What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria or organisms that have beneficial effects on human health – they can come from whole foods that have been fermented – like raw unpasteurized sauerkraut and yoghurt, or taken in a supplemental form.
How do they work?
In the body, beneficial bacteria make up the microbiota. Most bacteria reside in the large intestine, some in the small intestine, and other places like the mouth, respiratory tract, genito-urinary tract, and skin. They provide many very important functions in the body, including:
- Improve overall immunity as 70-80% immune system is in the gut and they regulate immune responses
- They help suppress excessive inflammation
- Help to reduce the allergic response
- Help repair leaky gut and related skin issues like eczema as they promote the function of the intestinal inner lining, enhancing its ability to act as a barrier to the entry of potentially dangerous organisms and chemicals
- Needed for absorption and manufacturing of nutrients (vitamin K, biotin, folate and vitamin B12)
- Digesting and absorbing certain carbohydrates to produce energy
- Aid in the elimination of toxins
- Keeping bad bacteria under control that can lead to yeast overgrowth (candida)and inflammatory digestive conditions.
- Support healthy mood balance, especially important for depression and anxiety
Are they different types?
There are up to 2000 species and 7000 strains of bacteria. The most studied ones for human health are Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum – which is why you will see large amounts of these in many probiotic supplements. Many specific strains are being used in different probiotics to target specific health concerns.
Are they good for everyone?
I believe they are so important for not just gut health, but overall health as the proper digestive function is the foundation where we need to start. According to scientists at the University of Toronto, “Probiotics can be recommended for prevention of diseases that are associated with altered intestinal ecology… their use should be considered in patients of all ages.”
Can kids take probiotics?
Yes, I especially recommend probiotics to children who tend to get sick a lot, have allergies, or eczema. The type of probiotics is specific to the child’s age, as infants have different needs as toddlers, and older children.
Should you take them daily, or every other day?
I recommend taking them daily, especially if you have digestive concerns.
Do you lose weight?
One of the foundations for healthy weight loss is reducing digestive inflammation because it can alter your satiety hormones like leptin. There is new research coming out daily on probiotics, and some strains are particularly helpful for weight loss.
Which one would you recommend?
I recommend brands like Genestra, Genuine Health, and Living Alchemy. For specific health concerns, I would recommend reaching out to a qualified health care practitioner, like myself!
Annaliisa Kapp is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who has more than 8 years of experience in the health industry. Her mission is to help you navigate through the confusing world of nutrition and guide you toward your rightful state of health and vitality. She specializes in helping high achievers regain their energy from burning the candle at both ends with therapeutic foods that improve digestion, stress hormones, optimize weight and sleep.
Outside of her successful nutrition practice in beautiful British Columbia, Annaliisa loves spending time with her hubby and two sweet girls Isabella and Annika, yoga, running, hiking, and creating amazingly delicious recipes that impress even the biggest sceptics of healthy eating!
Learn more at https://www.annaliisakapp.com/