Supplementing with a daily probiotic capsule influences the composition of our whole microbiome. They positively alter the microbiome environment and encourage the proliferation of microbiota of the good bacteria. You will notice at your local health food store that the probiotic formulas can have over 10 strains of different bacteria at varying strengths. Ongoing research is constantly revealing that specific strains are great to treat certain health conditions and consequently good vitamin companies are using this research to formulate superior supplements to better target and treat different health conditions. For example we know the Lactobacillus plantarum is a fantastic anti-inflammatory probiotic strain used to reduce the signs and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. We also know that Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been shown to protect the gut from bacterial pathogens and candida albicans. Combined with Bifidobacterium lactis it is used to treat traveller’s diarrhoea and prevent candidiasis during antibiotic treatment.
Large amounts of resources are being committed to microbiome research around the world. Dr Jason Hawrelak’s studies show that Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum have resulted in a decrease in depression, psychological distress, anger and anxiety scores. Researchers in Turkey have also found these same strains as well as Lactobacilus rhamnosus significantly reduced depression and anxiety scores.
Depression and anxiety are complex chronic mood disorders associated with many factors influencing their cause, including genetics and environment. These emerging links between our gut microbiome and our brain however, are regarded as a paradigm shift in neuroscience with possible implications for not only understanding the nature of these disorders but also their successful treatment.
Whilst these studies are very exciting and certainly deepen our understanding of how certain probiotic strains can improve treatment outcomes for specific disorders our interest primarily lies in keeping the composition of our whole microbiome at an optimum, thus focusing on our health holistically. Supplementing daily with a broad-spectrum probiotic (ten or more strains) is our best insurance to keep improving our microbiome environment and thus keep our gut integrity at an optimum which will maximise our immunity, our mood, our weight, our energy and reduce our risk of chronic disease development.
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