for pets as well? If so, would it be worthwhile?
Yes, definitely. Vets became aware of the need for probiotics for pets before doctors did for humans! Probiotics can have more obvious and quicker effects on animals. Animals seem to instinctively know they are beneficial and often prefer water or food with microbes added.
Jeff Allen: Founder, Director and Master Brewer of Microbz Ltd
Microbz Ltd makes and distributes probiotics that are good for you and for the planet. Beneficial microbes form the basis of their 100% natural probiotics for gut heath, household, garden, and animals. Microbes provide an effective alternative to chemical products. www.microbz.co.uk
To find out more about Probiotics have a look at the Celebrity Angels guide on the health benefits they can provide.