Probiotics are infused in almost everything nowadays. What people don’t know is that a lot of companies promoting products with probiotics are simply using that as a marketing or sales tactic, since gut health is all the rage right now. While they may have the best intentions by adding probiotics to some of our favorite treats and skincare products, it’s simply not enough to provide adequate benefits to our bodies. Quality here matters.
What are Probiotics?
At the most basic level, probiotics contain live microorganisms that help balance the good bacteria in your gut in order for it to carry out essential functions and to support proper digestion. These bacteria help digest food, destroy disease-causing cells and even produce vitamins. If they’re good, many of the microorganisms in probiotic products are the same as the ones naturally produced by our bodies.
Prebiotics vs. Probiotics
So we’ve talked probiotics… but what about prebiotics? Prebiotics are a type of fiber that fuel bacteria growth. They are made up of carbs that are not digested by your body. By no means do you have to take a prebiotic for probiotics to work, but taking them together might make your probiotics more effective. You better believe, ours has both.
Why do we care?
One word. Imbalances. An imbalance of bacteria in the gut is called dysbiosis. This has possible links to IBS(C) and IBS(D), colitis, diabetes, skin conditions, and many more. Cue probiotic treatment.
The best case for probiotic treatment is diarrhea. Studies suggest that probiotics reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 60%. Even more common than diarrhea is the opposite, constipation. Researchers found that probiotics increased the number of weekly bowel movements by 1.3 and helped soften stools, making them easier to pass for those suffering with frequent constipation.
So what are some symptoms of an unhealthy gut…
- Stomach Disturbances: Gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea are signs that the bacteria in your gut may be imbalanced. A more balanced gut is likely to digest properly without complications.
- Weight Changes: If you notice you are gaining or losing weight unintentionally without changes to diet or exercise routine, you may want to check your gut. An imbalance may impair your ability to absorb nutrients and store fat, thus causing fluctuation in weight.
- Constant Fatigue: 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut. Serotonin is an important hormone that affects your mood and sleep. If there are issues with imbalances, you may experience difficulty getting quality sleep or show signs of mood swings.
- Skin Irritation: Eczema specifically. Inflammation in your gut may cause leaking of certain proteins that can really irritate the skin (most often in the form of eczema).
- Food Intolerances: Having trouble digesting certain foods? Could be a food intolerance. Dairy, gluten and caffeine are the most popular. Poor quality of bacteria in the gut may be a cause..
- Getting Sick Often: An unhealthy gut may also increase inflammation and alter the functioning of the immune system, which can lead to ongoing sickness and even autoimmune diseases.
Believe it or not, 70% of the immune system is located in the gut, so let’s take care of it.
What can I do?
Eat Slowly: Believe it or not, the pace at which you eat affects your digestion. Chewing slowly and thoroughly allows fuller absorption and easier digestion, reducing the likelihood of discomfort.
Stay Hydrated: Water! Drinking plenty of water is a simple way to promote a healthy gut. Water has been shown to help promote intestinal health, specifically in the lining to promote better flow.
Check for Food Intolerances: Feel icky after eating certain foods? Keep track so you can eliminate any foods that may cause issues. Unfortunately for some, that means no more ice cream or bread, but it’s a simple price to pay to promote a healthy gut.
Reduce Stress: Meditate, take a walk, listen to music. Do anything and everything you can to keep yourself centered. We talk about the impact of stress a lot… and it’s kind of insane how much of an effect it can have on the body. Make this one a priority for better overall wellness.
Take a Probiotic: We’ve talked about the incredible benefits of adding a probiotic to your daily routine, but please note that not all probiotic supplements are high quality.
What to look for in a probiotic…
Not all probiotics are the same. Health benefits are absolutely strain-specific.
When it comes to probiotics you want to look for well-researched strains like the bifidobacterium or lactobacillus species. Bifidobacterium belong to a group of bacteria called lactic acid bacteria, which is considered friendly bacteria that grows and multiplies in areas where they normally would be found. Lactobacillus can help us break down food, absorb nutrients, and fight organisms that might cause gastrointestinal issues.
Note, the number of billions of colony-forming units listed, isn’t what you should be looking for in a probiotic. Some companies use high numbers of colony forming units when marketing their products to make you think their product is higher in quality. We know you’re smarter than that and we value transparency, so we don’t hide behind these shady marketing tactics to sell our products.
Éstora Probiotics provide a full-spectrum beneficial flora for gastrointestinal health. We use a unique fermentation process with 95 different natural herbs and barks, cultured for 3 years to produce healthy, mature flora and high-bioavailable nutrients for maximum absorption. All in time release capsules to allow nutrients to pass all the way to the gut. Did we mention ours are dairy free, shelf stable and gluten-free too? Yes, you heard that right! Check them out here.