We’ve all heard of the importance of taking probiotic supplements, for both our health and overall well-being, but what do they actually do? Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be consumed through fermented foods like kimchi, or more commonly through probiotic supplements.
As scary as ingesting ‘live microorganisms’ sounds, taking probiotics helps with the balance of gut bacteria, resulting in an overall improvement in health. Here are some of the health benefits of probiotics, and how you can go about introducing probiotics into your daily life with our recommendations of the best probiotic supplements.
Health Benefits of Probiotic Supplements
Helps with Digestive Issues
As probiotics include ‘good’ bacteria, taking probiotic supplements can help to restore the natural balance of gut bacteria, which is usually upset by a variety of reasons like illness, medications and poor diet. As such, taking probiotics can help with diarrhea, and may help with other bowel disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Weight Loss & Belly Fat Reduction
Some of the benefits of probiotics for women include weight loss, as some probiotics prevent the absorption of dietary fat into the intestine. This means that the fat is excreted, rather than stored in the body.
Probiotics may also help you feel fuller for a longer period of time, reducing the tendency to snack throughout the day. As levels of certain hormones are increased, taking probiotic supplements may also help to burn more calories, alongside storing less fat.
Improve Mental Health Conditions
As gut health is increasingly linked to mood and mental health, the improvement of gut health brought about by taking probiotic supplements can have an effect on your overall mood and mental health. Probiotics may thus help to improve symptoms of mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.
Boost Immune System
As much as probiotics introduce more ‘good’ gut bacteria, they also help to inhibit the growth of harmful gut bacteria. This may help to promote the production of natural antibodies, boosting your immune system and protecting your body against infections. This makes probiotics for kids especially important, as they have a lower immune system than most adults.
Probiotics: How can we maximise the benefits?
While probiotics exist naturally in some fermented foods, like kimchi and sauerkraut, they may not provide the right amount of probiotic benefits every time as the pasteurisation process kills the bacteria we need for these benefits to occur.
On the other hand, probiotic supplements tend to be specifically engineered for an effective deliverance of the bacteria to the gut. Different brands of supplements may also include certain specific strains of probiotics that work best for different purposes, depending on the effect you wish to achieve.
Understanding CFU Dosages
Probiotics are usually measured in terms of colony-forming units (CFU), and are generally believed to work best in higher CFU counts. While probiotic supplements can come in a variety of CFU dosages, the most common recommended dosage in the market ranges from 1 billion to 10 billion CFU. Be sure to keep this in mind before you buy any probiotic supplements, so that you can maximise its health effects!
Recommended Probiotic Supplements
Our recommendation for a basic probiotic supplement is GNM’s 10 Billion Probiotics Digestive Supplement, which contains 17 types of live lactobacillus (a good strain of probiotics) to ensure effective absorption. The capsule shells are made from plant-based ingredients, which aid in its digestion, and is an overall easy product through which a regular intake of probiotics can be upheld.
If you’re looking for supplements with multiple health benefits, Weekly Lab’s Probiotic & Zinc Supplement is enriched with a multitude of healthy sub-ingredients, including fiber, cranberries and propolis. It contains up to 18 types of lactobacillus, and ensures a high absorption rate.
Combining Prebiotics & Probiotics
We can also note that both probiotics and prebiotics work together well to provide effective health benefits. While probiotics are the live bacteria that are good for the digestive system, prebiotics are the compounds in food that help induce the growth and activity of these probiotics. They work in complementary ways to help each other work more effectively, and a balanced intake of both can lead to better gut maintenance.
GNM’s One Billion Live Lactobacillus Probiotics & Prebiotics contains both probiotics and prebiotics, and is orange-flavoured, with added vitamins C and D, making it perfect even for picky eaters or kids. The combination of probiotics and prebiotics improves the survival rate of lactobacillus as it enters the gut, ensuring greater health benefits. The probiotic supplements contain 12 billion lactobacillus of 17 types, including those found in women’s bodies, also making it a great source of probiotics for women.