Probiotics are bacteria that help your digestive system function optimally and improve your overall health through the interconnectedness of each system within your body. In fact, your gut may have a greater impact on your entire body than we’ve ever realized before.

Probiotics and gut bacteria are hot topics in the wellness industry, and new research and discoveries are published all the time. Most of what we are learning concerns the importance of keeping your levels of good and bad bacteria balanced. Here is what you need to know for better digestive and overall health.

What Is Bacterial Balance?

Bacterial balance is a phrase that refers to the right combination of microbial genes for the right balance of microbes to thrive within the body. When your microbiome is balanced, it can help fight off everyday environmental threats and keep you healthy.

The National Institutes of Health have implemented the Human Microbiome Project to research the bacteria in the body. Their goal is to catalog bacteria found in healthy people.

The concept behind this is that there might be a better, more effective way to use the good bacteria to bring the body back into balance. Of course, this begs the question, are probiotics the solution?

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What Can Probiotics Do?

At this point, there has not been enough research to thoroughly understand the benefits of probiotics, but there are numerous conditions that have proven benefits from their use. The most commonly studied illnesses with the most promising outlooks for favorable treatment with probiotics are:

♦ Common digestive issues, like diarrhea

♦ Atopic dermatitis

♦ Allergic rhinitis

♦ Oral health problems

♦ Colic in infants

Liver issues

♦ The common cold

What’s key to note at this point is that while some of these illnesses, and others that weren’t mentioned, seem to have a good outlook for treatment or prevention with probiotics, it’s still not time to replace current treatments with probiotics.

That said, you might benefit from using probiotics in conjunction with your traditional treatment. It’s definitely something to discuss with your healthcare provider.

Picking a Probiotic

If you’re interested in trying a probiotic, whether your doctor suggested it or you just want to boost your health and give your gut the good bacteria it may be lacking, there are a few things you should know about first.

Type of bacteria: If you’re looking for specific health benefits, you need to make sure you have all three of those names correct because using the right strain is important. Different strains can have different effects.

Delayed-release: The acid in your digestive system can destroy probiotic bacteria before they ever reach their intended target: your intestinal tract. Make sure you pick a brand that has a delayed-release, so the bacteria reach your intestine.

Ingredients: Check the label to ensure the probiotic you’re selecting doesn’t contain any ingredients you’re allergic to or choose not to consume, such as GMOs, gluten, soy, animal by-products, etc.

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Again, it’s important to emphasize that everyone needs to discuss using a probiotic with their healthcare provider before beginning any supplementation plan.

Bacteria and Skin Health

Probiotics are also beneficial for skin health. Disruptions in the gut can sometimes lead to occasional toxins being released into the dermis. Good bacteria in your intestinal walls help lessen the release of these toxins while simultaneously promoting healthy skin and normal immune responses.

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The Bottom Line

The bacterial balance in your body may be essential to promote whole-body wellness. When your body is healthy, you have just the right combination of good bacteria to ward off everyday environmental threats. This is the optimal balance. Adding probiotics can maintain the body’s microbiome in a healthy condition where it’s working optimally.