Right now, there are more than 5,000 species of bacteria living within your gut! In fact, the intestinal microbiota is a delicate, and individual, balance of bacteria, archaea, viruses, protists, and fungi. Made up of seemingly beneficial and not-so-beneficial microbes, these tiny creatures have an important role to play in supporting overall health and well-being. However, many of us are not looking after our gut and our residential microbes as well as we should be.
There are many factors within our control – diet, medication, and lifestyle, and some out of our control – such as ageing, which can disrupt the balance of “good” to “bad” microbes in our gut. Coupled with this is the fact that we know very little about what constitutes a healthy microbiome or “good” and ‘bad” microbes. A healthy microbiome may simply be the microbiome you have when you’re healthy! In any case, if you suffer from digestive issues, poor immune health or feel out of balance, your gut microbiota may be having a big influence. Pre and probiotics work together, and can help restore our gut flora balance: Probiotics are supplements containing live bacteria or yeasts, which are aimed at increasing the number of beneficial microbes in the digestive tract. Prebiotics are the food that probiotics and other microbes feed on. A prebiotic can increase the effectiveness of a probiotic. Research has shown that a combination of pre and probiotics taken together can increase the number of seemingly good microbes and restore optimal gut flora balance more effectively than taking probiotics alone. There are many well-known benefits of taking pre and probiotics: Aid digestive function Support the immune system: Did you know that: 80% of the immune system is located in the gut?
- Restore balance in the gut after a course of antibiotics
However, there are many less well-known but highly beneficial reasons to take a daily pre and probiotic. Here are our top five:
1. Cardiovascular Support
Taking a pre and probiotic can support a strong immune system, blood pressure, and electrolyte and mineral balance within the body. Circulation and blood pressure issues are commonly seen in the development of cardiovascular disease. Pre and probiotics also help to break down bile salts in the gut having a positive effect on supporting blood lipid balance.
2. Metabolism and Weight Management
Pre and probiotics support energy levels, balanced blood sugar levels, and help manage appetite. Studies show the benefits of pre and probiotics in supporting appetite management. Pre and probiotics can also help the body to metabolise fats and support balance for the hormones that influence how and where we store fat for healthy weight management.
3. Skin health
As our skin is our largest organ it is ultimately a reflection of our true inner state of health. If we are run down and have poor gut function one of the first places to be negatively impacted is our all-important gut microbes. This has a flow on effect for our skin health, as we may fail to adequately absorb vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients from our diets. A healthy gut microbiota helps to rid us of toxins and free radicals which damage the skin by supporting our skin barrier function. Our gut microbes also have an impact on our collagen production, therefore having their own anti-aging effect. In addition, pre and probiotics can help to support dry skin conditions.
4. Hormone Release and Mood Support
Neurotransmitter imbalances within the brain may be affected by poor gut health and an imbalance of microbes. Disorders such as worry and low mood have been linked to gut health due to their relationship with the neurotransmitter serotonin, 90% of which is made in the gut. Pre and probiotics can support a balanced mood, through their ability to help the absorption and metabolism of essential nutrients and a healthy balance of stress hormones such as cortisol.
5. Bone Health and Muscle Recovery
Pre and probiotics help the absorption of nutrients within the gut; supporting our health, wellbeing, and ability to undertake day-to-day activities. Minerals such as calcium and magnesium are crucial for bone health offering strength and rigidity to ensure strong bones which is especially important during growth and as we age. Pre and probiotics help the strength and endurance of our muscles supporting recovery and helping to minimise delayed onset muscle issues. Not only do pre and probiotics support the digestive and immune systems, they also help to support our cardiovascular system, metabolism, skin, mood, bone, and muscle health. Contemporary fast-paced living has seen a change in our diet and lifestyle and as a result the environment of our gut. It is important to actively support your gut health so that your body can absorb all the key nutrients it needs to ensure you get the most out of every day.