Simply put, yes! More and more research is showing how crucial gut bacteria are to human health. The GreenMedInfo website has collated a list of more than 200 studies, which show how over 170 diseases can benefit from probiotics. Also the media increasingly features how probiotics help with health issues such as obesity, depression, heart disease and diabetes. It seems that supplementing with a good probiotic is more important and beneficial than vitamins or minerals.
Our bodies contain some 100 trillion bacteria, which is over 10 times the amount of cells. The micro-organisms in the digestive system can be either beneficial or harmful, thereby preventing or encouraging diseases. Some of the benefits of probiotics are: anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-allergenic, anti-depressive, antioxidant, cardio-protective, gastro-protective, radio- and chemo protective and helps regulate immune responses and cellular self-destruction.
A healthy gut is also essential for our digestion, the absorption of nutrients and the elimination of toxins. Probiotics play an important role in maintaining the balance in our guts and influence many diseases:
• Celiac disease, leaky gut and irritable bowel syndrome
• Mood, psychological health and behaviour
• Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and diabetes
• Common cold, influenza and pneumonia
• Eczema and atopic dermatitis
• Liver diseases, such as cirrhosis and cancer
• Epstein-Barr virus
• Chronic fatigue syndrome
• High cholesterol and hypertension
• Food and wheat allergies
It’s not just our health that can be influenced by our microbes, the neurologist Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has shown that a woman’s gut flora can also influence the health of her child. And specifically if the child’s gut flora is compromised from birth it may have an increased risk of vaccine damage.
We can try and optimise our gut bacteria naturally by living a healthy life style and eating traditional fermented foods such as unpasteurised yogurt, sauerkraut and other fermented pickles, tempeh and kimchi. However not everyone enjoys these foods or has access to good quality versions. Therefore taking a probiotic is an ideal alternative.