Learn About Probiotics To Have A Good Skin And Health
M.D.’s have been urging us for years to take probiotics, which are live bacteria and yeasts that help keep our microbiome in balance and our immune system strong. Probiotics aren’t only good for gut health, but they can also help improve skin complexion and texture.
Do Probiotics Really Deserve All The Credit They Get For Helping Both Our Gut And Skin?
Probiotics are not only important, but they’re also effective. In fact, did you know that there are more bacteria in and on our bodies than human cells? It’s true! The body is almost like a puppet—it is bacteria that really run the show. They turn on enzymes, turn off genes, and dictate much of our health.
We need them to break down nutrients, like copper and magnesium, so we can better absorb them. Studies show that conditions such as anxiety, depression, and weight gain can be transferred via fecal transplants (with mice), suggesting the broad impact bacteria has on health.
This is interesting because it suggests that our gut health may be more indispensable than we previously thought. It’s estimated that 60 to 80 percent of our immune system is located in our gut. An imbalance of the microbiome (mainly consisting of bacteria) found in the gut often leads to digestive problems; imbalances can also cause a range of issues throughout the body—such as feelings of fatigue, depression, thyroid dysfunction, autoimmunity, and various skin conditions.
Inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, and acne are commonly a manifestation of deeper issues within the body. To resolve these skin problems (which might include getting rid of an infection like Candida), it is necessary to first fix the gut by eating healthy and taking probiotics.
Sources Of Probiotics
Cronivers include sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, pickles, cultured vegetables, and kombucha. If you don’t have soy sensitivity, you can also do miso and kimchi (look for organic brands to avoid GMOs).
Kefir And Yogurt
Water kefir and almond yogurt are some of the many probiotic alternatives for those who have difficulty consuming dairy. When you’re grocery shopping for food items such as yogurt, be sure to check the labels for any added sugars. I prefer plain coconut yogurt with fruit and a touch of stevia sweetener.
Is It Recommended to Also Take Probiotic Supplements?
Probiotics are essential for gut health, but it’s difficult to get all the probiotics you need from diet alone unless you have a perfect gut. Most of us don’t have perfect guts—unfortunate circumstances like taking antibiotics or eating high-carbohydrate diets can disrupt the balance of bacteria in our microbiome.
A probiotic supplement helps to fix imbalances and can actually act as a preventive health measure. It does this by keeping your microbiome in balance, which then strengthens your immunity against illnesses.
Important Strains To Look For On Labels
The primary two species you want to look for in a probiotic are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. However, each of these species has different strains. Out of the many strains, the Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Bifidobacterium longum have been studied and known to help with immunity issues (which is common among my patients), autoimmune conditions, as well as infections located in the gut region.
Is It Possible To Evaluate The Potency Of Probiotics?
Some brands now list the amount of colony-forming units (CFU) in billions. Make sure that dosages are listed as CFUs, and check to see how many billions the capsules should have live bacteria strains – this is colony-forming units per capsule.
In addition, you always want to check the fine print of any guarantee. Many companies will advertise a certain number of colony-forming units (CFUs) at the time of manufacturing, but that number may be lower by the time expiration rolls around.
Also, look into whether the company has done research on specific strains and how they guarantee potency. Of course, buying supplements from a source you trust is always ideal because then you don’t have to do as much legwork yourself. It’s not recommended to purchase probiotics online since refrigeration is required and that just adds another layer of complexity.
The live cultures in dairy that are usually known as probiotics, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, require refrigeration to stay alive. Dairy-based probiotics aren’t an issue for the majority of people. But if you’re highly sensitive to dairy, choose a probiotic that doesn’t use dairy during the culturing process.
Probiotics that require refrigeration can be inconvenient, but there are now some that don’t need to be kept cold. For example, some probiotics are sealed in nitrogen blister packs to protect them from heat, as well as moisture and oxygen because the air can’t get in. Look for probiotics that are individually packed to protect the live cultures. If they just come in a bottle, they could be losing potency from air getting in.
There are two kinds of probiotics: live cultures and dead strains.
Live cultures, like those of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, are the first kind. You might have heard some negativity about this type of probiotic—the typical argument against them is that they’re destroyed by stomach acid.
Quality probiotics are designed with an acid-resistant capsule to prevent them from being immediately broken down. You don’t necessarily have to take the probiotics with food, but it helps with potency. If you want to mix it into a smoothie or use the powder form, that’s fine too–you might lose a bit of effectiveness, but not much.
The second type of probiotics is soil-based organisms (SBO), which tend to be more resistant to acid in the gut. The rationale behind soil-based probiotics is as follows: Many people believe that the extensive gut and health problems we have today result from living in an excessively clean society.
In the past, when more individuals worked with dirt and played in it, there was less focus on cleanliness and antibacterial products. Consequently, we had greater exposure to natural probiotics.
The reason soil-based probiotics are good is that they come from the earth. The bacteria have a natural protective capsule surrounding them, which makes them more effective In addition to the classic form, recommended for patients with autoimmunity, to take soil-based probiotics. They are also helpful for people with SIBO because in this case, you need something stronger than the classic form to fight infection.
Although SBOs are generally safe, some people have raised questions about their safety. For example, the NIH has reported a case of someone with lymphoma who developed septicemia after taking a SBO (the organism B. subtilis). Some experts say that if you have a leaky gut, you should heal it before supplementing with SBOs. If you are immunocompromised or have cancer, you can consult with a physician first to be sure.
Probiotics And Antibiotics
There are several things you can do to help protect yourself from getting sick and having to go on antibiotics. Taking a probiotic every day is a good preventative measure. You can also try increasing your vitamin D intake when you feel like your immune system needs a boost.
Diet is also very important in terms of preventing sickness. Studies have shown that you can change your microbiome within hours of adjusting your diet. Even just making small changes, like eating more whole foods and cutting back on sugar, can make a difference.
Can We Overdo It With Probiotics?
A less-than-ideal reaction to a probiotic is actually rather common, but not dangerous. You might feel bloated or have some discomfort and gas. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s likely that the probiotics are working as they should be—killing the infection in the gut. If you have this type of reaction, lower your dose until it subsides.
Age That We Can Start Taking Probiotics
Probiotics are beneficial for people of all ages, even infants.
Unless specified otherwise, probiotics typically come in tablet form; however, if you’re giving them to a baby under two years old, you want to select specific strains better suited for young microbiomes.
If you’re breastfeeding, administering probiotics is as easy as putting them on your breast. If you’re using formula, mix the powder into heated liquid and give it to your baby. Or, if preferred, wet your finger and let your child suck on it after dipping it in the probiotic powder.
Difference Between PRObiotics And PREbiotics
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that are good for your health, while prebiotics act as food for these probiotics. Some sources of prebiotics include potato starch, artichokes, radicchio, olives, cultured veggies, kombucha, and other fermented foods.
Many fermented foods contain both probiotics and prebiotics. It’s usually recommended that patients who have infections, such as Candida or SIBO, avoid prebiotics until the infection has cleared up – since prebiotics can also feed those types of infections. Once the infection is gone, then you can add prebiotics back into your diet.