- Fantastic feedback from a reader who uses probiotics
- Time to stop dismissing this remedy and check out the new evidence
- Some easy ways to improve your gut health
All hail the probiotic yoghurt!
Seems like a strange thing to say…
But I’ve written TWICE about probiotics as a health remedy for The People’s Doctor and both times I’ve had a fantastic response.
People use them, find them beneficial and yet….
…probiotics have had such a turbulent time in the mainstream media, with articles criticising or denouncing them, that people feel reticent about them.
Having ex-Eastenders actresses tucking into them on telly adverts probably doesn’t help the cause.
So when I write about probiotics, there’s often a flurry of emails in return.
For example, here’s a story from one of your fellow People’s Doctor readers, who says.
“I suffered from depression from my mid-twenties to mid-forties when for no apparent reason it lifted. Come to think of it I developed IBS in my mid-twenties also but never made a connection before.
For years I have taken probiotic yoghurts and aloe vera juice which I have credited with helping my IBS…
Between the Actimel and the yoghurts I get an assortment of live bacteria:
- Actimel: Vits. B6 & D and L. casei cultures
- Yeo Valley: Bifidobacterium; Lactobacillus acidophilus; streptococcus thermophiles
- Onken: Lactobacillus acidophilus; Bifidobactorium longum; streptococcus thermophiles”
It’s encouraging to hear stories like this,
Because here’s the thing…
Yes, the scientific jury may be out on probiotics…
But it’s still OUT.
And by no means should people throw away this idea that they can modify and improve their own gut health.
There’s a lot of discussion still to be had about probiotics and how ordinary people might benefit from them. A lot more research to be done. And a lot less sneering and sniping.
Because look at it this way…
Probiotics are all about restoring a healthy balance to your gut bacteria.
And there’s one thing most experts agree on…
Gut bacteria are central to good health
There is lot of new evidence that points to gut bacteria being linked to a wide array of common ailments, psychological conditions, pain problems and serious diseases.
Obviously, that includes stomach problems like IBS and ulcers – those are safe bet starting point.
But it goes wider than that.
• Brain disease – Last year scientists in California carried out animal experiments, published in the journal Cell that linked Parkinson’s disease to bacteria living in the gut. The new theory is that it starts in the gut and travels up to the brain!
• Autoimmune diseases – Also last year at the University of Texas, it was shown that defects in the body’s regulatory T cells cause inflammation and autoimmune disease by changing your gut bacteria. Replacing missing bacteria, could help sufferers with some forms of autoimmune disease.
• Mental health – In 2015 scientists found yet more evidence to linked Anxiety and depression to the presence of certain kinds of bacteria in the intestines.
• Obesity – According to Tim Spector from King’s College London, “variations in the gut microbiome explain why our kids are getting fatter and why some individuals gain more weight”
• Arthritis – an international group of scientists is working on ways to use gut protective gut microbes to tackle rheumatoid arthritis. Professor Michael Dustin of the University of Oxford says “it’s much easier to modify your microbiota than change your genes.”
Professor John Cryan of University College Cork says: “We now know that good brain health depends on good gut health. The gut microbiome affects every aspect of brain functioning and human behaviour.”
I’d say that there’s a new scientific consensus now that a lot of diseases (and their solutions) are down to what’s happening on the micro-level in your gut.
So what can you do to improve your gut health?
Well, like I say, the experts disagree on how effective some probiotics are at getting past your stomach acids BUT there’s also evidence that they work.
As well as natural yoghurt you can try these probiotics:
• Miso soup
• Coconut water
• Sourdough bread
You can also eat more ‘prebiotics’. These are different to probiotics. These are foods that nourish the microbiomes in your gut. Examples include:
• Dandelion greens
If you can eat some of these in their raw state, even better.
Just as importantly, you need to try this diet over a long period. It takes time for adjustments to happen in your gut, so this isn’t a quick fix.
With a bit of patience and a generally balanced diet you should notice the following benefits:
- Feeling more full after and between meals, helping with weight loss
- Fewer stomach aches and a reduction in the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Fewer infections and minor illnesses, thanks to a strengthened immune system
- More calcium and magnesium absorption for better body temperature regulation (for instance if you’re going through the menopause) as well as increased energy and healthier bones and teeth.
- Better mood and sense of well-being.
It’s always great to hear your stories so if you have your own experience of probiotic or prebiotic diets, do let us know!
Until next time, stay healthy!