5 Reasons You NEED to Take Probiotics DailyLisa Kilgour, Nutritionist
June 21, 2018
Is there one supplement that everyone in North America needs to be taking? This is a big question, but it’s looking like there IS an answer.
And that answer is – probiotics.
To understand why we need to talk a bit about our microbiome (otherwise known as our gut bacteria). In a nutshell, it’s HUGE and it plays an enormous role in our health. There are trillions of bacteria living in your gut. Trillions. And to them, you are their whole universe. They make their home inside your gut, so a good colony of friendly bacteria will do everything they can to keep your digestive system happy and healthy. They’ll help you digest your food, they heal damaged cells, and they even influence distant body systems like your brain and metabolism.
But our gut bacteria colony isn’t always friendly. A round of antibiotics or antibiotic residue in your food (like in red meat and farmed fish) can wreak havoc on your microbiome. The “bad” bacteria, yeast, and parasites tend to be a bit more stubborn and aren’t always killed off by antibiotics. They take advantage of the new open space and multiply. This can lead to a gut bacteria imbalance.
The good news is, your diet and the right probiotic supplement can rebalance your gut bacteria very quickly1. Once your microbiome is back into balance they can go back to doing their favourite job of keeping you healthy.
Why you should take probiotics daily:
- We No Longer Have a lot of Bacteria in Our Day-to-Day Lives
We used to live much dirtier lives. Our water was teeming with bacteria, our sanitation wasn’t so fantastic, and our food usually came with an extra bacteria boost.While I’m very happy to have clean water, food, and sanitation…this has caused a few problems with our gut bacteria.A study looked at the difference between two genetically similar groups of people and their rates of the auto-immune condition, Type 1 Diabetes2. One group was in Finland and the other was just over the border in Russia. Each group lived very differently. The Finnish group lived a lot like we do, with clean water and sanitation. The group in Russia lived like we did in the past, with bacteria in their water and poor sanitation. The difference in Type 1 Diabetes was dramatic – the Finnish group (the clean living one) had a 6x higher rate than the Russian group. And the main cause for that difference was the bacteria they took in every day.Instead of throwing away our wonderful water and sanitation, we can replace this bacteria input with a probiotic supplement.
- Fermented Foods Alone Aren’t Enough
Fermented foods are your gut bacteria’s FAVOURITE foods. They’re like an amazing fertilizer for your gut bacteria.
But, the bacteria in fermented foods, like yogurt and sauerkraut, are mostly transient. This means they don’t stay in the gut very long. We need probiotic supplements to add new strains of bacteria in our gut…and then we feed them with our favourite fermented foods.
- They Help us Digest and Absorb the Nutrients in Our Food
Because the bacteria in your gut want you to be healthy, they will help you break down certain nutrients by producing enzymes.Lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk, is the most common enzyme they make. They also help to break down phytate, a common anti-nutrient that’s found in fruits and veggies. Your bacteria work hard at making sure you get the most out of your diet.
- They Can Keep You Healthy When Travelling
An upset tummy can ruin a wonderful vacation very quickly. When we travel we encounter new strains of bacteria and parasites, and sometimes they want to jump on board. If your microbiome is strong and healthy there isn’t any room to multiply and so they move right on out. I always bring probiotics when travelling, and a favourite of mine is the Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotic It’s shelf-stable (great for travelling) AND it’s fermented. It’s a perfect combo to keep my tummy happy when I’m travelling.
- They May Help Reduce Anxiety & Depression Symptoms
Our brain and our gut are highly linked and both are full of neurons (brain cells) and neurotransmitters (brain chemicals). 90% of our serotonin (the “feel-good” neurotransmitter) is made in our gut!
Research is finding that probiotic supplements can simultaneously help both our digestive system and our depression and anxiety symptoms3. Our gut may be the new frontier for mental health research4!
Probiotic supplements are important for more than just your gut since their benefits reach other body systems like our immune system and our brain. Now that we live in a wonderfully clean world, we need to do our gut a favour by taking a probiotic supplement every day.