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Enhancing Your Health: Guide to Probiotics and Microbiome

Did you know that your gut is comprised of many different types of bacteria? While the term ‘bacteria’ is generally associated with something harmful to the body, a good balance of it helps to maintain healthy digestion, a strong immune system, and overall wellbeing. This mixture of bacteria in your gut is called microbiome — a vast ecosystem of organisms that are potentially linked to a variety of conditions, such as mental health, diabetes, anxiety, obesity, general health and happiness. Keep reading to learn all about your microbiome and how to look after it with probiotics.

What is the microbiome?

The gut’s microbiome is a large ecosystem of organisms — a mixture of bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses, and protozoans that live in our digestive system. Many of these bacteria are vital — they break down food and toxins, and train our immune systems. The whole thing actually weighs around 2kg (that’s even heavier than the average brain), and scientists are recently treating it as an organ in its own right. A person’s microbiome is exclusive to that one person — not two people can have the exact same microbiome.

In recent years, research has suggested the microbiome might potentially be as influential as our own genes when it comes to health, happiness, athleticism, weight, immune function, inflammation, allergies, metabolism, appetite, processing of food/medicine, and brain function.

With so many important factors in our lives depending on a healthy microbiome, we need to look after it — as bad diet and illness can change its composition, affecting its bacterial growth. Antibiotics can also kill important good gut bacteria. That can translate into unwanted toxins entering the bloodstream and causing inflammation, amongst other negative impacts.

What are probiotics?

We’ve already established that there are lots of bacteria and organisms in your microbiome — probiotics are the type of live bacteria and yeasts which are beneficial to your health. They support your immunity and your digestive health by producing enzymes that are needed when breaking down the food. They are crucial for healthy living, as 70% of the body’s immune defences originate in the gut. Probiotics also aid with vitamin and mineral absorption into the bloodstream, and can even produce their own vitamins — such as B and K.

Trouble arises when the balance of probiotics in the gut is compromised — and the important task they play of keeping the body healthy is threatened. An imbalance of probiotics and pathogens in the microbiome can be reflected in poor digestion, lowered natural immunity, low energy levels, bloating, food intolerances or allergies, constipation or diarrhoea, acne, indigestions, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), amongst others.

Taking probiotics can be an effective way of supporting a healthy gut. The 2017 US study “Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota” concludes that, based on recent discoveries in the structure and function of the microbiome, diet may have a direct impact on the intestinal microbiota and a person’s health status — it also states that new types of supplemental probiotics may be used as strategies to promote health, prevent disease, and treat different disorders.

Why you need to take care of your gut

Knowing the benefits a healthy microbiome can have for you, you should always keep it in your mind, and strive to keep it as healthy and balanced as possible. The body’s balance between friendly (probiotic) bacteria and bad (pathogenic) bacteria is fragile — and can easily be corrupted by environmental factors, such as medicines, antibiotics, poor diet, and stress. If this happens, you could experience an imbalance between the good and the harmful bacteria in your body, which can lead to a lower quantity of probiotics than the desired one. In summary, if you take good care of your microbiome, it will support you. Probiotics are a good way to achieving a healthy microbiome. But, as every microbiome is different, the chosen probiotic for you will differ from other people’s, according to your health condition and what you need to improve.

Which probiotics are right for you?

The OptiBac Probiotics range follows this principle — it uses specific probiotic strains to target specific health conditions. The products are natural, free from unnecessary additives and preservatives, and are stronger than other competing probiotic supplements.

As a precaution, before taking any health supplement, please be advised it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional and ask specific questions about dietary products you’re considering.

Your gut’s microbiome is a rich ecosystem of good and bad bacteria — the good ones, probiotics, are responsible for keeping you healthy — both mentally and physically. An imbalance of this bacteria is, sadly, not uncommon — so make sure you’re keeping it healthy with probiotic supplements.