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October 11, 2017

Probiotics and Your Gut Health

Probiotics and Your Gut Health

Image via Alimentary Health

Taking probiotic supplements has been shown to improve symptoms of bowel conditions

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide a health benefit. According to the NHS, taking probiotics are thought to help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut (including your stomach and intestines) when it has been disrupted by an illness, poor diet, infections, some antibiotics treatments or other external factors such as stress.

What do gut bacteria do?

Our gut contains trillions of bacteria, including at least 1,000 different species with more than three million genes (150 times more than human genes). Collectively, this is known as the gut microbion. Our gut bacteria play a critical role in our health—the collective metabolic activity is equivalent to that of the liver.

  • They help the body to digest certain foods that the stomach and small intestine have not been able to digest.
  • They help with the production of some vitamins (B and K)
  • They help us protect us from unwelcome pathogenics organism
  • They play an important role in the immune system, performing a barrier effect
  • A healthy and balanced gut microbiome is key to ensuring proper digestive functioning

How important are these bacteria to the body?

The gut bacteria, or microbiome, has been described as the ‘forgotten organ’. Scientists are just beginning to understand the complex relationships we have with these bacterial cultures and that they have with each other.

Many factors can disturb this delicate system, including antibiotics, stress and inadequate nutrition. Digestive conditions are more common than ever, including food intolerances, constipation, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and irritable bowel disease (IBS).

In the last decade, research has also shown the impact that gut bacteria can have on our stress levels and mood, also known as the gut-brain axis.

Are there any food or drinks I should avoid in order to keep my gut bacteria healthy?

Avoid processed foods which are high fat and sugar foods and, of course, sugary drinks.

What should I be doing to keep myself healthy?

What is good for us is also good for our bacteria. The food we eat plays an essential role in maintaining the diversity and proper functioning of our gut microbiota. A varied and balanced diet is essential. A healthy gut has a diverse community of microbes, each of which prefer different foods. Eat a wide range of plant-based foods and eat more fibre. Most people eat less fibre than they should. Fruit, vegetables, pulses, nuts and wholegrains feed healthy bacteria. Even exercise can have a positive effect on your gut health.

How do I know if I can benefit from taking food supplements containing bacteria?

The NHS advise that if you're considering taking probiotics, there are a few issues you need to be aware of.

Firstly, probiotics are generally classed as food rather than medicine, which means they don't undergo the rigorous testing that medicines do.

Because of the way probiotics are regulated, we can’t always be sure that:

  • The product actually contains the bacteria stated on the food label
  • The product contains enough bacteria to have an effect
  • The bacteria are able to survive long enough to reach your gut

It's also worth noting that there are many different types of probiotics that may have different effects on the body and little is known about which types are best. Don't assume the beneficial effects seen with one type are the same as other similar types or will be repeated if used for another purpose.

Lastly, there's likely to be a huge difference between the pharmaceutical-grade probiotics that show promise in clinical trials and the yoghurts and supplements sold in shops. Clinical studies have shown that probiotics help maintain digestive health (through different mechanisms).

Can vegetarians and vegans take precision biotic supplements?

Yes.

Here at PrecisionBiotics we discover unique ‘good’ bacteria to help consumers and clinicians all over the world.

Our scientists have discovered hundreds of different bacterial cultures and they've put each one through rigorous scientific tests. Amongst these hundreds are a handful of special bacteria that stand out because of the precise and significant improvement they make to human gut health.

When these live cultures pass all our tests, which include clinical trials in the UK and Europe, the PrecisionBiotics team produce them in a high quality and convenient form for consumers and clinicians.

All of our cultures occur naturally in the human gut and many are from the family of bacteria that are passed from mother to baby at birth.

We do not use or add bacterial cultures of animal origin.

For more information visit: http://www.precisionbiotics.com