Alright friends, today’s post is all about probiotics and why you need them in your life. I’ve been taking a probiotic for a few years now as part of my daily vitamin/supplement routine. I have had a chance to see the benefits and more recently, the major difference it makes when you actually take the right one. I get a lot of questions about why I take probiotics, what they actually do and which one I recommend. The world of probiotics can be a tad overwhelming. My online research led me down a rabbit hole of scientific terms that made me feel like I was reading a different language. I mean it's all pretty fascinating but I'm no scientist nor will I ever claim to be more educated than I am. So my goal with this post is to give you a little info, average joe to average joe.
This post is sponsored by Silver Fern Brand. All opinions and comments are 100% my own and I am thrilled to work with a company that I love and wholeheartedly believe in. Thanks for your continued support!
What exactly are probiotics anyway?
The official definition of probiotics is "live microorganisms that when ingested in certain amounts, deliver a benefit to the host" aka, you! Probiotics work to increase the amount of helpful bacteria to your gut and thus promote a healthy digestive system along with an array of other benefits (more on that below). Our bodies are filled with bacteria, both good and bad. The goal is to try to decrease the amount of bad bacteria, which is usually due in part to poor diet, and increase the good bacteria in your system.
Probiotics can be taken in the form of supplements or they are also found in some fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut or kimchi. If you're someone who is trying to stay away from dairy then a supplement may be your best probiotic friend. Another reason to think about using a supplement? While fermented foods can be nutritious and provide benefits upon consumption, most do not actually deliver probiotics to your gut.
For my lifestyle, I choose to take a probiotic as a supplement in addition to some of my fave fermented foods. Taking a supplement ensures I am receiving the maximum benefit of the healthy bacteria needed to promote a healthy digestive system. Between all the kombucha I drink and my daily probiotic, I should be covered! 😉
Why Should I be taking one?
Because it's good for you! Oh, you need more convincing? Fine.
The balance of microorganisms in your gut is called the flora. Ideally, 85% of the bacteria in your gut should be the good helpful kind. Different things like diet, stress, illness or medications can throw off the balance. Taking a probiotic can help to balance your flora and increase the ratio of beneficial bacteria in your system.
All that sounds well and good but what exactly does it mean?
Typically, having an imbalance of good vs bad bacteria in your system can cause some not so fun symptoms. Things like weight gain, digestive issues and skin conditions can often be attributed to excessive “bad” bacteria.
There are many benefits linked to having the right kind of bacteria in your system. It has even been shown that an adequate amount of helpful bacteria in your gut can fight off infections. Other benefits include
- an increased metabolism
- better digestion and regularity
- prevention of bowel diseases
- clearer skin and treatment of eczema
- improved immune system function
- increased energy
- alleviation of symptoms related to anxiety and depression
Um…sign me up please. For all of those.
Which Probiotic should I take?
I will be completely honest. When I first started taking a probiotic, I really didn’t know exactly why I was taking one besides the fact that I had read it was good for me. So I went out and bought whichever brand was cheapest and started adding it to my routine. It wasn’t until I recently tried out a new brand that I realized that not all probiotics are created equal. I switched over to the Silver Fern Brand Ultimate Probiotic and after using them for over a month, I can definitely see how important it is to choose the right one!
By the end of the first week of taking Silver Fern, I noticed a change in my digestion. I had less bloating and discomfort throughout the day and things were moving about much more regularly if ya know what I mean. I tend to have a very sensitive stomach and I am prone to bloating and gas. Not fun (or cute for that matter). With Silver Fern, I noticed a huge decrease in those symptoms even though I had already been taking a supplement. This tells me that my other probiotic may not have been doing it’s job as well as I had hoped.
One thing I love about this probiotic is that it is backed by SO much research. It makes me feel a lot more confident about what I am putting in my system. I had no idea that most probiotics die off in the harsh acidic environment of your stomach before even reaching your gut, rendering them essentially useless. If you’re trying to increase the amount good bacteria to your gut well then your probiotic better make it there alive! Survivability is an important factor to pay attention to when picking out a probiotic. It's also important to check that your probiotic goes through DNA analysis and strain verification so you know what’s listed on the bottle is actually what’s getting into your system. Those are a couple major reasons why I will be sticking with Silver Fern.
I recently went to Greece and took my probiotics with me. I was prepared for the usual stomach issues I get while traveling. Irregularity, bloating, upset stomach – but none of that happened. That is a definite traveling first for me and I truly think it was due to taking these probiotics.
The other benefit of this particular probiotic is that it also contains prebiotics. Prebiotics work a little differently than probiotics. Prebiotics help to nurture and grow the healthy bacteria that already live in your gut. They act as a fertilizer to keep the good bacteria vibes going. Hey hey hey gut health bonus!
Now that it’s been a couple months, I will definitely be continuing my current probiotic routine and enjoying all the benefits it has to offer. After the improvements I have seen in just this short time, I'm excited to follow my gut (pun intended) and reap the benefits of the long term effects of making my gut health a priority!