Probiotic supplements can be a valuable addition to your diet. It’s important to understand what they do for you and how you should approach them when considering adding them to your supplements. Probiotic supplements go beyond simply supplying nutrients or vitamins or energy to your system. Here are four things you should know when considering probiotics.
One: Get To Know The Science Behind The Probiotics You Intend To Take
Research probiotic supplements before you take them. What does the science say about them? This is important because when you take a probiotic, you are not simply trying a food you haven’t had before. You are potentially introducing a whole new species of bacteria into your gastro-intestinal tract. It’s important to understand what that new life is going to do once it has been placed in that environment.
Part of your research should include consulting your physician, dietician, or functional medicine practitioner.
Two: Your Microbiome Is Part Of You
While the bacteria that make up your gut are not technically part of you, they are fundamental to your health. So learn to think about them in terms of being part of your own body, because they contribute so much to you. They are the first line of defense for your immune system. And they outnumber your own cells. This may be hard to believe, but consider this: bacterial cells in your gut are considerably smaller than the nerve, muscle, and bone cells that make up you. The nerves that sense pain in your toes actually run all the way from your toes to your brain. Relative to the bacterial cells in your gut, your own cells are huge.
Learn to think in terms of your gut flora being part of you. When you eat, you’re feeding them also. And if you feed them harmful things like excessive amounts of sugar, you’re doing damage to yourself because you’re encouraging harmful bacteria to flourish.
Three: Your Gut Is Unique
There is no one-size-fits-all way of handling your digestive system. A broad range of factors come into play, including age and genetics. Fiber that works for one person may not be as easily digestible by another person’s gut tract. This is why a personalized diet can be so vital. Consult a nutritionist or doctor if you have any concerns with how your gut is responding to the foods you eat. Your nutritional advisor or doctor may recommend certain probiotic supplements and discourage you from taking others.
Four: Diet And Probiotic Supplements Work Together
This may go without saying, but it’s important to reiterate: the things that play the largest role in the health of your digestive system are what you eat and drink. Taking a daily probiotic without looking at the rest of your diet can be a lost cause.
For example, alcohol can encourage bad bacteria to flourish. Taking probiotics may give your good gut flora a marginal advantage, but consuming excessive quantities of alcohol can negate them. So look at the totality of your diet. Reduce sugar intake. Reduce or eliminate processed foods. Learn to prepare foods from scratch. All of this can support the probiotic supplements you ingest, encouraging the good bacteria you want in your gut to flourish.