Probiotics have risen in the ranks of the beauty industry as we move toward a more holistic approach to our inner health and outer beauty. From supplements to skincare, there are so many options to choose from and more and more brands popping up each day with a solution to all our gut health problems.
Like anything that seems to explode in popularity as fast as probiotics have, it can be hard to keep up with research and decipher fact from fiction when deciding what they do, and if you need them.
So, we tapped Michaela Sparrow, a Naturopath, Clinical Nutritionist, Certified Anti-Ageing Practitioner and expert for Tummify Probiotic Shots, to give us the low-down on just what probiotics are doing for us, why they’re a crucial part of our beauty routine and how we can learn to shop for the right ones for us!
How do our bodies benefit from probiotics? Can you explain a little about the relationship between our gut health, skin health and probiotics?
Under “normal” health conditions, friendly bacteria in the gut outnumber the unfriendly ones. Poor inputs from our regular diet to taking a course of antibiotics can easily throw out the balance of bacteria. Probiotics can provide the extra gut-beneficial bacteria you need as well as create a physical barrier against unfriendly bacteria. Studies suggest that probiotics reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 60%, when compared with a placebo (Harvard Medical Journal noted two big studies)
Your gut and skin health have an integral relationship often coined as the skin-gut axis. Your gut plays a key role in reducing toxins, infections, and inflammation in the body. As the largest organ in the body your skin acts as the detoxifier that helps eliminate these unwanted substances and waste. When the gut is not functioning optimally, the skin is often the first place to show the effects of an unhealthy gut. Moreover, the gut can also play a role in aiding the digestion of some of the most commonly cited vitamins and minerals that contribute to healthy looking skin such as B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin
What are a few of the key benefits probiotics have on our inner and outer health?
It’s important to understand, not all probiotics are the same. Different strains of the bacteria have different effects. And only some of the commonly seen strains have been scientifically tested and are allowed to make health claims such as BB12 as a proven aid to digestion. As a science-based company we spent over 12 months in the lab ensuring that our formulation included and was able to balance many of these empirically proven strains.
Some of the most commonly cited benefits of researched probiotic use would be supporting digestion, infections and immunity.
Why do you think probiotics have become so insanely popular in recent times?
Depending on the research paper you read, you’re right, there is only a spectrum of material to mega growth rates being stated and predicted.
Our view is that as the science increases and we have the evidence of both the power of the gut (aka the second brain) and the proof of probiotic impact in assisting that gut health, consumers understand the criticality of a daily dose of probiotics in assisting their overall wellness. And unlike many things that are good for you, this one is easy!
Can you touch on any differences between taking probiotics in different forms such as tablets, or liquid supplements?
Both tablets and liquid supplements have their place depending on personal preference, the key is that they provide a vehicle for ensuring the good bacteria makes its way to the gut in good shape. So, for instance ensuring that tablets have the appropriate coating, and given heat can kill bacteria ensuring it is refrigerated if that’s what is stated.
Our personal preference and passion is that we start taking our ‘medicine’ as our food, and respond to the growing pill fatigue in western society. In a modern world where we can be incredibly precise with our nutrition, why not opt for real food?
Liquid supplements have certain benefits to them – they have a volume (in our case 65mls) that enables us to pack the shot with precise quantities of additional nutrients such as prebiotics and proteins in addition to the probiotic strains. Secondly, it is a live fermenting environment which enables our 13 strains of bacteria to mingle and multiply to achieve great potency and diversity. Thirdly, nature is a wonderful thing, through the natural fermenting process, our premium organic milk ends up with next to no lactose and sugar (as that’s what the bacteria feeds on), so the end result is all the goodness you need and nothing you don’t.
How much is enough when it comes to taking probiotics? How do we know our bodies are getting enough and can we be taking too many?
The jury is still out on this except that we know you need a lot for it to be effective – certainly in the tens of billions. The probiotics you consume stay for a while but then pass through the body. This means two things; you need to take it on a regular basis to effect change, and you cannot take too many as like vitamin C, the excess will simply get expunged by the body.
When shopping for probiotics and products that contain them, what should we look out for and how do we avoid fake promises?
Two very important elements of a good probiotic are potency and diversity of strains. Make sure the CFU count is high, i.e. above 15 billion, and look for one that has multiple strains. Different strains of bacteria provide different benefits to the body and many studies have shown that multi-strain probiotics are more effective than single-strain ones.
Beyond the big two, we are advocates that you don’t need to take anything that won’t serve the body, so in our case organic whole milk, almost no sugar, and nothing artificial.