They say you should listen to your gut.
At every turn, we are confronted with consumables teeming with bacteria, the Good Guys of the New Frontier.
Here’s just five fabulous reasons why you should join the culture club.
Read More: Why You Should Be Treating Acne Scars Early
GOOD BUGS: TIP THE WEIGHING SCALES IN YOUR FAVOUR
Our weight is dramatically affected by these little buggers. In fact, countless studies have shown us that obese people have higher levels of bad bacteria from the phylum Firmicutes while lean people have higher levels of bacteria from the phylum Bacteroidetes.
So, are probiotics helpful in fixing this? A study in the British Journal of Nutrition thinks so. Researchers found that when obese women were given a daily probiotic supplement on top of a calorie-restricted diet to lose weight, their average weight loss was significantly higher than women who followed the same restricted diet but were given a placebo.
GOOD BUGS: KEEP BREAKOUTS AT BAY
A clear, beautiful complexion is more than skin deep. In 2014, doctors reviewed an old medical theory known as the “gut-brain-skin axis”, which simply says that disturbed emotional states such as stress, anxiety and depression can reciprocally contribute to altered gut flora (SIBO: small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and intestinal lining “leakiness”, which in turn recruits a systemic inflammatory response with skin manifestations such as acne and rosacea. *catches breath*
Furthermore, more recent studies examining the therapeutic benefit of oral and topical probiotics in mild acne have been promising, with theories including decreased release of inflammatory mediators and skin barrier restoration. A believer in restoring skin microbiome for healthy skin, Dr Low Chai Ling, founder of SW1 Clinic advocates probiotic supplements for her patients who are chronic acne sufferers. On top of that, acne sufferers may benefit from using a probiotic cream such as Blue Orchid to balance out the natural microbiome of their skin.
In fact, according to Dr Low, SW1 Clinic is partnering researchers from Astar to research skin microbiome and the genetic markers behind various skin conditions such as pigmentation and ageing issues. For more information, visit www.sw1clinic.com.
GOOD BUGS: STAVE OFF SKIN AGEING
Probiotics may also protect the skin against ageing. A recent study examined the impact of orally supplementing mice with a bifidobacterium strain prior to UVB radiation, three times weekly for 7 weeks. Compared to controls, supplementation significantly suppressed changes in transepidermal water loss, skin hydration, epidermal thickening, and attenuated the damage to the tight junction structure and basement membrane induced by chronic UVB irradiation, possibly via measurably-decreased interleukin-1-beta production in the skin.
GOOD BUGS: SOOTHE SENSITIVITIES
Recent research shows how your gut bacteria influence your immune system and even your metabolism. This means that by altering your body’s microflora, the benefits of probiotics include not only the ability to treat digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome, they can play a role in treating everything from pollen allergies and eczema to the common cold and obesity. As you likely already know, the strongest clinical evidence for probiotics is related to their use in improving gut health. Probiotic preparations have been found in studies to treat diarrhea, inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome, for instance.
Other studies however have shown that probiotics go beyond just the gut. Some probiotic strains can successfully treat a variety of allergic conditions in addition to seasonal allergies, including skin conditions such as eczema and atopic dermatitis. One randomized placebo-controlled study looked at the effects of treatment with Lactobacillus salivarius LS01 for four months in adults with itchy eczema diagnosed as atopic dermatitis. Patients treated with probiotics showed a statistically significant improvement of their skin symptoms and quality of life.
GOOD BUGS: PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE
You may have heard the best way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, but there may be more truth in that saying if you switched heart to brain. Mounting scientific evidence is showing that the composition of our gut microbiota plays a critical role in influencing cognitive behaviors and emotions such as anxiety, depression, stress, autism, learning, and memory through our “gut-brain axis,” according to a review in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. And an astounding 95 percent of your happy hormone serotonin is made and stored in your gut. Who knew?
In fact, a study in the journal PNAS found that when mice were infected with an anxiety-inducing parasite and then given a strain of probiotics, reduced levels of stress hormones and less anxiety- and depression-related behavior resulted. And researchers at the Office of Naval Research discovered they could improve moods of anxious mice by feeding them healthy microbes from calm mice. Both studies have opened doors to the possibilities of using probiotics.