HOW PROBIOTICS IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH

THE MANY WAYS THAT ‘FRIENDLY BACTERIA’ AND LIVE CULTURES BENEFIT YOU

by COLIN ROSE

SENIOR ASSOCIATE, ROYAL SOCIETY OF MEDICINE FELLOW, ROYAL SOCIETY OF ARTS
FOUNDER AND HEAD OF INNOVATION, UNI-VITE HEALTHCARE

UPDATED AND EXTENDED EDITION January 2024

first E-PUBLISHED MAY 2017

 


 

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INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY - How probiotics can boost your health


The discovery of how a strain of bacteria survived for 25 million years in a state of suspended animation is one reason health scientists’ view of probiotics has changed. Until recently most probiotics in supplements or yoghurts were thought to be more smart marketing than good science. That’s now changing.

Health researchers were always agreed that probiotics – the microscopic ‘good’ bacteria in your gut – are vital for your health. But there were doubts whether taking probiotics in supplements was effective and severe doubts that probiotics in yoghurts survived being eaten. READ MORE


 

Section 1 - Probiotics and the Microbiome


The microbiome is one of the hottest topics in health research now!
The term microbiome was coined by the Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg. Strictly speaking, it refers to the combined genetic material of all the microbes that we are host to, whereas the actual trillions of microbes themselves are called your microbiota. But we will use the word microbiome because that is the term used by the Human Microbiome Project completed in 2011.

Your microbiome is unique
Like your DNA, your microbiome is unique to you and made up of bacteria on your skin, in your mouth and crucially in your digestive system. READ MORE


 

Section 2 - Probiotic Benefits


IMPROVED IMMUNE FUNCTION
Regular probiotic supplementation has been shown to maintain intestinal health and enhance natural immune system response by stimulating the body’s production of Natural Killer and T- cells.

BETTER DIGESTION
By helping to increase the number of healthy bacteria in the gut, probiotics improve digestion and can reduce bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhoea. But how? READ MORE


 

Section 3 - Which Probiotics?


The importance of variety
Different strains of probiotic bacteria have slightly different functions. They also colonise different places along the digestive tract.
So probiotic supplements that contain multiple strains are more effective than products which contain very high concentrations of just one or two strains.
Moreover most strains work synergistically with each other to influence your health. So, beyond a certain number, more diversity of strains is probably more important than sheer numbers of probiotic bacteria. READ MORE


 

Section 4 - How to take Probiotics


According to the research centre at the University of Kentucky, for a product to be called a probiotic, the micro-organisms must:

• be live
• be present in sufficient
• bestow a health benefit

So should you take probiotics in food or supplement form? READ MORE


 

CONCLUSION - Recommended Probiotic Supplementation


The best time to take a probiotic supplement is with food. This not only helps buffer the probiotics from acidity but provides food to help colonisation.

To generally rebalance your microbiome
Look for a probiotic supplement containing between 5 and 7 resistant strains – at least one of which should be an endospore strain such as Bacillus coagulans. They should be contained in a hard shell capsule and include some prebiotic fibre. READ MORE


 

Appendix A - Top Probiotic Bacteria


BACILLUS
from: bacillus = rod
Bacillus are rod-shaped, 'endospore' (spore-bearing) bacteria that produce lactic acid. Endospore bacteria are highly resistant to heat, moisture, light and stomach acid. They readily form colonies in the small intestine. Bacillus also stays in the body longer than many other bacteria. READ MORE


 

Appendix B - Top PRObiotic Foods


Fermented cabbage
Sauerkraut and kimchi are both fermented cabbage products offering the healthy kind of bacteria or probiotics. Sauerkraut is high in vitamin C and digestive enzymes. It is also a good source of natural lactic acid bacteria such as lactobacillus. READ MORE


 

Appendix C - Top PREbiotic Foods


Garlic, Onions and Leeks
Garlic and onions contain about 10% inulin and 6% FOS. Leeks, from the same family as garlic and onions, contain up to 16% inulin.

Apples and Bananas
Interestingly, these two very popular fruits are both high in prebiotic fibre. Apples contain pectin, which increases butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that feeds the beneficial gut bacteria and decreases the population of harmful bacteria. READ MORE


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