A Happy Healthy Gut

Probiotics are best known as the ‘good bacteria’ useful for helping to improve and maintain good gut health. However, the benefits of probiotics reach far beyond our digestive system and can help improve our health, wellbeing and appearance in a variety of different ways.

Probiotics occur naturally in fermented foods such as natural yoghurt, sauerkraut, miso soup, pickles, kimchi and tempeh. Unfortunately though, the levels of bacteria present in foods may not be high enough to provide the health benefits associated with probiotics. For this reason, high strength probiotics are one of the most common supplements that I recommend in my clinic and are amongst the most popular nutritional supplements on the market.

How can probiotics benefit your health?
There is now significant evidence to demonstrate that probiotics can help with many areas of our health. In addition to improving our digestive health, research shows that probiotics can help support a healthy immune system, reduce inflammation and help to protect the skin from sun damage to name just a few of their benefits.

Digestive health
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a distressing condition that many of my clients present with. Common symptoms include bloating, constipation, abdominal discomfort and diarrhea but it can affect individuals in different ways. Whilst there are various different underlying causes of IBS, supplementation of probiotics can significantly improve symptoms in some individuals.

Immune system health
Gut bacteria make up between 70-80% of our body’s immune system. Low levels of beneficial bacteria can lead to an overgrowth of bad bacteria so healthy levels can help maintain a healthy immunity to infection. It’s also worth taking probiotics following antibiotic use. As well as doing their job of killing bad bacteria, antibiotics can also kill off the beneficial bacteria in our gut. Anyone who takes a course of antibiotics should follow them with a course of probiotics to replenish their good gut bacteria.

Probiotics and skin health
Studies show that probiotics can help support the skin’s immune system and in turn, may be useful for preventing sun damage from UV rays. Of course, it’s still a good idea to apply SPF daily (ZENii have a great broad spectrum SPF 50 in their range), but probiotic supplementation may help further reduce the risk of skin ageing caused by sun damage.

How to identify a good probiotic
Most of us know about probiotics, most likely via milky probiotic drinks, but many experts agree that probiotics are more effective provided as a microencapsulated supplement. Firstly, dairy products are common allergens and even if you don’t have a dairy allergy, they still have the potential to cause gut irritation and can exacerbate skin issues such as acne and eczema. Secondly, microencapsulation allows the probiotics to reach the gut without being broken down. An important feature to ensure your body actually reaps the rewards and avoids pouring your money down the drain.

Probiotics are available in a number of different strains and these differing strains can provide various health benefits. Supplements consisting of a variety of different strains will offer additional benefits compared with supplements containing just one or two.

Clinical evidence shows that supplementing a high strength probiotic, such as ZENii Probiotics (which contains 20 billion bacteria), can be more effective at addressing a number of health issues compared with those providing lower doses.

Why ZENii Probiotics are amongst the best on the market:
High strength formulation containing 20 billion bacteria.
Eight highly researched strains of probiotic providing a range of benefits.
Microencapsulation ensures probiotics survive stomach acids.
Capsule ensures minimal change of allergic or intolerance reactions, unlike milk based products.

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Kim Pearson is a nutritionist with over 12 years experience. Her clinical practice focuses on the speciality areas of weight loss, skin health and healthy ageing. Kim writes articles and provides professional comments for a range of publications including Harper’s Bazaar, The Telegraph, The Times and the Daily Mail. She has appeared on national radio and television including working as ITV's weight loss expert on This Morning.

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