But probiotics do far more than just aid digestion; they have a host of other health and wellness benefits that you need to know about, stat:
Many studies have found a strong connection between the gut and your mental health. And now doctors are finding that gut bacteria may be related to several mental health issues, including autism, anxiety and schizophrenia; (one psychiatrist saw incredible results after prescribing a young girl with severe obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, (ADHD) and an array of digestive problems with a course of probiotics).
According to Jane Foster, associate professor of neuroscience and behavioural science and part of the McMaster University & Brain-Body Institute; “The gut bacteria talk to the brain in multiple ways through either the immune system, or the enteric nervous system…if you imagine a mesh network and you took your intestinal tract and wrapped that like a hot dog bun outside a hot dog. There are more neurons that directly surround your GI tract than in the whole spinal cord.”
So if you’ve been struggling to get to the bottom of a chronic mental health problem, and you’re looking for a natural alternative to commercial medicine, then talk to a doctor about adding probiotics to your treatment plan.
Although the existing research is only preliminary, studies are showing that probiotics benefit the immune system because they help soothe inflammation and support activity in the immune system, (super important as cold and flu season approaches!)
Just remember to get your immune boost from wholesome sources like sauerkraut and kimchi and unsweetened yogurt rather than the preservative-filled, sweetened variety.
Research has found that as well as the gut/brain connection, there’s also a gut/skin connection, and that probiotics can help clear acne prone skin.
The modern lifestyle is filled with processed foods and an overload of stress. This, coupled with our excessive use of antibiotics, can upset the delicate balance of microbes in the gut and cause inflammation of the skin.
The good bacteria in probiotics help calm this inflammation by offsetting the colonisation of the bad bacteria, and reducing sebum production. (Sebum is the greasy secretion responsible for not only oily skin, but acne too).
As well as fermented foods, try a probiotic facemask for a clearer complexion.
It makes sense that because the mouth is the entry way to your gut, probiotics can improve your oral health too.
A significant amount of research shows that probiotics can improve bad breath, gum disease, gingivitis and tooth decay. Eating probiotic-rich foods, (yogurt and fermented foods) is the best way to get results as it puts your mouth in direct contact with the probiotic.
Another place that needs friendly bacteria is your nose, because nasal cavities contain microorganisms which require a healthy balance of flora. Research has even shown that probiotics can help lower your chances of developing allergies.
Depression is also linked to the gut because neurons reside not only in your brain, but your gut too, producing serotonin, a neurotransmitter, which is actually found in the gastrointestinal tract.
Serotonin can impact mood and depression, so if you’re deficient in this hormone, it can lead to anxiety and even mental health issues like autism, ADHD, OCD, schizophrenia and depression.
All the more reason to maintain a healthy balance and optimal amounts of good bacteria in the gut.
Have a look at our Probiotics here.