Top Up Your Good Bugs
Your diet and lifestyle play a major role in the balance of bacteria (or bugs) in your body. Amazingly, you are actually a ‘superorganism’ made up of hundreds of microbes living together in and on your body. Your immune system’s job is to monitor the many kinds of bacteria to ensure that healthy bugs are in larger numbers than troublemakers, such as viruses and yeasts. The best way to balance the good with the bad is to ensure you maintain adequate levels of beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract, and maintain a lifestyle that keeps the bad guys in check. No matter where the unhealthy bacteria live, you can influence your immune system’s fight by starting with good flora in the gut. If you experience any of the common symptoms below, you may need a top up with good bugs (also known as probiotics):
•Bloating and/or flatulence
•Constipation or diarrhoea
•Frequent colds and the flu
•Eczema or allergies
The most effective way to replenish beneficial bacteria in the gut is by taking probiotics. There are many different types of probiotic bugs, and in many ways they are just like us. We employ them because of their occupation. Different strains do different jobs in the body, so it is important to choose the right strain for the right condition. For example, specific strains have been scientifically proven to help with health problems including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and eczema.
Some of the most effective therapeutic strains include:
•Lactobacillus acidophilus: General balance
This strain is a great everyday probiotic to maintainbacterial balance, and has been extensively tested and proven to restore levels of healthy bacteria in the colon. It is particularly effective after a course of antibiotics and/ or following a gut infection. This strain is antimicrobial in nature and inhibits the growth of unfriendly bacteria.
•Bifidobacterium lactis: Dysbiosis
When there are more bad bugs than good bugs in the gut, it is called dysbiosis. This is the reason we experience many of the symptoms mentioned earlier. Bifidobacterium lactis has been proven to address dysbiosis, improving overall health. It has also been shown to reduce gastrointestinal disturbances, especially after antibiotic use
•Lactobacillus rhamnosusGG : Eczema and allergies
This probiotic strain has been studied in over 350 clinical trials, and has the ability to enhance immune system function, specifically reducing the occurrence and symptoms of allergies, eczema and other atopic conditions. LGG may also help to decrease the risk of digestive upsets such as diarrhoea in both adults and children. It can also shorten the time that you experience diarrhoea if you are struck by a nasty gastro bug.
•Lactobacillus plantarum 299v: Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The 299v strain is a specialised strain of Lactobacillus used specifically for gut issues. This probiotic has been proven to assist and manage the symptoms of medically-diagnosed IBS and other inflammatory bowel disorders. It has been clinically shown to improve the key IBS related problems of bloating, flatulence, pain, inflammation, constipation and diarrhoea.
Prebiotics For Beneficial Bacteria Growth
To ensure a healthy population of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, it is important to provide food for their growth. Simply supplementing with a probiotic may not be enough to ensure a viable population of these beneficial bacteria. Prebiotics in the form of fibre provides this growth medium. Some of the most effective prebiotic foods include lactulose, Fructo-oligosaccharides and Galacto-oligosaccharides.
Lifestyle Tips to Boost Your Good Bugs
To keep your ‘superorganism’ balanced, you need to include and avoid certain factors in your diet and lifestyle. Here are some easy everyday ideas that maintain your good and bad bugs in harmony:
•Reduce alcohol: Reduce your weekly consumption as excess drinking kills off large proportions of the good bugs.
• Manage stress: Stress can lead to an imbalance of bacteria. Talk to your Practitioner about techniques and supplements to support your response to stress.
• Exercise: Moving your body a little each day assists immune function and keeps your bowel moving too.
• Basic nutrition: Drink plenty of water, a minimum of eight glasses per day, and avoid excessive caffeine, sugar and salt intake to keep your good bugs flourishing.
Maximise Your Health with Probiotics
Maintaining bacterial balance is one of the key elements of optimal health and vitality. Remember, your immune system doesn’t just control colds. It also regulates your ‘superorganism’ on a daily basis. Together with healthy diet and lifestyle choices, a daily probiotic is one of the best ways to keep your good and bad bugs in check and bring your body back into balance. Whether you have eczema, allergies or IBS, specific probiotics can enhance the success of your treatment.