Can probiotics help you reach your fitness goals? Should probiotics be a part of your nutrition routine? When we think of bacteria we normally think about bad bacteria that cause disease. But in recent years there’s been a growing interest in the beneficial bacteria of the gut and how they can impact our health. Certain bacteria in the microbiome of our gut can have numerous beneficial properties that can help treat and even cure specific maladies. These good bacteria can be found in our foods and delivered to the body through supplements.
What are probiotics?
Many people consume these beneficial microorganisms called probiotics. (from pro and biota, meaning “for life”), by eating different foods that have been fermented with live bacteria, like yoghurt. Probiotics are made from naturally occurring good bacteria and/or yeasts. There are good and bad bacteria in your body at all times, but a balance between both is required for optimal gut health. Probiotic supplements are a great way to add more good bacteria to your gut to help maintain a healthy balance.
What is the gut biome?
The gut biome (or gut microbiome) consists of trillions of microorganisms that live in your intestinal tract. These microorganisms are mostly made up of bacteria that are crucial to maintaining your health. They play a specific role in breaking down and digesting the food you consume. They also help your body absorb nutrients.
These bacteria also help maintain other functions in the body beyond your digestive system. They help with processes that include brain function and mood, your immune system, body weight, and overall metabolism. Each individual has a different bacterial blueprint. Many unique factors can influence the amount and types of bacteria we host in our bodies.
What happens when your gut biome is out of balance?
Any damage or imbalance in your gut microbiome can cause ramifications to your entire body. This can show up as a weakened immune system, trouble absorbing nutrients or digestive issues, blood sugar spikes and weight problems.
What are some of the causes of a damaged gut biome?
Several factors can cause your gut biome to be thrown out of balance. These can affect your hormone levels, skin, weight, immune system, brain, heart, and ability to absorb nutrients.
Your gut biome may be thrown into an imbalance from a number of causes, including:
- High-stress levels
- Frequently eating processed foods and/or foods with a high sugar content
- Recent antibiotic use
- Lack of sleep
- Autoimmune conditions
How do probiotic supplements support the gut biome?
Probiotics can restore balance to the gut biome by introducing beneficial bacteria to the natural flora inside our digestive tract. This may assist in the prevention of intestinal disease and inflammation. While foods can provide an infusion of these good bacteria, it can be far easier to supplement food sources with convenient supplements in capsules and other easy-to-use forms. These supplements can feature a much higher concentration of bacteria and be formulated with bacteria strains to focus on addressing specific conditions.
What are the benefits of a probiotic?Balance is the key to a healthy digestive tract. Probiotic supplements help to maintain that balance. There can be several reasons for a person’s gut becoming imbalanced. These can be gastrointestinal issues, recent illness, poor diet, or an abundance of bad bacteria. However, there is evidence that probiotics can help:
- Reduce allergies and inflammation.
- Give the immune system a boost.
- Improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Assist in the treatment or prevention of diarrhoea sometimes caused by antibiotics or infection.
Considering choosing a probiotic supplement, but still on the fence whether it’s worth adding to your nutrition routine? Here’s six benefits that show just some of the many ways probiotics can improve your wellness.
1. Probiotics Can Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals
Consuming a probiotic supplement along with a balanced diet helps support overall gut health and offers many benefits to your mind and body. It’s important to add these gut-friendly bacteria to your diet if you plan to start working out or are physically active. Probiotics can help boost your serotonin levels, the hormone that can motivate you to get in your workouts. They also help the body absorb nutrients better. This makes probiotics a supplement that can impact your fitness routine by transforming food into hard-working fuel for your body.
2. Probiotics May Help You Lose Stubborn Weight
There are two types of good bacteria in your gut. Firmicutes and Bacteroides. A proper balance between these two families is related to maintaining healthy body weight. Many people of moderate weight have different gut bacteria than their overweight counterparts. Most people suffering from obesity have fewer Bacteroides and more firmicutes than moderate-weight individuals. Probiotics may influence energy usage and appetite by producing short-chain fatty acids. Certain probiotics can also inhibit the absorption of dietary fat and help your body absorb fewer calories from the food you consume.
Probiotics release appetite-regulating hormones. Generating these increased levels may assist with burning calories and fat. They also increase the levels of certain proteins that may lead to decreased levels of the storage of fat.
3. Probiotics Can Help You Build Muscle
Some amino acids can only be absorbed from the foods consumed and aren’t produced by the body. Certain probiotic supplements can boost the absorption of amino acids by the intestinal tract. They’re essential for the growth of muscle in the body. Because probiotics help with the absorption of nutrients from the digestive system they can assist in building lean muscle.
4. Probiotics Can Help Improve Your Mood and Mental Health
The effects of good bacteria in the digestive tract send signals (serotonin) to your brain and central nervous system. Your brain is linked to what’s happening in your gut. New evidence is showing a potential link between a healthy gut flora translating to a healthy mind and body.
There are connections between gastrointestinal issues and mental illness. Probiotics play a role in reducing depression and the symptoms of anxiety. They’ve been shown to improve the conditions of patients suffering from severe depression.
5. You Might Find Better Sleep From Daily Probiotics
Good bacteria in your gut can regulate and produce hormones that can have a positive impact on your sleep. The bifidobacteria in your gut increase the levels of tryptophan. This is then converted into serotonin and then melatonin. This regulates how you feel and sleep is improved.
Serotonin is known as the “happy chemical” that helps regulate your mood and plays an important role in having better sleep. A deficiency of serotonin in the body can result in restless sleep. Most of the serotonin that’s in your body is produced in the gut. The gut microbes regulate the amount that’s distributed to your central nervous system.
6. Probiotics Can Help Reduce Inflammation and Aid Recovery
Inflammation is one of the major health concerns that is being shown to have a link to everything from high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease to arthritis and early ageing. It can also cause muscle fatigue and make recovery from workouts take more time. Inflammation is often tied to the proliferation of bad bacteria in the gut. But probiotics can fight off the overpopulation of bad bacteria and reduce the causes of inflammation.
Now that you know more about the importance of probiotics it may be time to make some changes to your daily routine. If you’ve been thinking about adding probiotic supplements to your diet, browse our full line of probiotic supplements.