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Health Effects of Probiotics for the Gut and Skin

Posted by J'TANICALS Admin on
Probiotics support gut and skin health

What are probiotics?

Probiotics are the ‘good’ bacteria that help keep our skin ecosystem (called the microbiome) in balance and our immune system strong. The microbiome, sometimes called the skin flora, is like a vast army of ‘good guy’ microbes that live inside our bodies and on our skin. They help to defend us against illness and keep skin healthy.

We now know that there are more microbes living on us and in us than there are human cells! This ‘living’ ecosystem is made up of trillions of organisms. The gut microbiome and its role in overall health is the subject of ongoing clinical research but we do know that it is key to fundamental metabolic, nutritional and immune system functions. This is why it is so important to protect and support the microbiome in any way we can, be it with probiotic foods for gut health or probiotics for acne and other skin health issues using topical products.

Benefits of probiotics on the body

The benefits of probiotics are increasingly recognised for overall health and wellbeing and probiotics have become common additions in our diet and in skincare. Natural probiotics, vegan probiotics and probiotics for skin are now widely discussed and easily available. These are 6 key benefits of probiotics:

  1. Address the ‘friendly‘ bacteria in the gut to restore balance

  2. Reduce the risk and severity of digestive disorders

  3. Research has shown taking probiotics helps improve mental health, memory and even stress

  4. Help lower cholesterol to protect the heart

  5. May reduce the severity of allergies, eczema and other skin disorders

  6. Boost the immune system (lactobacillus probiotic was shown to reduce infections)

Probiotics reduce inflammation in the gut

Probiotics for gut health

When we talk about foods containing probiotics, sometimes called a gut microbiome diet, there are lots of healthy varieties and choices out there. The following list contains some of the best probiotic foods.

  • Yogurt, one of the best sources but read the label and choose yoghurt with live or active cultures

  • Kefir, a fermented milk drink

  • Sauerkraut, choose unpasteurized, this confirms the live bacteria is active. It also contains lots of antioxidants

  • Cheese, traditional mozzarella, gouda and soft cheeses like ricotta and cream cheeses are all fermented and contain probiotics

  • Tempeh, a soy bean product

  • Miso, a Japanese seasoning

  • Pickle (or gherkins), a great source of live bacteria

  • Kombucha, a fermented black or green tea

  • Raw goats milk

There are some dairy free probiotics here that are easily available if allergies or choice prevent the diary options. Kefir, raw Goats milk and Tempeh are all dairy free options.

Prebiotic vs. probiotic: what's the difference?

In short the difference between prebiotics and probiotics is that prebiotics are the food that feeds the probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria. Prebiotics are plant-fibres that feed the friendly probiotics in the digestive system. They are both important for human health but have different roles.

Five foods that contain prebiotics are:

  • Bananas

  • Oats

  • Berries

  • Onions 

  • Asparagus

Probiotic skin care supports a health skin barrier

Probiotics in skin care

Similar to how probiotics treat and help prevent inflammatory stomach problems, topical products containing probiotics are known for their calming effect on the skin. They do this by helping to support and strengthen our existing skin microbiome. When you use probiotic technologies to support your natural skin flora, you are essentially helping the good bacteria to thrive and multiply and create a healthy skin barrier. And when your skin barrier is healthy, there’s no space for harmful bacteria to settle and cause irritation and infection. When there is space however, often you will see it revealed as a rash or a breakout.

Probiotic skincare in a nutshell helps restore and maintain the delicate balance so the skin can stay in good condition. When the skin barrier is happy, see our blog on how to protect your skin's barrier, it can regulate oil production, stay hydrated and fend off any free radicals. So when people use probiotics and prebiotics for acne, eczema, dry patches and other skin concerns they are actually supporting the skin’s microbiome which in turn keeps the skin's barrier function intact, able to address our skin type issues and bring skin back to balance.

Look for probiotics in a fragrance free formula so it will further boost the calming effects. Squalene, a great probiotic that acts as a mega-hydrator to lock in moisture whilst balancing redness and promoting a clear skin, is another potent ingredient to look out for. As we know probiotics work best when they are ‘fed’ by the prebiotics. So to get the optimum benefits to your skin pay attention to ingredients like polysaccharides and marine prebiotics to really boost and support the ‘good bacteria’.

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