If you’ve entered a drugstore, browsed a grocery store aisle or engaged in any kind of health-minded conversation over the past few years, you’re at least semi-familiar with probiotics. These microorganisms have become an increasingly common topic of medical interest and research thanks to their potential to support many aspects of health and wellness.
Here’s how it works: Your gut — or more formally, your gastrointestinal tract — contains over 500 bacterial species that work together to facilitate digestion, support the immune system and more. Probiotics are naturally occurring “good” bacteria that live in your gut. When the balance between healthy and not-so-healthy bacteria gets out of whack, things can go awry. You might notice this in the form of occasional tummy trouble, changes in mood or even in the appearance of your skin.
That’s where probiotic supplements come in. There’s scientific evidence that shows the right strains of bacteria can positively impact overall health. From lactobacilli to promote vaginal health to Saccharomyces boulardii when you’re playing tourist, here’s what to look for.
For medication use
Some medications, like antibiotics, work by killing bacteria. The trouble is they don’t differentiate between good and bad bacteria. This means certain medications can reduce the good bacteria in your gut, throwing your microbiome — your internal ecosystem — off balance and allowing undesirable bacteria to overgrow. Probiotics are useful for restoring healthy microbial balance, provided they are formulated on clinical research showing efficacy.
For digestive health
Gas, bloating or a disruption in your daily bowel habits are all common signs of an unbalanced gut microbiome. Your intestines absorb nutrients from food, but they also form a critical barrier that keeps out unwanted microorganisms, which can impact digestive health. Probiotics play an important role in maintaining intestinal barrier integrity by preventing bad bacteria from colonizing the gastrointestinal tract, and they help in the production of essential nutrients like vitamin B12 and vitamin K.*
For immune health
During the winter months, weather changes and more time indoors can make it harder for your immune system to stay up to snuff. Because approximately 70% of your immune system lives in your gut, a daily probiotic — like HMF Super Powder — can contribute to a healthy immune system.*
For staying healthy at school
In a recent clinical trial, HMF Fit for School — a chewable probiotic for kids containing four different probiotic strains as well as vitamin C and vitamin D — significantly supported upper respiratory health in school children when compared to a placebo.*
A healthy microbiome is just as important for a mother as it is for her baby. Taking probiotics during pregnancy — with a doctor’s approval, of course — can not only support a pregnant woman’s digestive and vaginal health, but it may contribute to a healthy microbiome in newborns.*
For mood and cognitive health
There’s early science to suggest that the microbiome affects our brain. Because the brain and gut “talk” to each other, there’s growing evidence showing that probiotics can impact impact mood and cognitive health.*
For travel troubles
You’ve been looking forward to your meticulously planned trip abroad for months only to have your good time disturbed by a none-too-cooperative stomach. Whether it’s the result of jet lag, stress or unfamiliar food and water, you may find some support in your carry-on if you pack HMF Travel, which contains Saccharomyces boulardii and four other proprietary probiotic strains to support gastrointestinal health while you’re on-the-go.* Unlike some formulas, which require refrigeration, this formula is shelf-stable, so it will maintain its potency when you’re far from home.
Before you begin taking any type of probiotic, speak with your doctor and/or pharmacist about whether it is safe and right for you.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
This post was sponsored by Genestra.