Probiotics have taken the health and wellness world by storm in the past several years. Having healthy intestinal flora is linked to immune health, improving symptoms of autism, boosting metabolism, providing essential vitamins, easing colic, solving yeast overgrowth, and of course improving gut health, especially in those with digestive disorders. But recently, scientists are finding that there is a direct link between healthy gut bacteria and mood. The healthier your gut, the better your mood.
What are probiotics? Let’s quickly break it down. Probiotics are exactly what the name means: good bacteria. Everyone’s intestines are filled with bacteria that help to digest food and kill bad bacteria and other harmful microbes and germs. We naturally get all of this good bacteria first from birth (the birth canal), and then through everyday ingestion of the bacteria around us. But with the use of antibiotics and super clean environments, not all of us has enough of this good bacteria. Probiotics are sold as pills or powders and are also present in fermented foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, and kombucha.
All this good bacteria is pretty amazing and we could not survive without them. There are more of them than cells in our body, making us more bacteria than human. Science is revealing that all that they do for us, but here are some major benefits of probiotics:
Probiotics act as a barrier and major line of defense in our gut. When harmful bacteria and microbes try to invade, they attack. They also keep the environment hostile to harmful germs as well. This good bacteria doesn’t stop there. They produce immune boosting substances that make their way around the body, since much of the immune system is connected and the gut represents the largest part.
Digestive Health Booster
Probiotics, because they line the intestines, work wonders in keeping the digestive system working smoothly. Studies have shown that they help to alleviate symptoms in people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Research is also promising that probiotics could help with other digestive ailments.
Researchers found that those with disorders like depression, anxiety, autism, and hyperactivity all lacked healthy gut flora. All of that good bacteria in the intestines secrete many different chemicals, including those that alter mood (dopamine and serotonin). Studies have found that those given probiotics as a supplement were calmer and exhibited less anxiety. Some scientists are hopeful that probiotics could replace medication for many people suffering from mood disorders. You can read more about this aspect of probiotics on my guest blog post at Lucy Locket Loves: http://www.lucylocketloves.com/feeling-down-try-probiotics/
Female Health Booster:
Many women have to deal with a variety of bacterial and yeast infections throughout their life. When the bad microbes outnumber the good bacteria, these infections occur. Medications can stop the infection but it doesn’t solve the underlying issue, which is not enough good bacteria. Pregnant women are particularly susceptible to infections due to the change in hormones, which changes the environment of the reproductive system. Since infections can lead to preterm labor, probiotics are particularly beneficial to pregnant women.
Childhood Health Booster:
Probiotics are showing amazing potential in helping with a child’s mental and physical health. As we learn just how connected our bodies truly are, we are seeing an improvement in autism symptoms in children that take probiotics. A lack of good bacteria is strongly connected with autism. Probiotics have also been shown to help ease colic, that terrible and inconsolable crying that some infants go through. It is also improves skin issues like eczema and improves behavioral issues.
Probiotics are easy to find and are proving to be an awesome addition to our daily routine. Worth a shot to give these amazing microscopic friends a try!