You’ve probably heard people talking about ‘gut health’ and you might think it’s just a trendy bandwagon everyone’s jumping on, only to hop off at the next stop.
But if you’ve ever felt bloated, ‘blocked up’ (or the extreme opposite of blocked up. Yeah, that.), sluggish, spotty, head achy, heavy, itchy, inflamed, or a just a bit crappy, you should listen up, because it could be poor gut health to blame. (And if you’re thinking that you’ve never experienced ANY of those things LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE. Read on, fibber.)
“The gut is central to virtually every bodily function” says nutritional therapist and OptiBac Probiotic spokesperson Laura Ryan “it’s not only where we digest food and absorb nutrients, but its home to around 70% of the immune system”. It might not be a surprise that a poor diet, stress and other unbalancing factors can lead to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, abdominal cramps and bloating, but it might not stop there. “Poor gut health can also lead to poor skin health, acne and eczema for example, low immunity, inflammation and even mental health issues” confirms Ryan. Oh, NOW you’re interested right? Thought so.
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With more and more people suffering from gut related problems, the good news is that solutions have become more readily available. So rather than having to completely overhaul your diet (which is a great answer of course, but … pizza) or swig on a bottle of apple cider vinegar every morning (not the one) the simple answer is probiotic supplements. “It’s one of the easiest ways to support gut health” says Ryan. Full of ‘friendly bacteria’ they can, taken daily, quickly re-balance a troubled tummy. And the pizza can stay. (Domino’s anyone?)
And now, a new study by Bio-Kult has revealed that probiotics can help reduce the frequency of migraines. With these painful head aches affecting 14% of the UK, it's no wonder we're looking for potential ways to reduce frequency. Bio-Kult nutritionist Hannah Braye revealed "The 14 strains of bacteria in Bio-Kult Advanced Multi-Strain formula were recently shown in a randomised double blind, placebo-controlled trial to significantly decrease migraine frequency and intensity and the use of abortive pain-relief medications in both episodic and chronic migraine..."
But just why do the experts think that probiotics can help here?
Braye advises "It is hypothesised that inflammatory compounds and immune modulation originating from the gut can act on the trigeminal nerve (a major pain pathway in the brain), increasing sensitivity and triggering migraine attacks. Our beneficial gut bacteria play a key role in supporting the health of the gut lining and live bacteria supplements have been shown to alter the composition of gut bacteria, decrease intestinal permeability and reduce inflammation."
So will you be trying it?
Here are our favourite probiotics on the market.