What are probiotics?
Probiotics can help to maintain the natural balance in our gut
Written by Hannah Byrne
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
There are trillions of bacteria living inside our gut that can play a number of different roles in the way our body functions. Keeping the natural balance of these bacteria in good shape is important for keeping us healthy.
What alters the bacteria in our gut?
Throughout our lives, the balance of the bacteria in our gut can change. If we have been unwell, have taken antibiotics, or have a gastrointestinal condition such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), this balance can be thrown off.
How do probiotics help?
Probiotics, such as Sona, are made up of good or friendly bacteria, or live microorganisms, that can help to keep the gut healthy and maintain the balance of good bacteria in the body. These bacteria populate the intestine and work by preventing harmful bacteria from settling into your gut and causing problems. By competing with harmful bacteria, probiotics can help to keep your gut healthy.
Benefits of probiotics include boosting the digestive system, reducing stress and anxiety, reducing bloating, and supporting recovery after antibiotics, among other things.
Why are probiotics considered good for you?
Probiotics are not only considered to be good for gut health, but are also seen as having positive effects in other areas of our health. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied diet. Click here for more on healthy eating.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Researchers in APC Microbiome Ireland at UCC have found that a disturbance in the balance of bacteria in the gut can be linked to IBS. Up to 20% of the Irish population will be affected by IBS at some stage in their lives. Taking probiotics can help to ease some of the symptoms of IBS by restoring some of the balance of bacteria in the gut.
When we have a bacterial infection, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics which will help to fight off the infection. In the process, these antibiotics can alter the bacteria in our gut and may even cause diarrhoea. Taking probiotics after a course of antibiotics can help to restore things to their natural balance.
AfterBiotic from Sona Nutrition is a 7 day course of probiotics that can help to get things back to normal after taking antibiotics.
Research carried out in New Zealand and published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport found that athletes who took probiotics experienced 40% fewer colds and gastrointestinal infections than those who were taking a placebo.
This suggests that taking probiotics can help to improve digestive health by reducing the frequency of infections when taking daily probiotic supplements.
Recent research has found that there is a link between our gut health and our mental wellbeing. Researchers from UCC have found that a changing balance of bacteria in the gut can trigger anxiety and stress. By taking probiotics, stress and anxiety can be reduced by balancing the bacteria in our gut.
What kinds of probiotics can I take?
Sona Nutrition provide a range of probiotics for different needs.Take a look at their range and find the best probitotic to suit you:
- Acidiobifidus are chewable tablets with a strawberry flavour which has multiple strains of friendly bacteria. These tablets will help to maintain the natural balance of bacteria in your gut.
- Acidophilus Complete capsules help maintain a healthy digestive tract with 3 strains of bacteria – Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Lactis, Lactobacillus Paracasei, making these tablets especially helpful after taking antibiotics.
- Pro25Biotic are extra high stength microbiotics with 25 billion per capsule. These tablets will be helpful for anyone prone to infections as they promote 'good' bacteria to prevent stomach upset.
- Ultrabiotic Active Lives are chewable tablets with added Vitamin C to help boost the immune system. These tablets can promote good digestive health for people leading active lives.
- Ultrabiotic for Women are chewable tablets that will help to maintain balance in the gut. These tablets have added Vitamin B6 which can help to regulate hormonal activity in women.
- AfterBiotic is a 7 day course of capsules that can be taken after finishing a course of antibiotics. They work to restore the good bacteria in the gut to prevent and ease any digestive issues that might arise because of the antibiotics. Read more about taking probiotics after antibiotics here.
To find out more about Sona Nutrition's range of probiotics, visit their website.