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Harley Street

Should I Be Taking a Probiotic?

If your first feeling when you see the word ‘probiotic’ is confusion, then read on for a little clarity on the topic. The term is everywhere at the moment, from Instagram to herbal teas!

What are Probiotics?

I like to imagine probiotics as seeds for your gut’s diverse garden. Probiotics are helpful bugs that support our health and body. Strictly speaking, probiotics are live microbes that offer health benefits. The term probiotics often refers to supplements which usually come as either capsules or in liquid form. Probiotics can also be found in fermented foods such as kefir and kimchi.

So How Do These Bugs Offer Health Benefits To Us?

The food we eat eventually reaches the bugs in our gut. These bugs then munch on the food and produce compounds called “metabolites”. We can think of metabolites as little bubbles that float around our gut and enter our blood and interact with our immune system, gut brain axis and so much more. This is all very interesting, but what does this mean in real life?

When googling “can probiotics help my health?”, you are presented with promises that they’ll fix every ailment under the sun. These microbes are claimed to fix everything, from healing eczema to preventing UTIs. Whilst there is some evidence supporting these links, it’s not strong enough yet to make solid recommendations. However, robust evidence has been found for probiotic’s role in preventing antibiotic related diarrhoea and managing IBS. This doesn’t mean to say that probiotics can’t help other ailments, the evidence just may not be as strong yet. But absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence. Trying to find the right probiotic for you and your health concern can be overwhelming!

Which Probiotic Should I Use?

What’s important to remember is that not all probiotic supplements are made equal, so picking a reliable and effective one is key to ensure you get your money’s worth. An effective probiotic needs to be backed by science. It needs to be clear that the species of bug used is effective for the intended health claim and that this species makes it to the gut alive! At Harley Street at Home we only recommend “Symprove”, “Optibac” and “VSL #3” which are formulated based on thorough research and extensive studies that have been carried out by scientists.

The probiotic supplementation business can be incredibly confusing for a consumer. We suggest discussing any concerns with your healthcare professional to help make the best choice for you and your health goal. Remember to support this supplement with a healthy and balanced diet full of different fruits and vegetables to keep your gut bugs happy and healthy.

Probiotic supplements can play a great role in your diet and health. However, picking a reliable product that suits you can be overwhelming but certainly doable with the help of your Nutritionist, Dietitian or GP.

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