Probiotics 101: How they work & their benefits
Probiotics are a saturated term in the health and wellness industry...and for good reason. But, the microorganisms are a bit more complex than that. There’s so much to consider when starting probiotic supplementation – from strains to how they work and what benefits of probiotics you can expect to see and feel. Here, we break down everything you need to know.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are living microorganisms that are considered beneficial to human health. They work by promoting the growth of good bacteria in the gut, which can help to improve digestion and boost the immune system. However, probiotics can also have positive effects on other areas including the skin, vagina and mood.
Benefits of Probiotics
We know the benefits of probiotics are vast and varied. Let's dive into a bit more depth.
The gut microbiome is the ‘epicentre’ of feeling good. And as the centre of the body’s ecosystem, it directly impacts your brain, immune system, skin and more. Essentially, it’s the key to all-around health. The gut microbiome, also known as gut microflora, is the collection of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract. When imbalanced, it can not only lead to bloating and digestive issues – but also other health-related concerns that can impact your every day.
The two key pathways to restoring optimal gut health are nourishing the microbiome and restoring healthy digestive function. And the best probiotic for gut health will work to do just that. Helping to promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut while also balancing the gut flora.
Poor gut health is linked to many skin conditions, particularly ones that have an inflammatory component like acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema, Research has shown that people with acne often have intestinal dysbiosis or gut-related issues. Meaning, we can start to understand the interconnectedness of how a ‘poor’ gut can have clear, systemic effects.
That said, probiotics are not only beneficial for digestive health but are increasingly investigated in scientific research for their effects of a variety of inflammatory skin conditions, including acne. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two of the most common probiotic genus used for skin, vaginal and gut health, as these bacteria are dominant in a healthy microbiome. In terms of strains, look for supplements containing Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus strains. Specifically, Lactobacillus rhamnosus is shown to help improve skin barrier function, reduce inflammation and target symptoms of acne. While Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus reuteri work to support a healthy gut and vagina.
Probiotics play an important role in supporting vaginal health through oral supplementation. The vagina contains a delicate balance of bacteria, including both harmful and beneficial bacteria. When this balance is disrupted, it can lead to a range of issues such as bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Probiotics can help to restore this balance by introducing beneficial bacteria into the vaginal microbiome. These bacteria work to compete with harmful bacteria to maintain a healthy environment in the vagina.
The best probiotics for vaginal health include strains such as Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus jensenii Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus reuteri. These strains have been found to be particularly effective at preventing and addressing vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Oral probiotic supplements can provide a natural and effective way to support vaginal health.
Probiotics can also have an impact on mood and emotional well-being. The gut and the brain are connected through the gut-brain axis, which means that the health of the gut can influence the health of the brain and vice versa. Studies have found that certain strains of probiotics, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, can help to improve mood and reduce symptoms of stress and mild anxiety. Probiotics work by producing neurotransmitters and other substances that can influence the brain and the nervous system. In addition, probiotics can help to reduce inflammation in the gut, which has been linked to mood disorders. While more research is needed in this area, probiotics can provide a natural and promising way to support mood balance and overall emotional well-being.
Choosing Probiotics That Are Right for You
The benefits of probiotics are species and strain specific. Meaning to reap the benefits, you need to choose the right one(s) to address your particular concern. For example, if you’re experiencing gut-related issues we know Lactobacilli are an important bacterial species that have benefits for human health, particularly for the gut – and vagina.
And in understanding the systemic effects of imbalances in our body’s delicate ecosystem, Vida Glow has formulated a 2-in-1 multi-strain probiotic supplement to restore gut flora and maintain female pH balance. Vida Glow Women’s Health Gut Pro contains clinically studied lactobacilli species – including lactobacillus plantarum, lactobacillus rhamnosus and lactobacillus reuteri – which work synergistically with ginger and gentian to boost levels of beneficial bacterial and prevent imbalance of harmful bacteria.
How Long Do Probiotics Take to Work
The length of time it takes for probiotics to work can vary depending on the individual and the specific concerns being addressed. Some people may notice improvements in their symptoms within a few days, while others may take several weeks or months to see results. It's important to be patient and consistent when taking probiotics as with any supplement in order to receive the full, continuous benefits.
Probiotics are a powerful tool for improving gut health, immune system function, skin health, vaginal health, and mood balance. The best probiotic for gut health contains strains that have been studied for their specific health benefits and is high quality. In addition to probiotics, other supplements such as prebiotics and digestive enzymes can also improve gut health. By incorporating probiotics and other gut health supplements into your daily routine, you can further support your overall health and well-being. To feel good, all day – every day.