How to Use Probiotics to Improve Digestion, Mental Health, and More

The word “probiotic” is a compound of two Greek words. The first being “pro”, which signifies formation. The second being “biotic”, which means life. When you put them together, you get a friendly bacteria designed to support life.

 

Your body is teeming with bacteria, both good and bad. In order to maintain optimum health, there must be a balance between these bacteria, with a favor toward the good.

 

Unfortunately, junk food consumption, excessive use of antibiotics, poor soil quality, and chronic stress have all caused an imbalance in gut bacteria, which has resulted in millions of people struggling with chronic digestive problems, poor mental health, allergies, weakened immunity, and frequent infections.

 

When you add probiotics to your diet, you treat these conditions naturally while affirming and strengthening your entire living being.

 

Here is a short list of some of the amazing health benefits provided by probiotics:

 

  • Improvement in Digestive Health

One of the top health benefits of probiotics is their ability to treat digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). According to a study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, female IBS patients experienced relief of abdominal pain and irregularity when given a probiotic supplement containing the bacterial strain, Bifidobacterium infantis.

 

Regular probiotic supplementation can also improve your body’s ability to digest food and absorb its nutrients; a key factor in treating any chronic condition.

 

  • Stabilization of Mental Health

Over the past decade, studies have emerged that reveal a direct relationship between the gut microbiome and brain function. According to research, probiotics have been shown to alleviate depressive-like behaviors and anxiety in animal models.

 

One research study (published in Gut Pathogens) concentrated on 39 patients diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Patients were divided into two categories, one receiving 24 billion colony forming units of Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota, the other receiving a placebo.

 

When the study was complete, it was revealed that the patients in the probiotic group experienced a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms as compared with the placebo group.

 

In another study, a group of 40 patients diagnosed with depression was divided into a probiotic and a placebo group. At the end of eight weeks, depression scores were significantly reduced in the probiotic group.

 

  • Healthy Immune System Function

Poor immune health can lead to frequent infections and allergy development. It is believed that probiotics treat allergic symptoms by relieving inflammation, improving mucosal barrier function, and stabilizing the immune system.

 

Repeated physical exertion can take its toll on the immune system, making manual laborers and athletes more susceptible to frequent infection.

 

probiotics_healthy_immune_system

 

A study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that elite New Zealand rugby players experienced 40 percent fewer colds and gastrointestinal infections when they took a probiotic supplement.

 

  • Healing of and Protection Against Skin Disorders

A high-quality probiotic supplement can help reduce the inflammation that triggers acne, eczema, and other eruptive skin conditions. Probiotic strains that have been found to be especially effective against acne include Lactobacillus, L. acidophilus, and B. bifudum. Lactobacillus also shows promise in reducing eczema flares.

 

  • Prevention of Frequent Gynecological Infections

Research has suggested that there are more than 300 million cases of yeast vaginitis, bacterial vaginosis, and urinary tract infections in America each year.

 

It is estimated that 75 percent of American women will experience a yeast infection in their reproductive years, with 40 to 50 percent of those women enduring recurrent episodes.

 

Certain strains of Lactobacilli produce substances such as lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, which inhibit the development of bacterial vaginosis and other chronic gynecological infections.

 

Studies have shown that the bacterial strain, L. acidophilus may help prevent infection and manage an active one when used as a vaginal suppository.

 

The Best Food Sources of Probiotics

The fact of the matter is, you cannot be healthy unless your gut is healthy. If you’re living with any of the above conditions, it means your intestinal flora is unbalanced.

 

Here are five excellent food sources of probiotics you can use to restore that balance:

 

  1. Raw Milk

One of the best food sources of probiotics is raw milk. Epidemiological evidence has shown that the probiotic bacteria and microbial enzymes contained in raw milk may help prevent hay fever, eczema, and multiple food and chemical sensitivities.

 

  1. Unflavored Yogurt

Plain, unflavored yogurt made from raw milk is another excellent food source of healing probiotics.

 

  1. Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made with lacto-fermented cabbage.

 

  1. Kombucha Tea

Kombucha tea is a fermented type of green or black tea. It comes in several different flavors and tastes similar to soda.

 

  1. Fermented Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut fermented in the traditional style teems with healthy bacteria. You can eat sauerkraut plain, over a salad, as a side dish for eggs, or heaped onto an organic, grass-fed hot dog. (Avoid heating the sauerkraut, as this will destroy its healing enzymes.)

 

The Advantages of Taking a Probiotic Supplement

If you’re not a fan of fermented foods or feel you won’t consume enough of them to make a difference, consider adding a probiotic supplement to your diet. For best results, keep your supplement refrigerated, and take it in the morning at least half an hour before eating your first meal.

 

probiotic_supplements

 

Probiotic supplements are portable and convenient, making them easier to add to your daily routine.

 

Important Notes: Probiotics may not be safe for those who are severely immunocompromised. Always speak with your doctor before using probiotics or any other dietary supplements. If you’re new to probiotics, start small. A high dose taken the first time may trigger diarrhea. Listen to your body, and build your intake gradually.

 

We were not placed on this earth to suffer from chronic stomach pain, allergies, mental health problems, and infections. We are meant to be healthy and whole.

 

When you add probiotics to your diet, you’re not only improving your life, you’re improving the lives of those around you by offering them the best version of yourself.

 

If you’re in the local area, stop by our Meriden, CT store to pick up some kombucha, raw milk, or a quality probiotic supplement.

 

Not sure which probiotic is right for you? No problem. My team and I will be happy to advise you when you come in!

 

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Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2886445/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25470391

http://gutpathogens.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1757-4749-1-6

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201602/probiotics-depression

http://jn.nutrition.org/content/137/3/794S.short

http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/more-proof-probiotics-boost-immunity

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24045086

http://www.livescience.com/46502-probiotics-hold-promise-skin-conditions.html

http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2008/3/warding-off-chronic-yeast-and-bacterial-infections/page-01