The balance of gut bacteria has a huge impact on your overall health, and the right balance provides you with many health benefits, like enhanced immunity, improved digestion, and weight loss. If you want to improve your health but aren’t sure where to start, contact Naples Vitality in Naples, FL today for an initial consultation. Our integrative approach to medicine will help you reach your optimal health with the use of natural supplements and expertly guided treatment programs tailored to your specific needs.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live micro-organisms that help balance the gut flora to improve health, digestion, immunity, and even enhance weight loss efforts. Probiotics have been studied for their beneficial effects on the body since the early 20th century when they were first discovered by Elie Metchnikoff. He theorized that health and immunity could be enhanced by manipulating the intestinal microbiome using host-friendly bacteria in sour milk.
Since this early discovery, further research has supported and expanded on his claims that gut bacteria can influence our overall health. Today, most of the probiotic supplements we take are in the form of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, with each providing their own set of health benefits.
The Impact of Micro-Organisms on the Gut
There are thousands of different micro-organisms living in the gut, with the vast majority being bacteria. This collection of micro-organisms is referred to as gut flora. When our gut flora is balanced, with more good bacteria than bad, our digestive system functions optimally and our overall immunity is enhanced.
In fact, some scientists even refer to our gut flora as the “forgotten organ” because of the important metabolic processes they perform.
How It Works
A well-balanced gut flora manufactures vitamins, such as K and B vitamins, and turn fibers into short-chain fats that strengthen the gut wall and help keep unwanted substances from entering the body.
However, when gut flora is unbalanced, bad bacteria flourishes in the gut. Because gut flora is sensitive to our diet, eating a diet high in processed carbs and added sugars can play a critical role in disrupting the digestive process, leading to bloating and irregularity. Too much bad bacteria in the gut has also been linked to obesity, insulin resistance, inflammation, depression, and inflammatory bowel disease.
But, don’t worry: it’s never too late to make your gut health a priority. Probiotic drinks are a great way to help your body feel its best by restoring the proper balance your gut flora needs to function optimally.
Top 5 Benefits Probiotics Have on Your Health
Probiotics are a fast, convenient way to balance your gut flora with good bacteria. With so many health benefits, including improved immunity, digestion, and weight loss support, probiotics can help get you on track to better health.
1. Boost Immunity
Probiotics have been demonstrated to boost immunity by preventing bad bacteria from growing in excess in the gut. They have also been shown to promote the production of antibodies in the body, such as T lymphocytes and natural killer cells, to help you fight off illness more effectively.
Probiotics also strengthen the stomach wall, allowing greater protection against foreign invaders entering the bloodstream. There’s no doubt that probiotics play a key role in our immune function, with many studies showing their effectiveness in improving our overall health.
2. Improve Digestion
One of the better-known benefits of probiotics is its ability to improve digestion. Many lifestyle factors contribute to poor gut health, such as stress, lack of sleep, antibiotic use, and a diet high in processed carbohydrates and added sugar.
The imbalance of good gut bacteria can cause unpleasant digestive issues, such as constipation, diarrhea, and bloating. To fix this, probiotics are often used to restore balance to the digestive system, allowing good bacteria to flourish.
3. Can Help Treat Certain Diseases
Probiotics have been studied for their use in digestive ailments, such as ulcerative colitis. Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains specifically have been demonstrated to improve digestive symptoms in people with mild ulcerative colitis. Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, such as diarrhea and constipation can also be eased through the use of daily probiotics.
Probiotics are also effective at reducing cholesterol in the blood by breaking down bile in the gut. Some probiotic strains produce lactic acid, which can effectively break down bile and prevent it from entering the bloodstream as cholesterol.
4. Reduce the Severity of Allergies
Probiotics play a key role in our ability to fight infection and allergens from the environment through many different mechanisms. In fact, we all receive a healthy dose of probiotics from our mother’s birth canal during delivery. Newborns who have passed through the birth canal experience fewer allergic reactions and stronger immune responses than newborns who were delivered through a C-section.
Additionally, lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in combination have been found to relieve symptoms of allergies in mild seasonal allergies. They have also been demonstrated to be effective in reducing eczema flares, by reducing the overall amount of inflammation in the body.
Your gut health affects every process in your body, which includes the skin. By reducing bad gut bacteria with probiotics, your body has a better immune response, which includes a reduction in eczema breakouts.
5. Support Weight Loss Efforts
Finally, probiotics can aid in weight loss efforts in many ways. First, probiotics prevent the absorption of dietary fats in the intestine which allows the fats to be excreted rather than stored in the body. Probiotics also help restore equilibrium within the gut, which can help you feel fuller for longer, store less fat, and burn more calories over time.
Studies have linked L rhamnosus to direct weight loss, with participants in the study losing 50% more weight than those who took a placebo. Another study linked L gasseri to a reduction in belly fat when taken for 12 weeks. These studies suggest that probiotics can play a key role in weight loss efforts when combined with a healthy diet and exercise routine.
Top 6 Best Probiotic Drinks
Probiotic drinks are the perfect way to give your gut the balance it needs, but with so many options on the market today, it’s difficult to know which ones are worth the expense.
Check out our top 6 picks to discover which probiotic drink is right for you and your health goals. Because everyone’s gut flora is unique to them, you may have to experiment with different drinks and strains of probiotics to find the ones that are best suited to your health needs.
Kefir is an excellent source of probiotics, protein, B vitamins, and calcium. It is commonly made using cow or goat’s milk fermented with kefir grains, but it can also be made with coconut milk to suit plant-based eaters. It contains 61 strains of bacteria and yeasts, making Kefir one of the most naturally diverse probiotic sources.
The probiotic Lactobacillus kefiri, unique to kefir, provides potent anti-bacterial qualities and superior protection against Salmonella and E. Coli compared to other sources of probiotics. The carbohydrate, Kefiran, found only in kefir grains further enhances kefir’s natural immunity-boosting properties. Plus, you can even make Kefir at home with just a few simple ingredients, making it one of the more budget-friendly options on the market.
Kombucha is one of the more popular probiotic sources on the market today, made with fermented tea, yeast, and sugar. They are especially helpful for aiding in weight loss efforts thanks to the antioxidants found in green tea. The probiotics and antioxidants in Kombucha can also help fight Candida yeasts and protect against infection-causing bacteria.
The green tea in Kombucha makes it especially helpful in fighting obesity and supporting weight loss efforts. It can also help prevent heart disease and type 2 diabetes, making it an excellent addition to the diet to keep your body feeling its best.
3. Probiotic Powder
Probiotic powders can be mixed with water or blended into a smoothie for an extra dose of nutrition when you need it most. Probiotic powders provide you with specialized blends of various strains of probiotics to attack the entire spectrum of health issues from all angles.
The unique blend of L gasseri and L rhamnosus has been shown to promote weight loss efforts, while acidophilus supports digestive health and immunity. Combined, these probiotics can help you restore balance to your irritated digestive system, providing relief from constipation, diarrhea, and bloating while also supporting weight loss efforts.
4. Probiotic Shots
Probiotic shots made with cold-pressed juices are a great way to enhance your immunity and digestion. 1 billion CFU probiotic, cleansing apple cider vinegar, detoxifying lemon, soothing aloe vera juice, hydrating coconut water, and nutritious apple, making KOR probiotic shots the most ideal combination for digestive health.
KOR probiotic shots tackle your digestive health from every angle and provide relief from a wide variety of symptoms, including constipation and diarrhea. Aloe vera juice helps promote regular bowel movements and relief from constipation, while coconut water re-hydrates your body with essential electrolytes if you are suffering from diarrhea.
The variety of probiotic strains in KOR probiotic shots will also help your gut flora maintain equilibrium, which will strengthen your overall digestive health.
5. Dairy-Free Drinkable Yogurt
Dairy-free drinkable yogurt is a plant-based alternative to traditional, dairy-based yogurts, providing you with a combination of three probiotics: Bifidobacterium BB-12, S. thermophilus, and L. bulgaricus.
Bifidobacterium BB-12 is especially helpful in maintaining good bacteria in the gut while taking antibiotics to reduce the amount of unpleasant digestive side effects associated with them, making this an excellent supplement to have on hand during an illness.
6. Vegan Sparkling Probiotic Drink
Not to be confused with Kombucha, vegan sparkling probiotic drinks are made with fermented kefir water, so vegans can enjoy the myriad of health benefits provided by kefir without the dairy.
Plus, with refreshing flavors like lime mojito mint, watermelon rose, and lemon cayenne, these drinks are just as delicious as they are good for you. Each drink contains millions of probiotic cultures and less than 10 grams of sugar.
There’s no doubt that probiotics play an important role in our overall health, and with probiotics, balancing your gut flora is just as tasty as it is effective. The road to optimal health is only a call away. Contact Naples Vitality in Naples, FL to find out more about our integrative approach to treating a wide variety of ailments and diseases and overcome your health issues today.