Probiotics are enjoying a moment right now and for a good reason. Editor Trudi Brewer shares how they boost your immune system and why they can get your skin glowing.
Probiotics boost good bacteria in the gut
Probiotics are live microorganisms or ‘good bacteria’ that lives in our gut and keeps the pathogens or (bad bacteria) healthy. They stabilize the protective barrier in the gut, preventing infection and disease. According to Andrea Fenner wellness education specialist for Swisse, “You may wonder, what the bacteria living in the gut has to do with immune health? The gut microbiome plays a key role as 70 percent of our immune system lies within the gut. Having the right balance of beneficial bacteria helps to stimulate the immune response, that helps with your body’s defences against illness.” Fenner adds your diet is also important in keeping your gut in top shape. “Probiotics are found in fermented foods like sauerkraut and kombucha, as well as some dairy products. In particular, yoghurt, which is naturally abundant in the lactobacillus bacteria strain, and is good for supporting immune health.”
Swisse Ultibotic Daily Digestive Probiotic, $38
This daily probiotic contains two strains of prebiotics Lactobacillus plantarum, and Lactobacillus paracasei. Together they help to reduce and shorten the symptoms of colds and sore throats, and help to boost your immune health. This formula does not need to be stored in the fridge.
So what about prebiotics
Probiotics are live bacteria, while prebiotics are not living bacteria but are the food for probiotics to populate and flourish in the gut. Known as ‘good food’ for gut flora, prebiotics are found in foods such as onions, garlic, leeks, legumes, bananas, whole grains, asparagus, oats, apples, and flaxseeds, and should be part of your daily diet.
Swisse Ultibotic Daily Bowel Probiotic, $38.
Also fridge-free, this formula contains Lactobacillus plantarum a probiotic strain that supports healthy bowel functions, including calming excess gas, and reducing bloating.
Winter is when your body needs an immunity boost
Winter is an excellent time to give your body a probiotic boost, particularly beneficial after a course of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill the bad bacteria or infection in the body as well as good bacteria. A course of probiotics reboots the good bacteria helping your gut recover, promoting healthy body functions again. Fenner adds, "Taking a probiotic-rich in Lactobacillus helps support a healthy immune system during illness. As well as looking after your gut health."
Swisse Ultibotic Daily Immune Probiotic, $38.
Taking this fridge-free probiotic-rich in lactobacillus can help support a healthy immune system when you are sick. Fenner say as well as looking after your gut health with supplements, you can also support your immune system by exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables.
How your gut affects your skin
What you see on your skin is a reflection of what's going on inside your body. The imbalance of bacteria in the gut can be the cause of irritated skin. "An imbalance of good and bad bacteria has been shown to trigger inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. This is why encouraging friendly microflora to grow and flourish in the intestine is beneficial, as there is a gut-skin connection," says Fenner. Also probiotics that contain streptococcus thermophilus have been shown to increase the production of ceramides in the skin, which strengthen the protective layer of the skin preventing moisture loss, keeping skin hydrated. So, if you have niggling skin issues that won't respond to changes in your skincare regime, it could be time to take a course of probiotics that can also help reduce inflammation and redness, regulate oil production, and reduce the risk of breakouts and blemishes.
Swisse Ultibotic Women's Flora Probiotic, $38.
This fridge-free formula is designed for women and contains strains of Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Lactobacillus reuteri that together help to balance and support healthy vaginal microflora (normal bacteria that lives inside the vagina) and support urinary tract health. These supplements are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.