When most of us think of bacteria, we think of the bad stuff. Especially with working in a hospital, it’s not often that bacteria gets brought up in a positive way. So a lot of us are forgetting about the good bacteria and the importance of probiotics. There’s a lot of benefits to taking a daily probiotic for your gut health that go far beyond just improving digestion. There’s also a lot of symptoms you may be experiencing that you don’t even realize is connected to your gut heath. Taking care of your gut health goes hand-in-hand with how you’re taking care of your overall health.
So, What Exactly are Probiotics?
In short, they’re good bacteria that are living in our colon, large intestine and other parts of our digestive system. Our gut is also populated by bad bacteria, which is kept in check and balanced out by the good bacteria. Unfortunately, many of us are missing the good bacteria we need, letting the bad bacteria run wild. When bad bacteria overpopulates the good, many chronic health conditions can be caused by the imbalance.
Not All Probiotics Are Equal!
There’s a lot of probiotics out there, and, there’s no question on whether we need them or not, which you’ll read about soon. First, it’s important to understand that not all probiotics are equally beneficial for you.
While you can get probiotics from food (yogurt and fermented veggies are two examples), it’s really difficult to maintain a consistent intake and get all of the probiotic strains you need this way. The fastest, easiest and most reliable way to ensure you’re getting high quality probiotics daily is to take a supplement.
Unfortunately, you can’t always trust the probiotics on the shelf at the grocery store to provide what you need. It’s estimated that up to 90% of the good living bacteria you need in a probiotic on the store shelf is dead before it even gets to you. You end up paying for 10% effectiveness.. Not so helpful, huh? A recent study done by UC Berkeley tested 16 probiotics sold in stores and online and found only 1 in 16 to have accurate claims on the label. So it’s important to do your research.
My own research led me to find Silver Fern Brand probiotics. Silver Fern Brand is one of the few that has third party testing done to guarantee that their probiotics have 100% survivability of the living bacteria. This was huge, as traditional probiotics don’t have more than 10%.
I also really appreciate Silver Fern Brand probiotics because they’re naturally derived from nature and don’t claim anything crazy (and unnecessary, in my opinion) like being a “time release pill”. They focus on high quality, potent strains of bacteria that offer the key benefits you need, as opposed to the other products I’ve researched which contain dozens of strains of ineffective and useless bacteria. These are all important for me when it comes to making choices about something I’ll be ingesting every day.
Why Do We Need Them?
There’s what seems like a never-ending list of benefits to taking a daily probiotic. The positive affects of adding this to your daily routine include, but aren’t limited to:
- Improved digestion, leaky gut, IBS, bloating
- Improved nutrient absorption
- Clearer skin
- Improved mood and mental health
- Weight loss, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes
- Balanced hormones
- Improved immunity
- More energy and less brain fog
Research shows that 80% of the body’s immune system is controlled by the digestive system. The good bacteria found in your gut have a direct correlation to how strong your immune system is, meaning that if your gut is unhealthy, your immune system suffers.
Research shows a strong correlation with taking a probiotic and having a stronger immune response to help prevent illness and infections such as asthma, respiratory infections, flu-like symptoms and the common cold.
- Immune response to adenovirus and influenza-A
- Improved pain scale in rheumatoid arthritis patients
- Immune modulation to reduce allergies and asthma
- Immune stimulation of the peripheral T-lymphocites and B-lymphocytes, which are the cells used to help fight off colds, infections and flus
Improved Mood and Energy
The gut is actually dubbed the “second brain” because of how much goes on there. So many people think that hormones and neurotransmitters are only related to your brain, but that’s just not the case. Over 20 hormones are linked to and found in the gut, including dopamine.
“We know that 95% of serotonin (the happy neurotransmitter) originates from the gastrointestinal tract and that dopamine (another happy hormone) is also produced in the gut. Imbalances in bacteria in our gut can cause real alterations to our brains. Scientists have learned that more and more complaints, such as brain fog, depression, mood swings, anxiety, and concentration issues, are rooted in imbalances in the gut.” – Silver Fern Brand
So with 95% of serotonin being produced in your gut, it only makes sense that if you don’t have good bacteria in there to balance out the bad, it’s going to impact your mood. This study found that in just 30 days, they were able to link taking a probiotic to a reduction in depression and anxiety. The study even found that it had an affect on anger and hostility. Taking a probiotic and taking care of your gut has a huge impact on your mental health.
It also plays a large role in your energy levels. If you’re finding yourself fatigued and having low-energy throughout the day, the cause could very well be an imbalance of gut bacteria. Digestion is one of the largest consumers of energy that takes place in the body every day. When your gut bacteria is imbalanced, it’s much more difficult for you to digest foods, which ultimately causes your body to use much more energy, too. When you’re taking a high quality probiotic, like Silver Fern’s probiotic with 100% survivability, the good bacteria helps your body more easily digest (and absorb) the food you eat.
Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes:
According to Silver Fern, and my own research, gut bacteria plays a huge role in our risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Research shows that the amount of calories your body extracts from the food you eat, the foods you crave and what food converts to during the digestive process is all controlled by the type of bacteria in your gut. Evidence suggests that gut bacteria plays a significant role in insulin resistance. Another “duh” moment for me. More people eating a Standard American Diet and therefore having higher rates of obesity is directly related to more people having less good gut bacteria from diet alone. A person with more bad gut bacteria than good will convert food, especially carbs, in a way that leads to insulin resistance, fat storage and metabolites that cause inflammation.
An unbalanced gut is also now a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A recent study found that taking live probiotics can lower your cholesterol, which is a well-recognized factor at play in developing cardiovascular disease. Research is now suggesting that probiotics, taken together with a whole foods based diet, is a way to take control of your heart disease risk. A healthy heart starts with a healthy gut!
Don’t Neglect Your Gut!
When you’re trying to live a healthier life, it’s easy to overlook your gut. It’s not as noticeable or visible as your waistline. I promise you you’ll see pretty immediate positive affects once you start taking Silver Fern Brand probiotics. Not only will you be better at fighting off illnesses, your skin will clear up, your digestion issues will be improved, your energy will skyrocket, but you’ll feel better knowing you’re doing everything you can to take care of your whole self.
It’s important to find a routine that works for you, and taking my trusted Silver Fern Brand probiotic everyday has become a simple and effortless way to start my day off on the right foot and in the right health mindset.