Let's Talk About Gut Health
We invited Nutritionist and Probiotic expert elizabeth cooper to tell us why probiotics are so important, now more than ever.
The last four months of lockdown and the threat of a second wave of coronavirus is causing fear amongst many and more emphasis is being put on bolstering our immunity. Whilst vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc will undoubtedly help to support our immune system looking at our gut health is a more obvious place to start. That’s because approximately 70% of our immune cells are found in our gut.
It is estimated that 50 – 100 trillion microorganisms live in our gut, equal to our bodies own cells. About two thirds of our gut microbiome (microbiome being a term for the collection of microorganisms in a particular environment) is unique to us and is influenced by what we eat and drink, our exercise habits and what stressors we are exposed to, such as emotional stress and polluted air. To a certain extent genes may also play a part in our gut microbiome but whilst our genes are the gun, environmental factors can be considered as ‘pulling the trigger’.
There has been an enormous amount of research already carried out on the gut microbiome but this is growing exponentially year on year as more is learned about the impact of gut bacteria on every aspect of our health from inflammation and toxin metabolism and removal to our emotional and mental health. Whilst more obvious diseases and conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and IBS can be linked to an imbalance in gut bacteria, or dysbiosis as it’s more commonly known, less obvious conditions such as thyroid disorders, allergies, migraines, dementia and Parkinson’s disease can also be affected by the bacteria living in our gut. Therefore, it is vital that we keep levels of beneficial bacteria balanced, and maintain a diverse range of bacteria, in order to reduce the risk of pathogens invading our bodies and causing disease.
We can do this by minimising antibiotics, as these kill both good and bad bacteria; avoiding processed food and added sugars; eating a varied diet with different types of food to feed beneficial bacteria; avoiding stress and maintaining good sleep habits; exercising moderately every day; practicing meditation and mindfulness; and eating probiotic food such as kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir and taking a multi-strain probiotic. Probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host (WHO, 2001).
As diversity of bacteria is key to maintaining a healthy gut microbiome taking a probiotic with a large number of strains would appear to be more beneficial than consuming probiotics with a high concentration but a small number of strains. Bio-Kult Advanced multi-strain is a long-established probiotic with 14 strains of bacteria. It is backed by robust research and is considered a broad-spectrum probiotic which can be taken when on antibiotics, whilst travelling or just as a general adjunct to a healthy diet. Also in the Bio-Kult range are probiotics for recurrent urinary tract infections, thrush, migraines, poor memory and infant health for issues such as colic, eczema and constipation.
It’s clear that keeping our gut healthy by ensuring we eat a balanced diet and consuming probiotics, both in our food and in a high quality supplement, can pay dividends in terms of our overall health, both in the short and long-term. For more information on the Bio-Kult range please ask instore.