When I was first introduced to probiotics I automatically thought those who had digestive issues were the only ones who really needed them. And I know I’m not alone on this because the number one question I get regarding probiotics is:
How long do I have to take these for?
My answer: It should be just as (if not more important in my opinion) as your multi.
Think of it this way: if enzymes help to break down your food, probiotics are what help you assimilate the nutrients from your food.
Crazy right? Well, there more and today I wanted to share with you some surprising uses for probiotics…beyond poop. Let’s break it down:
Lowering anxiety and depression
The plethora of bacteria living in your gut not only affects your physical health, they may also influence your mental health according to a growing body of research. Recent studies in animals show that changes in the gut bacteria community appear to make mice less anxious, and also affect levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Now you may be sceptical of this research given it was done in animal studies but hold up, there’s more.
In a 2011 study from France revealed that those who took probiotics for 30 days had reduced levels of psychological distress. Plus if you factor that high-stress levels do contribute to anxiety, then the there’s even more of a case for probiotics. Those who have less friendly bacteria in their digestive system have been shown to have higher levels of cortisol – our stress hormone! So if you’re anxious and stressed, it’s time you begin on a decent probiotic.
Improving liver function
This is huge given that the liver has over 560 functions and it’s a major elimination pathway of toxins and hormones. The problem is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease afflicts 90 million Americans (and I’m sure that Canadians are not too far off from this number either). Researchers have speculated that by controlling good or bad bacteria that we’re able to control the development of it by reducing the inflammatory response.
While more research is required in this arena, the research that we do have is promising. There are two main families of good bacteria in the gut: bacteroidetes and firmicutes. (I know if only they gave them names like Bob and Jane).
You see, body weight seems to be related to the balance of these two families of bacteria. Both human and animal studies have found that normal-weight people have different gut bacteria than overweight or obese people.
In those studies, people with obesity had more firmicutes and fewer bacteroidetes, compared to normal-weight people.
There are also some animal studies showing that when the gut bacteria from obese mice are transplanted into guts of lean mice, the lean mice get fat.
All of these studies suggest that gut bacteria may play a powerful role in weight regulation.
Why and how I use them.
When asked by people what my top three supplements are, I always answer back that taking my probiotic daily is my non-negotiable. The reality is I suggest them in all my protocols whether it’s for someone who’s struggling with digestion or hormonal imbalances.
And personally, if I travel, I never leave home without them. Most people think that you should only take non-refrigerated probiotics. But if you factor that bacteria are highly sensitive to light, moisture and temperature, these so-call “shelf-stable” probiotics make no sense. I’ve taken my probiotics with me to Brazil and simply wrapped them in aluminium foil and refrigerated them at the first chance I got. The result: I was the only one who ate out of the same pot who didn’t get food poisoning.