Why we need a Healthy Microbiome

Healthy Bugs = Healthy Patients

Each day there is more research emerging on the human microbiome, each day we are understanding more about the vital role our microbial population plays in health and disease.

All of the new understanding about probiotics and their application we now know that probiotics are not only for our digestion. There is more research about their role in helping inflammation, metabolism, immune regulation, mood and many more.

For example, gut microbes have been demonstrated to synthesise neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline and GABA. If we do not have good amounts of diverse gut bacteria we may experience anxiety and depression.

How Can We Ensure We Have a Healthy Microbiome

Take a strain specific probiotic:

Each genus and species of probiotic vary in function, so too do individual strains.

Our pharmacists are well trained on the latest research and strains of probiotics, they have the knowledge and expertise to confidently recommend the right probiotic according to your intended clinical outcome.

Probiotic research is not transferable and it is a common misconception that one strain of probiotic may be as effective as another in obtaining desired clinical outcomes. It is important that you discuss probiotics with a trained Pharmacist so that you are recommended the right strain for your desired outcomes.

Recommendation based on the purpose:

There are many questions to consider when choosing the most appropriate probiotic supplement to suit your needs, dependent upon the treatment goal:

Restoring Gut Flora:

Probiotics just like multivitamins and minerals can be of use in supplementing an inadequate diet, so to can probiotics be of use in restoring the microbiome back to bacterial balance.

Whether it be due to daily drivers of the imbalance of our gut bacteria such as poor diet, stress and lifestyle or medications including the oral contraceptive pill and antibiotics, it is important to re-inoculate with good bacteria to ensure a fully functioning digestive tract.

Studies have shown that antibiotics continue to have a negative impact on the numbers and diversity of gut flora up to four years after just a one week course. It is best practice to take a probiotic with every antibiotic prescription to help maintain your gut flora and to replenish it after the course is finished.

While there are hundreds of strains of probiotics found naturally within the gut, it is not essential nor is it practical to attempt to replenish them all.

Our pharmacists recommend researched strains which help bring the body back into microbial balance alongside a diet including prebiotics and fermented foods. In this instance, a probiotic proven to restore levels of normal healthy flora would be recommended.

Using Probiotics for a Therapeutic Application:

Probiotics are a very powerful therapeutic tool.

Just as vitamins and minerals have varying purposes – i.e. topping up dietary inadequacies to prevent ill health, versus, as powerful therapeutic agents in condition-specific applications – so too do probiotics.

Probiotic strains in evidenced doses can provide specific therapeutic relief.

Take Lactobacillus plantarum 299v and Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL 9, for example. While both the same genus and species, 299v has been proven effective in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome whereas HEAL 9 has been shown to significantly improve cold and flu symptoms by enhancing immune system function.

Talk to one of our trained pharmacists about what therapeutic outcome you are after to ensure you get the right strain for your needs

Feed Friendly Bacteria:

After you have been recommended the appropriate condition specific probiotic in order to sustain a healthy microbial population, the gut needs to have a healthy terrain and the probiotics within need sufficient fuel.

The gut terrain can be optimised via diet and lifestyle interventions along with targeted detoxification and gut healing protocols.

Providing sufficient fuel for the good bacteria to thrive can be ensured by recommending a diet with adequate fibre and prebiotics or by recommending a proven prebiotic to improve digestive health and mucosal immunity and also provides fibre to increase bulk and grow bacterial mass.

Come into Christchurch Central Pharmacy and have a chat to one of the knowledgeable pharmacists about probiotics for more information.

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