Probiotics are a type of friendly bacteria that can benefit human health. The term “probiotic” comes from the Greek phrase “for life.” These live microorganisms live in your gut, and help support your body in a variety of ways.
The benefits of probiotics have been demonstrated through numerous health studies. Health experts often recommend that clients take a high-quality probiotic supplement and consume food rich in probiotics. These include unpasteurized fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, lassi (Indian yoghurt), kefir (fermented milk), natto (fermented soy), and picked cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, eggplants, onions, squash and turnips.
Probiotics help you absorb minerals, eliminate toxins, and produce vitamins, particularly vitamin K and B vitamins. They help you avoid allergies by teaching your immune system to differentiate between pathogens and non-harmful antigens. Probiotics support digestion and assimilation of some carbohydrates, and their conversion into primary sources of energy and nutrients. They also kill dangerous microbes and control the bad bacteria in your intestinal lining. Eighty percent of your immune system exists in your gut, as do many of the neurotransmitters that support brain activity, so a healthy gut is paramount to optimal physical and mental functioning.
There is a breakthrough study that indicates consuming a probiotic-rich beverage can have a positive influence on the activity of hundreds of genes. Researchers hope this study will lay the groundwork for customizing probiotic supplementation to each individual’s unique genetic profile and gut flora composition to support personal health.
Epigenic therapy is an emerging scientific field based on research that shows genes are not immutable, but instead are constantly adapting in response to diet, stress and other factors. Epigenics advocates for treating disease through manipulation of genes. An example would be eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, garlic and onions, to activate tumor suppressor genes to fight cancer.
Many scientists believe epigenetics is the future of medicine. In the meantime, however, you can support your own health through a healthy lifestyle, good foods and probiotic supplements.