If you look online, you’re sure to find a wealth of information about probiotic drinks. Some of this information is conflicting, and some of it is downright misleading. At Naples Vitality in Naples, FL, we know the path to better health and can answer the many questions you have about these and other supplements – and we can present the information you need in a clear and concise way.
Is It Okay To Drink Probiotic Drinks Every Day?
This is a common question that many people ask. While some people shouldn’t take probiotics for health reasons, the general answer is that it’s perfectly safe – and often recommended – to take a probiotic supplement every day. But you must first understand probiotics are natural supplements, not prescription medications. It’s best to take them in the morning as part of a daily health regimen and not to think of them as an easy fix to all your health concerns.
People have consumed probiotics for many generations. For instance, fermented foods that contain live cultures have been part of traditional diets in many different ethnic groups. Examples of these foods include kombucha, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut. It’s only been recently, however, that probiotics have become more mainstream. In addition to drinks, you can find these supplements in gummies, powders, and easy-to-take capsules.
Why Take Probiotics Daily?
You may think that once you’ve established good gut flora, you can turn your attention to something else. But in reality, people lead challenging lifestyles that wreak havoc on their microbiomes. Many of us need to nurture this balance of good and bad flora on a daily basis.
Consider the effects antibiotics have on our systems. These medications don’t distinguish between the bacteria in the gut and therefore negatively impact probiotic colonies. Even if you don’t take any prescription medications, antibiotics can and often are found in common foods, especially meat and other animal products. These can similarly influence the flora in your gut.
Many people are additionally exposed to chemicals in their drinking water supplies. Chief among these is chlorine, a strong anti-microbial agent that helps keep undesirable bacteria out of water. But chlorine can also damage the body’s delicate management of flora. Other factors that deplete natural flora levels include:
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Over-consumption of sugar
- Contraceptive pills
As you begin to look at these many factors, it’s easy to understand how daily probiotic drinks can benefit most people. Our bodies don’t produce themselves, meaning we must ingest them from an outside source. A drink can be a great way to get the nutrition you need at the start of your day, and one step toward healthy living often gives way to other steps. For instance, you may feel inclined to walk a little more, drink more water, and get a little more rest
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are unique combinations of yeasts and healthy bacteria that live naturally within the body. We tend to think of bacteria as universally bad, but the body contains both good and bad bacteria types that create a much-needed balance. Good bacteria can help with a number of functions, including digesting food and fighting off other bacteria that cause illness.
Probiotics are one piece of a larger puzzle concerning the bacteria in your body – your microbiome. You might imagine this as a diverse community of different organisms that work in harmony to keep your body healthy. Within this community are trillions of microbes that include protozoa, viruses, and fungi. Everyone’s microbiome is unique to their body, and even twins have different microbial cells.
Locating Beneficial Microbes
While your gut is the most common area linked to beneficial microbes, several other locations in and on the body also host them. These additional locations include your:
- Urinary tract
Benefits of Taking Probiotics
In addition to maintaining balance in the body, daily probiotic drinks can improve lactose intolerance by keeping a healthy digestive system. Let us explain: with the presence of more healthy bacteria in your gut, your body is more likely to produce lactase. This aids in the digestion of lactose and can reduce uncomfortable symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea, and nausea.
Probiotics can also decrease inflammation, a leading factor in many diseases and health issues. The fact that probiotics can reduce inflammation in the gut, where 80% of the immune system is housed, is crucial. These supplements have shown to be especially helpful in improving the quality of life for seniors and patients diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). They may even provide protection against the flu and/or common cold.
Promote Mental Health
The gut is often referred to as the body’s second brain because of the strong connection between mental functions and digestion. In fact, this connection is potentially strong enough to impact the pathogenesis of several mental disorders related to inflammation. These include:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Mood disorders
Encourage Healthy Skin
An extensive body of research covers the effects probiotics may have on skin health, especially in children. We’ve determined daily supplements can help soothe infant eczema and pediatric atopic dermatitis. Equally promising, the presence of healthy gut bacteria can also reduce the development of acne.
This is owed to the anti-inflammatory impact probiotics have on the skin. L. casei, a specific probiotic strain, can benefit both healthy and diseased skin. To illustrate, it’s shown in numerous studies to restore the skin’s natural barrier and promote soft, supple, and hydrated tissues.
Lower Blood Pressure
It may seem unlikely, but probiotic drinks can even lower blood pressure. These supplements improve lipid profiles, including cholesterol and triglycerides. Probiotics also activate antioxidants and reduce insulin resistance – meaning they may additionally help stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Signs You Need a Probiotic
The first of these signs is digestive irregularity. Ninety percent of the body’s bacteria reside in the colon. It therefore makes sense these organisms can significantly impact the colon’s activity. A high-quality probiotic can effectively regulate bowel movements and even reduce embarrassing and uncomfortable symptoms like bloating and gas.
You Have Undeniable Sugar Cravings
Likewise, you could probably benefit from a probiotic drink if your sugar cravings are out of control. Certain bacteria types enjoy certain foods. Some feed off of long-chain fiber, such as that found in veggies, fruits, and other plant-based foods. Still other foods love simple sugars like refined flour and white sugar.
Your cravings can therefore reflect the types of bacteria you’re hosting.
Microbes need to eat and will use the vagus nerve that runs from the gut to the brain to ask for the food they want. Some strains even demand more food so they can starve their competitors – who may eat something else altogether. This manipulation can have you craving a cookie or other sweet treat. But not to worry. A daily probiotic regimen can help change your gut bacteria in as little as seven days.
Your Metabolism Runs a Little Slow
Researchers with the Washington University School of Medicine examined the gut bacteria of study participants and found those with the smallest bacteria varieties were also the most likely to be obese. Restoring diversity to your gut is a simple process that requires just two steps: nourish your body with a quality probiotic and eat a variety of plant-based fiber. And in turn, you may ramp up your metabolism to shed a few pounds.
You’ve Taken Antibiotics in the Past
Even if it’s been a while since your last round of antibiotics, you may still be grappling with the consequences. These medications kill off both good and bad bacteria because they can’t tell the difference. Without a probiotic, you may have an abundance of bad microbes that can promote inflammation in the body. Repopulating your gut is therefore a critical step to overall health.
You Have Skin Concerns Like Psoriasis and Eczema
While the link between your skin and gut may seem unlikely, they’re actually deeply connected. We briefly touched on this earlier, but research has found the quality of your digestive system can reflect on your skin. More specifically, the presence of good bacteria in your microbiome can contribute to a clear and radiant complexion. When this microbiome is imbalanced, you’re more likely to see skin concerns that include:
- Acne breakouts
- Itchy rashes
A Clear Path to Better Health
Incorporating probiotic drinks into your daily regimen can provide a host of benefits, including lower blood pressure, improved mental clarity, and reduced inflammation throughout the body. To learn more about healthy living, and to lead a life of vitality over illness, contact our team at Naples Vitality in Naples, FL, today.