Get the best of both worlds for your gut by taking a daily pre and probiotic. Dr Megan Rossi, an expert on gut health, explains the difference between the two.
There’s a constant war waging in your gut between trillions of friendly and unfriendly bacteria. When the good are on top you’ll feel energised, focused and strong enough to fight off any infection. But when the bad are in control you’ll feel lethargic, vulnerable to illness and find weight harder to shift.
Dividing prebiotics and probiotics help support good gut health, but united they reinforce it to help you function at your very best. Think: probiotics replenish, prebiotics nourish.
The BODYISM Ultra Probiotic will strengthen your gut with millions of friendly bacteria so you feel energised, focused and impervious to illness, whilst the Ultimate Clean prebiotic will keep your bacteria well fuelled so they can keep doing their job no matter what life throws at you.
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Dr Rossi’s 7 tips to improve your gut health:
1. If you don’t eat frequent amounts of fruit and veg then you can take a prebiotic for the special type of fibre to feed the good bacteria.
2. If you have some form of gut infection with associated diarrhoea there’s good evidence you should be taking a probiotic. That also rings true if you suffer from traveller’s diarrhoea when you get an upset stomach on holiday. There’s a small amount of evidence that if you have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) a probiotic might help but it won’t cure you, just relieve some of your symptoms. It’s important to remember these probiotics only contain 10 different strains of bacteria but there’s thousands and thousands of different strains that can live in your gut. Every probiotic is different. It’s like comparing an elephant with a mouse – they’re both mammals but are completely different in every other way.
3. High doses of prebiotics can lead to bloating because you’re overdoing it and the bacteria will release gas in your bowel that can lead to discomfort. That’s only if you’re having really large doses. The fix: gradually increase your dose building from 3g to 6g to 12g over a month to give your body time to adapt.
4. Mechanistically it makes sense to take a pro and prebiotic because they both work together. Probiotics are a living thing and you want to feed them so they survive. Having them together is definitely a good idea.
5. Gut health symptoms can be linked to mental health, kidney health, etc. Taking a probiotic won’t necessarily cure your depression. Having a wide varied diet where you get heaps of different prebiotics and having fermented foods in your diet like yogurt can only benefit you in giving you good bacteria.
6. Everyone needs to be treated individually. For example, if someone suffers from IBS, which affects 10% of the population, we know going on a particular diet is the best thing to do rather than take a probiotic but it’s up to everyone’s individual situation and where they are with their diet.
7. With gut bacteria we’re only just stating to uncover how complex it is. There’s not necessarily a right balance. The evidence isn’t really there yet. But the bottom line is remember to get your diet 100% and anything else is a bonus for support.
Dr Megan Rossi, a registered dietitian with a PhD in gut health from The University of Queensland. Research associate at King’s College London and recently opened a specialist gut health clinic on Harley Street. You can follow her @theguthealthdoctor on Instagram.