Let's Talk Probiotics by Krystal Ramos
What's the deal?
Probiotics. What are they? Why are all the health influencers promoting them and why should we be consuming them for our body? I am here to answer all your questions and provide evidenced based information for why everyone should be filling their microbiome with probiotics. Let me begin by discussing what the microbiome is and why it is so important in regulating our metabolic functions.
Our gut is filled with trillions of different bacteria, good and bad, that form an ecosystem known as the microbiome. These good bacteria differentiate in every individual but help to serve the same purpose. They are able to protect us from infection, lower inflammation and protect against certain diseases. As we get older, our gut bacteria begins to lose its diversity and that is where probiotics come in. Probiotics are able to introduce new strains of healthy bacteria that help with digestion and immunity (Landete et al., 2017).
Probiotics should be incorporated into our daily routine for various reasons. Currently, an average American diet is very high in saturated fats, processed foods and low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains (***). This lifestyle is leading to an increase in diet related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, obesity and colon cancer(***). Probiotic rich foods and supplements can help to minimize the risk of getting these diseases and grow the resistance of our microbiome(***). Colonization resistance is a term used to describe our bacteria not allowing pathogens to overgrow or colonize in our gut (Kok & Hutkins, 2018). This is used to protect our microbiome and the lining of our gut. Some other known benefits of probiotics include lowered risk of developing bladder cancer and cardiovascular disease(***). Believe it or not there are also ways to improve the functionality of the probiotics we ingest. Prebiotics is a compound known to "feed" the good bacteria in our gut and produce nutrients for our gut.
Probiotics and prebiotic should both be incorporated into our everyday diet in order to promote a healthy gut microbiome(***). If you are not able to obtain these nutrients and bacteria from the food you consume, supplements are always an option! I recommend a symbiotic supplement that includes both the prebiotic and probiotic (***). Evidence has proven that symbiotic are very efficient in the, "prevention of osteoporosis, reduction of blood fat and sugar levels and regulation of the immunological system" (Markowiak & Sliz ̇ewska, 2017). With numerous studies pointing to the health benefits of probiotics there is no reason for why we should not be consuming them. They help maintain the balance of our microbiome and make our gut happy!
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