Probiotics are the go-to supplement right now. They are populating health shops, filling social media, and it seems like every health expert is talking about them. But what actually are probiotics and what they can do for our health?
Here's an overview of the latest research.
Probiotics: What are they?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts which have various health benefits, as defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization. They are usually added to yoghurts or taken as food supplements, for example our Probiotic Digestion Plus.
Probiotics help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut which is particularly important when it has been disrupted by illness or following a course of antibiotics. They help to ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, enhance the immune system and even promote healthy ageing by counteracting age-related shifts in gut microbiota diversity.
Probiotics: The different strains
There are many different strains of bacteria that can found in probiotic supplements and the benefits of one strain does not necessarily hold true for others. A probiotic should contain several billion microorganisms to increase the chance of gut colonization. The most popular and tested strains are from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species.
Probiotics: Enhancing Immunity and COVID-19
The gut microbiota plays a large role in shaping immunity and has been extensively studied. Probiotic formulations improve the gut flora, in turn diminishing the growth of harmful microbes, and improving the immune response to infection. They also stimulate immune response by increasing antibody production.
Recent studies show that when a probiotic is combined with a Vitamin D supplement, the absorption of Vitamin D is improved. This has been shown in Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus rhamnosus strains (both found in our Digestion Plus and Skin Support capsules).
By enhancing Vitamin D absorption and inhibiting inflammation probiotics are an attractive supplement for preventing COVID-19 related inflammation. Moreover, the results from studies with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains have shown that these probiotics can reduce the severity and shorten the duration of a common cold. Head East Probiotic Digestion Plus and Probiotic Skin Support supplements contain high doses of both of these stains so are particularity beneficial during the cold and flu season.
Considering the current pandemic of COVID-19, a healthy immune system has never before been so important. Supplementing with a probiotic is a beneficial way to enhance your immunity. Are you interested in incorporating a probiotic supplement into your daily routine? Explore our range of probiotics here.