Over the last ten years or so, the talk of probiotic supplements has got bigger but what are they and why do we need them?
Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for our health. Within our digestive systems live trillions of good and bad bacteria that keep us healthy but the key is maintaining the right balance. Over 70% of our immune system lies within our gut so if our digestive system is compromised, chances are our immunity and general health could be too.
There has been a lot of attention in recent years on gastrointestinal bacteria and its role in mental health conditions. The gut is often referred to as ‘the second brain’ and is connected to the brain by millions of neurons, hormones and chemicals that constantly send messages to each other. That Butterfly feeling in your stomach when you are nervous, or an upset stomach when stressed is a good example of the gut-brain connection at work.
Numerous studies are finding that probiotics have a big role to play in the management of disorders such as autism, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
Neurotransmitters such as serotonin (often known as the happy hormone) are also made in the gut so optimal digestive health is vital.
Sadly, many people fail to understand the importance of beneficial bacteria in our gut and continue to suffer with numerous health conditions which can often be helped by taking probiotics and of course, making some simple diet changes.
Everyday factors such as diet (alcohol, high sugar intake), stress, anti-biotics, travel and ageing can reduce the natural levels of good bacteria in our gut which help keep us healthy. The key is to maintain the right balance.
The below are just some health conditions that may benefit from taking a good quality probiotic;
- IBS / Leaky gut
- Food intolerances
- Candida overgrowth / thrush
- Eczema / psoriasis
- Obesity / difficulty losing weight
- Anxiety / low mood / depression
- Learning difficulties / Autism
- Auto-immune conditions
- General low immunity
I’m a big fan of Optibac probiotics and have used them whilst on antibiotics and also whilst travelling to avoid getting ill which I used to in the past when abroad. They are a family run business with a great ethos and they have a range of over 8 products to suit everyone from an ‘Every day’ probiotic to ones for those on antibiotics, travelling abroad and even a range for children and babies. They have also produced over 200 clinical trials with ongoing research.