Are Probiotics Actually Working for You?
Have you hopped onto probiotic train?
If not, you should! Probiotics deliver a healthy balance of gut bacteria, providing you with numerous health benefits. The gut is often referred to as the second brain of our body, and it is home to trillions of microorganisms — known as the microbiome — and they form gut flora of human intestine. A healthy gut microbiome is considered to be composed of 85% of good bacteria and 15% of harmful bacteria.
Your gut flora performs various tasks in your body, such as managing appetite; digestion; absorption of nutrients; controlling metabolism; producing enzymes, vitamins and neurotransmitters; influencing immunity; reducing inflammation; and communicating with the brain. In contrast, unhealthy flora causes diseases and inflammations when not treated correctly.
The need for probiotics
There is a wide variety of factors that can disturb the delicate balance of gut flora, such as antibiotics; stress; gut infection; sugar and other inflammatory food; artificial sweaters; and birth control pills are just a few of many. When this disturbance turns into chronic gut imbalance, it may cause various health problems, including food sensitivities, skin issues, mood conditions, joint pain, digestive distress, immune dysfunction and candida infections.
To restore your gut flora to the proper balance, one must change their lifestyle and diet, as well as introduce probiotics to their system.
Do probiotics really work?
It is tough to know how your body will respond to a new probiotic, because everyone’s personal microbiome is different. Possible symptoms from just starting a probiotic include gas, bloating, acne, rashes, cramps and diarrhea. But don’t worry — all of these conditions are signs that things are changing inside the gut. These side effects let you know that the probiotics are correcting your microbial balance, and your body is trying to accept the right changes. All these adverse effects are minor and won’t last for more than three weeks. They do not mean you should stop taking probiotics.
The benefits of using probiotics will appear within a week to a few months. They are:
Sign 1: Better mood
There is a partnership between the brain and the gut, known as the gut-brain axis. The gut and brain produce many similar neurotransmitters. When stressed, the brain warns the gut of potential danger, which results in an upset or nervous stomach. Likewise, chronic digestive issues also generate anxiety and depression. It is now estimated that our digestive tract produces 90% of the serotonin in the body, a chemical that helps regulate happy moods. In addition to serotonin, the gut also generates gamma-aminobutyric acids that are essential for mood-regulating. So, if your probiotic works well, your stomach becomes happier, and so do you!
Sign 2: High energy
As the population of good bacteria rises in the gut, people start noticing increased energy levels. This is because the beneficial microbes start extracting more nutrients from the food you eat and absorbing more vitamins and minerals, ultimately resulting in higher energy.
Sign 3: Fewer carbs/sugar cravings
Adding probiotics into the diet is considered as one of the best ways to reduce sugar cravings. A poor diet severely affects the diversity of gut bacteria — a condition known as dysbiosis — and it leads to a need for sugary drinks and food. Prebiotic fibers are great gut flora sources, and when the gut flora is in proper balance, sugar cravings tend to disappear.
Sign 4: Ease of digestive troubles
Probiotics restore the natural balance of bacteria that is disrupted through the use of antibiotics or because of an infection. In addition, probiotics maintain proper digestion, which results in regular bowel movements. You will also experience a reduction in bloating and gas, as well as fewer episodes of inflammation and discomfort in the digestive tract.
Sign 5: Weight loss
Improvement in gut health also helps your body to get rid of excess weight by fat metabolism through biochemical modulation. The gut starts aiding appetite regulation and telling the brain when it is time to stop eating. Probiotics help in releasing the GLP-1 hormone, which helps us to eat less while burning calories and fat. Probiotics also increase the ANGPTL4 protein level, which decreases fat storage.
Sign 6: Lower anxiety and better response to stress
It is a fact that having an intestinal infection increases the risk of developing anxiety disorders. The absence of certain bacteria in the gut may alter our brain functions, which can increase anxiety. Probiotics establish or reestablish the colony of beneficial bacteria inside the gut and help to reduce stress.
Sign 7: Improved immunity
Probiotics strengthen the immune system. Gut health and a strong immune system are closely related, and 70–80% of immune cells are located in the stomach. The gut plays a vital role in the digestion and absorption of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and all of these components strengthen the immune system. Gut microbiota strengthen our gut wall, protect us from harmful bacteria, regulate inflammation and manage inflammatory immune responses. A good probiotic decreases the frequency of seasonal allergies, colds and the flu.
Sign 8: Improved skin health and appearance
Healthy gut flora improves the elimination of bodily waste. Because your skin is an organ used for detoxification, good gut health also contributes to clear and healthy skin.
Sign 9: Fewer yeast infections
An excellent bacterial balance supports antibiotic treatment and helps to prevent infections. A healthy gut flora promotes microbial ecosystem in the female genital region.
Sign 10: Proper cognitive functioning
Gut microbes can also help improve cognition. Many studies have revealed that probiotics help improve brain function associated with cognitive dysfunctions such as Alzheimer’s disease or bipolar disorder. Regular use of probiotics improves the ability of an individual to focus, process information, remember and achieve an overall better cognitive performance.