Probiotics make up the “good” bacteria living in your digestive tract. Adequate probiotic consumption is an essential element to optimal health and body function including such things as proper digestion, immunity, and maintaining healthy looking skin. A large number of people are not getting the probiotics they need in what they eat, and even more people don’t realize they have a probiotic deficiency at all.
While there are an estimated 100 trillion living microbacteria inside your body, some are more helpful than others. For example, a “good” probiotic bacteria strain (To learn more about advanced probiotics please visit heartland nutrients) would be Lactobacillus acidophilus, found in natural foods like yogurt. However, there are other strains of microbacteria, including Escherichia coli (E. coli), that can cause illness if they become overgrown in the gastrointestinal tract.
While none of the microflora in your gut are really “bad,” it is vital to your optimal health to keep large amounts of “good” bugs in your gut. Also known as probiotics, these bacteria can be found in fermented foods, tea, and other natural items like fresh fruits and vegetables. Additionally, they can be taken in supplement form to help prevent probiotic deficiency.
Here are five signs of probiotic deficiency, that may help you to recognize when you need to add some “good” gut bugs into your dietary routine:
- Undesired Weight Gain
If you are struggling to lose weight, a probiotic deficiency may be partially to blame. Many studies have shown that probiotics (the “good” gut bugs) play a pivotal role in weight loss in a variety of ways.1 One study found that probiotics were able to help reduce fat storage to support weight management efforts.2
Another study revealed that women who consumed Lactobacillus rhamnosus probiotics for three months were able to lose 50 percent more weight than women in the study who did not take the probiotics. The findings suggest that a probiotic formulation “helps obese women achieve sustainable weight loss.”3
Further evidence suggests that low-dose consumption of Lactobacillus gasseri probiotics were associated with a reduction in belly fat in 210 healthy Japanese adults.4
- Skin Issues
There is overwhelmingly positive evidence that suggests probiotics can help you attain more beautiful and clearer skin. In one study, the effects of Lactobacillus reuteri was studied on the development of acne. The results suggested that L. reuteri may serve as a preventive agent for acne lesions, as it may help to control the growth of “bad” bacterial growth involved in acne inflammation.5
Another recent study of 56 patients with acne revealed the ability of a probiotic fermented dairy beverage containing Lactobacillus to improve the clinical aspects of acne over a 12-week period.6
Even in pregnancy, maternal probiotic supplementation was shown to reduce the risk of developing skin problems like eczema in high-risk infants. The children in that study showed a significantly lower risk of developing eczema within the first two years of life.7
- Irregularity/Stomach Problems
Stomach issues and irregularity affect up to 20 percent of the population.1 The severity of which can vary from individual to individual, but the results are always the same. Probiotics may help. One study showed that the “good” bacteria strains Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus were found in significantly lower amounts in adults with irregularity.8
Another study revealed that compared to subjects who took placebo, patients who took probiotic supplements were able to see improvements in intestinal transit time. The results were even more significant in older adults with irregularity.9
- Reduced Immunity
The gastrointestinal tract is lined with micro-bacteria. With a probiotic deficiency, inflammation can occur, making common infections much harder to fight off.
In one study, participants who consumed the strain of probiotics known as Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus paracasei had a reduced risk of contracting the common cold.10
Another study revealed the importance of probiotics for athletes in improving immune function. Research showed that probiotic treatment was able to boost the resistance to respiratory tract illnesses and gastrointestinal (GI) episodes in healthy male rugby players. Results included that the duration of the illness was also reduced for those taking probiotics.11
- Mood and Mental Focus Imbalance
Recently, scientists have found that those tiny gut bugs are doing way more than anyone had ever thought before. In fact, the gut bacteria ecosystem has been called the “gut microbiome” by scientists, due to the immense diversity of bacterial strains. And it has recently been shown to have a direct impact on the way your brain works. Also known as the gut-brain connection, the microbiome may influence your mood, your memory, and even cognitive functions.12
One study showed that a probiotic formulation consisting of Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum strains of probiotics were able to offer positive effects on the mood and psychological distress levels of healthy volunteers. Participants reported lower levels of depression, anger, hostility, and anxiety.13
In another study, participants who took a combination of probiotic bacterial strains including L. paracasei ssp. paracasei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium lactis showed improvements in memory and concentration – in just four weeks.14
Can you relate to any of the above issues? You probably need to replenish the “good” gut bugs in your gastrointestinal tract. Probiotics (the “good” bugs) can be easily added into your favorite recipes, or you can try a full-spectrum supplement.
- Angelakis E, Merhej V. Related actions of probiotics and antibiotics on gut microbiota and weight modification. Lancet Infect Dis. 2013 Oct;13(10):889-99.
- Aronsson L, Huang Y. Decreased fat storage by Lactobacillus paracasei is associated with increased levels of angiopoietin-like 4 protein (ANGPTL4). PLoS One. 2010 Sep 30;5(9).
- Sanchez M, Darimont C2. Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus CGMCC1.3724 supplementation on weight loss and maintenance in obese men and women. Br J Nutr. 2014 Apr
- Kadooka Y, Sato M. Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 in fermented milk on abdominal adiposity in adults in a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2013 Nov 14;110(9):1696-703.
- Kang MS, Oh JS. Effect of Lactobacillus reuteri on the proliferation of Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis. J Microbiol. 2012 Feb;50(1):137-42. Epub 2012
- Kim J, Ko Y. Dietary effect of lactoferrin-enriched fermented milk on skin surface lipid and clinical improvement of acne vulgaris. Nutrition. 2010 Sep;26(9):902-9.
- Rautava S, Kainonen E. Maternal probiotic supplementation during pregnancy and breast-feeding reduces the risk of eczema in the infant. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012
Dec;130(6):1355-60. Epub 2012 Oct 16.
- Chang Hwan Choi, Sae Kyung Chang. Alteration of Gut Microbiota and Efficacy of Probiotics in Functional Constipation. J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2015 Jan; 21(1): 4–7.
- Khalif IL, Quigley EM, Konovitch EA, Maximova ID. Alterations in the colonic flora and intestinal permeability and evidence of immune activation in chronic constipation. Dig Liver Dis. 2005;37:838–849.
- Miller LE, Ouwehand AC. Probiotic supplementation decreases intestinal transit time: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. World J Gastroenterol.2013;19:4718–4725.
- Anna Berggren, Irini Lazou Ahrén. Randomised,double-blind and placebo-controlled study using new probiotic lactobacilli for strengthening the body immune defense against viral infections. Eur J Nutr (2011) 50: 203.
- Brylee A. Haywood, Katherine E. Black. Probiotic supplementation reduces the duration and incidence of infections but not severity in elite rugby union players. July 2014. Volume 17, Issue 4, Pages 356–360.
- Leo Galland. The Gut Microbiome and the Brain. J Med Food. 2014 Dec 1; 17(12): 1261–1272.
- Messaoudi M, Lalonde R. Assessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in rats and human subjects. Br J Nutr. 2011 Mar;105(5):755-64.
15. Sullivan A, Nord CE. Effect of supplement with lactic-acid producing bacteria on fatigue and physical activity in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Nutr J. 2009 Jan 26;8:4.