‘Probiotics’ has practically reached millennial buzzword status. Synonymous with gut health and wellness, they’re almost everywhere you look – skincare, yoghurts, smoothies – and even chocolate!
This emerging dialogue and willingness to discuss digestive health is a welcome movement in my eyes, since the rather unglamorous gut health topic has previously been rather taboo!
But despite their evolving fame, lots of people I chat to are still unaware of the vast array of benefits introducing a quality probiotic into your diet can bring.
Thanks to a number of my IBS posts gaining traction on Google and YouTube, I’m contacted almost daily by those suffering with digestive symptoms who are craving an equilibrium to their troubles. And while I’m not a medical expert of any kind and therefore steer clear of giving any kind of practical advice, from a personal experience I always talk very highly about probiotics. And here’s why…
The more the merrier!
We all have over 100 trillion teeny tiny microbes of bacteria in our stomach & intestines – and what they lack in size, they make up for in power. These microscopic organisms play a huge role in the functioning of our bodies – including our everyday health, immune systems, weight, skin, hair, mental health and digestion.
From the day we are born, we are populated with these microbes – and we continually build them up – in quality and quantity – both of which are extremely important. We absorb these microbes naturally from the foods we eat and the things we touch – but we also unintentionally destroy some of the army of cultures we’ve built up too – through taking antibiotics and keeping clean.
And not all bacteria are the same. Different strains and cultures provide a variety of benefits for thousands of chemical processes in your body. A wide array of bacterias makes our bodies more capable and resilient. I guess it’s a little like a team in a workplace. A workforce is more capable and successful when colleagues bring a variety of valuable skillsets, expertise and backgrounds to the table! If everyone was identical, growth and resilience may be a little stagnant!
So it’s important to supply the gut with a varied range of bacterias in order to boost the diversity and create a thriving city of microbe inhabitants to help boost our health!
Sometimes you can feel a little worse, before you feel better…
Since we live in a very fast-paced world where most of our requests are delivered just a click away – quite often we expect immediate results when it comes to our supplements and probiotics, but of course that isn’t always the case.
In my experience, when I started taking Symprove (one of the most renowned probiotics in the UK) back in 2014 my stomach related symptoms actually worsened before I began to see some improvement. This is very normal – and actually means the good bacteria are getting to work repopulating your gut – but often it can mean people give up prematurely and stop taking them.
Any changes in the gut microbiota (that’s the bacteria that lives in your digestive tract) can cause bloating, gas and diarrhoea – but when you’re delivering tonnes of good cultures, thankfully it’s just a temporary change and with a bit of patience, you’ll be through the other side in no time.
In order to reap the full benefits, I personally found 2-3 weeks was the point I started to notice a considerable difference and feel better.
They can boost your immune.
Over 80% of our immune system relies in the lining of our gut – something I couldn’t quite wrap my head around until I tried Symprove for the very first time.
I was on antibiotics an awful lot as a teenager and subsequently I suffered a lot with a reduced immune system. I picked up every bug going round and seemed to constantly be unwell.
But when there is richness and diversity of bacteria in your gut, your immune system is stronger and more stable.
And after a 12-week course of Symprove, I found this to be true – as I went for a year’s stint of not being ill at all (not even a sniffle or a cough) for a full 12 months! Even when I finally picked up flu-like symptoms during freshers week, they were over in less than 24 hours – whereas previously they’d have knocked me flat for a good couple of days.
These days, I make sure I take a probiotic daily – and I change these round every three months to switch up the strains/cultures I’m feeding to my gut!
Both diet & supplements can help
I had no idea that today, 75% of the world’s food originates from only twelve plants and five animals. Industrial farming practices have reduced the diversity of the bacteria available to us – so while it’s extremely valuable to ensure a varied diet and plenty of fibre, to feed our gut bacteria – probiotics such as Symprove can also be hugely beneficial to supplement our intake.
Some of the best probiotics in the UK are taken in liquid form, including Symprove – which delivers cultures to the gut surviving and thriving in the perfect format!
In order to optimise your gut health – it’s important to ensure both richness (the quality) and diversity (a range). That way, your gut has the right skillset and number of bacterias with that skillset to fight whatever it needs to!
For example, if you think of your gut having to face a metaphorical fire. You’ll need a bacteria with the right skillset in order to know how to tackle the fire – aka firefighter! And you’ll need enough bacteria with that skillset in order to work together to put it out!
Probiotics can help restore the equilibrium
When I was at my worst with my IBS symptoms (often visiting the bathroom over 12 times in a day), all I craved was a ‘reset’ and a restoration of normality – and thankfully, that is exactly what probiotics gave me.
Poor diet, illness and medication resulted in symptoms such as stomach pains, food intolerances and digestive issues manifesting – since my supply of good bacteria was outweighed by the bad bacteria these things lifestyle habits had created.
Our gut is often referred to as our ‘second brain’ and there’s a reason for that – since so many chemical processes have the contribution of our gut health added to the mix. We know that they are intrinsically connected after all – since when we’re anxious, our stomach churns, gurgles and bubbles away.
A 12-week course of probiotics can help restore the equilibrium, repopulate the gut and get to the root cause of those symptoms. For years I took an assortment of prescribed medications to mask the stomach cramping, diarrhoea and constipation I was suffering with. But while they may have temporarily stuck a plaster on one thing, I wasn’t tackling the real problem.
For me personally, a sense of ‘normality’ was restored after boosting my gut health using probiotics!
Have you tried probiotics before and did you find them helpful?