Top 5 Reasons Pre & Probiotics are Good for the Gut!
We are home to many beneficial bacteria contained in our digestive system and organs. These bacteria are collectively known as gut microbiome (formally gut flora) and are actually doing wonders for us.
The exact number of bacteria just hanging out in our digestive system is beyond belief. It is estimated that an average adult has approximately 100 trillion of microorganisms in the intestinal system with between 300 and 1000 different kinds of beneficial species. Luckily they are so microscopically small, there is plenty of room for them all to do their very important jobs.
- Colonise the Colon!
Top of the list of jobs for these little critters is colonising beneficial bacteria in the gut.
When all is going well, these bacteria run their ship pretty efficiently. However problems arise when the bad bacteria outnumber the good – things can start to go a little haywire. Imbalance can occur because of a number of different reasons including medications, excess sugars in the diet, illness and disease or lifestyle choices. By preventing the growth of unhelpful bacteria, good bacteria (contained in probiotics) can help restore the natural balance to the digestive system.
Like any living organism however, probiotics need food to survive. Prebiotics are nutrients that induce growth or activity by helping to nourish and feed probiotics to allow them to complete their functions successfully. Found in asparagus, artichokes, chickpeas, chicory root and fibres such as psyllium and slippery elm, prebiotics and are an important inclusion to look for in a probiotic formula.
As well as helping to respore balance in the gut microbiome, probiotics help to boost the hosts immune system. By supporting the balance of the gut microbiome, support is also given to the digestion and absorption of nutrients as well for immune function and general digestive health.
- Support Rebuilding and Repair of Microvilli
Microvilli are microscopic finger like cells that line the intestinal wall. These cells actually increase the surface area of the gut, allowing for increased absorption of nutrients. Microvilli can be damaged or compromised in some digestive and inflammatory digestive conditions and may mean the body does not absorb the essential nutrients it requires. Probiotics help support the rebuilding and repair of the microvilli cells in the gut supporting improvement in digestive health.
- Rebalance the imbalance
Antibiotics, as the name would suggest, attack bad bacteria but may also compromise good bacteria. This may then result in an imbalance of bacteria, which may lead to those classic stomach unpleasantries to arise. Bloating, gas, belching, diarrhoea and even constipation can be some of the possible symptoms of a bacteria imbalance. Probiotics can help to restore the balance of bacteria by boosting numbers of beneficial bacteria.
- Mood Support
It is now thought that gut flora may be linked to our moods. Suggestions are that up to 85% of the serotonin receptor sites in your body are in the gut. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that omits feelings such as happiness, laughter and positivity so when serotonin is low we start to feel the opposite of these emotions. Probiotics are thought to influence serotonin receptors, helping to support that ‘feel good’ mood.
It’s a good idea to look for a probiotic with several strains as well as at least one prebiotic to help provide nutrients for the bacteria. It is recommended to consult with your healthcare practitioner if you have any concerns in regards to digestive conditions or symptoms that you may be experiencing.