The benefits probiotics | Improve Gut Health

The benefits probiotics

The benefits probiotics. – Look down at your arm. They’re on you right now. In fact, they’re everywhere. On your skin, in your mouth, on your teeth, just crawling, breathing, and farting all over the place. – Aw, come on! – Relax. I’m just talking about bacteria, and I know reflexively you’re thinking, well, bacteria, that must be a bad thing. Not really. You have more good bacteria than bad bacteria in your body. Our bodies are home to over 100 trillion good bacteria, well over 1,000 species, and somewhere between seven to 9,000 strains of these species. Not only are these bacteria good for us, but they’re practically essential to our survival. This symbiotic relationship between us humans and good bacteria’s known as mutualism, and it’s basically when both parties are benefiting from living together or existing together. If you ever seen a rhino with a little bird sitting on top of its back, it’s called an oxpecker bird. That bird is eating ticks and parasites off the rhino’s back. So the bird is benefiting because it’s getting fed. The rhino’s benefiting ’cause it’s getting less ticks and parasites on its back. Everybody’s winning. (screams excitedly) The type of good bacteria I wanna talk about today lives primarily within your gut, and you’ve heard the term, probiotic.

 It’s become a mega industry, into the hundred-billions of people selling supplements, selling foods that are probiotic-rich. But do we really know what the term probiotic means? Probiotics are live microorganisms, basically bacteria and sometimes yeast, that gives some sort of positive health benefit to the person taking them. In order for me to best explain how probiotics work, we need to understand how the gut works. Now, the job of the gut, and we’re talking about the small intestine and large intestine, is to extract energy from foods, absorb certain nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, and really get rid of the waste. When you’re taking probiotics the majority of the probiotics end up in the end of your intestinal system, also know as the colon. Found within your GI track or your gut is something known as a microbiome. This is the ecosystem that contains bacteria, fungi.

Those things are actually essential to your survival, because unfortunately your digestive system can’t extract all the necessary nutrients from all the different types of foods you’re consuming. So when we’re talking about the good bacteria within your gut, we’re actually talking about the bacteria that’s helping you get some of the nutrients from your food to improve your body’s immune function, to support the integrity of the wall of your intestines. This is the job of the good bacteria. – I just wanted to say thanks, partner. – Our knowledge and the majority of the research done on the microbiome is fairly new, with the majority of the studies popping up in the last 20 years. Within this recent research we found that the gut microbiome is incredibly important to our health, but we don’t totally understand it just yet. We’ve seen relationships between irregularities in the microbiome and diseases like diabetes, obesity, heart disease, mental conditions like depression, anxiety.

 But it’s really a cause-and-effect dilemma. Basically the chicken or the egg. We’re not sure what came first, the irregularities of the microbiome or the illnesses themselves. The gut-mind connection is what truly gets me excited. Just imagine this for a second. The bacteria found within your gut can be controlling your emotions, your depressive, anxiety symptoms, your moods, your appetite even. That’s what preliminary research is showing. After hearing the links of all these serious diseases and the gut-mind connection, you probably wanna keep your microbiome as healthy and diverse as possible. So how do we do that? Well, first of all, you wanna focus on your diet. No surprise here. Focus on eating vegetables, whole grains, legumes. These are fiber-rich foods. Fiber-rich foods are basically known as prebiotics, as they serve as food for the probiotics. Next you wanna consume probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi. These foods naturally contain that good bacteria we’ve been talking about. I know some people resort to taking probiotic supplements, but I’ll touch on that shortly. Now, there have been ways that you can actually hurt your microbiome. First and foremost is a diet rich in refined carbohydrates. I’m talking about white breads, white pasta, white rice, sugars, even artificial sweeteners. Next up is bad sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, I’ve talked about the consequences of that in the past, but it also hurts your microbiome. ‘Cause guess what. The bacteria in your gut also have a circadian rhythm. They like for you to get quality sleep. Next is antibiotics. When you use antibiotics inappropriately or you overuse them, you actually kill off that good bacteria in your gut and you can create an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. Last, but not least, is stress. Yep, those folks who are more stressed out and experience chronic stress for an extended period of time have a disruption of their microbiome, both with higher amounts of bad bacteria and lower amounts of good bacteria. – Stop getting worked up over small things. – Now, probiotic supplements. Multi-billion dollar industry. Marketers are quick to make health claims about the benefits of taking their supplements, but in reality the picture is so much more complex. Like I said earlier, there’s seven to 9,000 different strains of good bacteria inside your gut. Increasing the number of a specific strain can have different impacts depending on which condition you have. Probiotics in general are considered a safe supplement, but there are harms and they do exist, especially if you have a weakened immune system or you have certain illnesses like cancer.

There’s been a recent study that came out of Israel showing that taking probiotics can actually harm your microbiome, depending on which probiotic you take. My recommendation when it comes to probiotic supplements is that the average healthy person should not be taking a daily probiotic. It hasn’t been proven to give enough benefit to warrant the risks, and especially spending money on a supplement that may not give you any benefit whatsoever. Now, the conditions where I have seen evidence to prove that there exists a benefit is in traveler’s diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, very specific conditions known as necrotizing enterocolitis in young children, last but not least, those who have inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis. Notice that these are very specific instances where I reach for probiotics as a possible treatment option.

 For those of you considering starting to take a probiotic, first and foremost, please have a conversation with your doctor or health professional on whether or not you should be actually doing this. Next I want you to not skip proven treatments for your condition and instead go for unproven treatments. Make sure you pay attention to the label. There are a few things to look out for. One, the expiration date and storage instructions. Second, look at the CFUs. That’s the colony-forming units. Look for a number bigger or at five billion. And finally look to get enteric-coated probiotics because those are less likely to get destroyed by the acid in your stomach.

The future of probiotics and even probiotic supplements is very interesting. The potential for unlocking so many new health secrets is really immense. I’m excited about it. You should be excited about it. That’s why I’m gonna be linking some further reading down below in the description. Please dive in and check out the articles that I’m recommending. Jump into my comments section. If you have any questions about anything I’ve said here, if you have any comments or some stories you’d like for me to share, write it down below because I’m interested in what you have to say. And as always, stay happy and healthy. Think about those red-billed oxpeckers (chuckles). So when we’re talking about the good bacteria inside your gut, ew. Do you mind? It’s a probiotic thing. So this is actually, maybe you have good bacteria in your mouth. How much bigger is he than me? It’s pretty crazy, no?   

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