Despite the complexity of the gut, there is a growing awareness and understanding that the health of our gut is central to our overall health.
Many factors can affect the development of our gut flora including type of delivery, feeding, weaning, and so on. Fast forward to adulthood and there is a host of factors that can disturb our gut flora, including food choices, stress, poor sleep, medications, antibiotics, the list goes on.
The functions of our gut flora include aiding digestion and nutrient absorption, vitamin production, protection against pathogens and serving as a communication centre. The gut flora, hence, play a pivotal role in the regulation of metabolic, immune, and endocrine functions. An imbalanced gut flora, often referred to as ‘dysbiosis’, can hence lead to many symptoms in and beyond the gut. In fact, extensive studies have shown connections between the health of the gut and many health conditions.
Probiotics (meaning pro-life) are live bacteria or specific probiotic yeast species that can help to keep the digestive system healthy by reducing the growth of harmful microbes and increasing the number of ‘friendly’ ones. Mechanisms of action include enhancement of the epithelial barrier, inhibition of pathogen adhesion, modulation of the immune system and production of some vitamins and short chain fatty acids.
Potential benefits of probiotics have been seen in a wide range of conditions including sleep and mood disturbances, IBS, skin problems, metabolic syndrome, antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and allergies.
Cytoplan has an extensive range of probiotics, find out more here.