Your gut microbiota contains approximately 1-2kg or 100 trillion bacteria from about 1000 different types of species. In fact, these bacteria are ten times more than the number of cells of your entire body!
What affects gut health?
Bacteria are not all bad. Most of the bacteria are good and you need them to maintain good health. It is of the utmost importance to keep a correct balance between the good and bad bacteria. Ideally, the colony of microflora should be composed of a ratio of 85% good bacteria to 15% bad bacteria. The key is to promote the growth of good bacteria while reducing the amount of the bad.
The following factors impact the delicate balance of probiotics in your gut:
- Poor dietary choices
- Use of antibiotics
- Lack of exercise
- Alcohol consumption
What are the signs of an unhealthy gut?
When your body does not have enough good bacteria, bad bacteria can thrive. An imbalance of your gut flora can lead to an unhealthy gut which can negatively affect your well-being. Here are some signs to look for:
- Digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea or bloating
- Fatigue or sluggishness
- Mood swings
- Skin problems like eczema
- Poor concentration
- Unexplained weight changes
Why is gut health important?
Probiotics have been shown to promote digestion and optimise the absorption of nutrients. They stimulate the enzymatic activities which break down the food we ingest. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus helps alleviate the symptoms of lactose intolerance by breaking down lactose into simple sugars. In the colon, probiotics stimulate peristalsis which promotes proper bowel movements to eliminate the detrimental waste and toxins from our bodies. Improving the digestion will ultimately relieve a number of digestive conditions including gas, bloating, flatulence and abdominal discomfort.
Your gut and your immune system are closely linked. Housing 80% of your body’s immune cells, your gut plays a vital role as the first line of defence against infections. Probiotics in the gastrointestinal tract form a barrier on the intestinal wall, providing an extra level of defence against infectious bacteria and other triggers from entering the bloodstream.
Probiotics block the bad bacteria by competing for nutrients and adhesion sites on the intestinal epithelial surfaces. By establishing colonies of good bacteria in the gut, probiotics help discourage the less friendly bugs which otherwise the immune system would have to deal with.
What makes a good probiotic formula in health supplements?
Not all probiotics strains are created equal. It is important to use the right strains of probiotics which have been scientifically proven to be effective in treating specific health conditions. To ensure the quality and efficacy, look for a probiotic formula which fortified with prebiotic. Inulin is one of the best-known examples of prebiotics, which help stimulate the growth and activity of probiotics in the gut.
- High strength
- Consists of multiple strains
- Resistant to stomach acid, bile and antibiotics to survive the stomach and intestinal transit
- Stable at room temperature during their storage throughout their shelf life
- In the form of capsules so the bacteria are protected from air, moisture and other contaminants
Maintaining a balanced gut microflora
Tending to the bacteria in your gut is an ongoing process. Supplementing with probiotics offers a fast and effective way to replenish the good bacteria.
Remember, you can only achieve good health when your body is able to effectively absorb and utilise the essential nutrients from what you eat and eliminate the metabolic by-products and toxins from the body.