Ethical vitamin company Viridian Nutrition has unveiled Probiotics as its 2023 Viridian Ingredient of the Year.
Each year, experts at Viridian Nutrition forecast a nutrient or herb which will be especially significant in the field of nutrition in the year ahead.
For 2023, probiotics or beneficial bacteria has been selected because of the considerable research in this ingredient’s ability and importance in affecting real health transformation in the body, starting in the gut.
What are probiotics?
Your gut microbiota consists of an intricate population of up to 1,000 bacterial species. Probiotics are live bacteria that have been studied to support a variety of health benefits, by supporting the balance of your gut microflora.
Probiotics are present in foods such as yoghurts, and traditionally derived from milk products. They can also be found in sauerkraut, Natto (traditional Japanese food made from soybeans that have been fermented), Tempah (Japanese food made from fermented soybeans), Other sources of probiotics include kefir, fermented yoghurts and cottage cheese. A large majority of probiotics, however, usually consist of yeast or bacteria and are widely available as nutritional supplements.
Gut health under the microscope
An independent survey shows up to half of adults in the UK experience gastrointestinal conditions, with this being highest in those aged 45-54 (1). Issues such as bloating, wind, IBS and digestive discomforat are on the rise.
In a 2020 scientific review published in the British Medical Journal, researchers concluded from a study that poor gut microbiome was associated with several chronic conditions such as coeliac disease and irritable bowel syndrome. (2)
But the scientific discoveries are not limited to digestive health alone, researchers are unlocking the enormous impact of the gut microbiome on the human body. Considerable scientific evidence supports the link between gut health and allergies, digestion, skin and immunity, sleep and mental health.
Why your gut health matters
The health of the gut can impact other areas of your overall health.
Good digestive health allows the body to break down food and nutrients to keep the body healthy. Gut flora or microbiome refers to the community of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract (GI Tract) that help to digest food. Probiotics can help offset the bacterial imbalance in the gut.
In addition to supporting digestion, a healthy microbiome is linked to overall good health.
The gut and skin are in constant dialogue via gut-skin axis. A compromised gut flora can influence your skin health in the form of breakouts of spots, psoriasis, inflammation, eczema and rosacea. Probiotics can ensure absorption of nutrients and synthesis of certain other nutrients such as B vitamins and some fatty acids to support the skin.
A healthy and diverse gut microbiome is associated with fewer allergic symptoms. Probiotics can strengthen the gut wall making it difficult for pathogens and allergens to get through.
The microbiome is closely connected to the immune system and plays a fundamental role on the training and education of the body’s immune cells, so it responds to injury or infection by producing antibodies. Probiotics can support the immune system with responding to allergens.
Supports Mental Health
Gut-brain axis – the microbiome communicates with the brain and can influence feelings, food selection and behaviour. An imbalance and inflammation in the gut is linked to anxiety and depression and other mental health. Probiotics can help boost mood and cognitive function and lower stress and anxiety.
The greater diversity of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract is associated with longer and better quality sleep. Evidence shows that the microbiome may influence the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates sleep. The key appears to lie in diversity, namely, as many different strains and species of beneficial bacteria or probiotics.
Supports Toxin Removal - The gastrointestinal tract and the liver work together to rid the body of toxins. The liver removes toxins from the blood and places them in the tract to leave the body. Probiotics will help maintain balance in the gut and support detoxification.
Probiotics – the key to restoring the body’s natural balance
Viridian has chosen probiotics for its potential to unlock some of the most perplexing and debilitating conditions such as chronic fatigue, post-viral fatigue, leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, food intolerance and more.
Viridian’s Head Nutritionist Aimée Benbow, said: "Our body's digestive system is home to trillions of bacteria and getting the right balance of good bacteria within the gut or microbiome can be useful in many areas of our health. Probiotics can stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria and there's an array scientific studies supporting the use of different strains being able to target specific health conditions.
"Despite the wealth of research, probiotics is perhaps the least understood, yet with the greatest opportunity for genuine breakthroughs.”
Microbiologist Dr Nigel Plummer PhD, confirms: “Probiotics has been a huge category. If you look at the publications for probiotics in Pub Med (a database of published health and medical sciences), there’s over 3,500 papers in one year alone. It dwarfs any other kind of nutritional category.”
Dale Pinnock BSc & PgDip (Nutr Med), author, chef, herbalist & nutritionist comments: “Probiotics is an area of leading-edge research. Previously closely associated with digestive health, we are now gathering evidence for much broader activity, so that it’s possible to target health outcomes - from immunity and cardiovascular health to skin and even mood - with specific strains. It’s incredibly exciting!”
Unlocking the gut microbiome and its massive significance on the human body
Viridian is at the forefront of nutritional education via specialist health stores and is rolling out an awareness campaign throughout 2023 on the nutritional benefits of probiotics to health. Below is an at a glance guide.
Choosing the right probiotic for your health needs is dependent on the strain of beneficial bacteria. Each bacterial strain is a unique organism that acts in a certain way in the body. Always look for those strains with clinical efficacy.
|Toddlers||Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG (LGG)||Food allergies, eczema, immune support|
|Children||Lactobacillus acidophilus (LA), Bifidobacterium||Immune Development|
|Teenagers||Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG (LGG)||Acne and Hormonal Imbalances|
|40+||Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1, with Aloe Vera||Digestive Health & Immune Support|
|Daily health||Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1 ) Multi-strain combination with Bifidobacterium||Wellbeing and immunity. Improves gastrointestinal health and aids digestion.|
|On your travels||Saccharomyces boulardii||Digestive health and Immune Support|
To find out more about how probiotic can help, and for advice on diet, supplements and lifestyle support, visit your local independent health store via: www.findahealthstore.com
- Statistica: https://www.statista.com/statistics/420260/gastrointestinal-conditions-by-gender-and-age-in-the-united-kingdom/
- Gut Microbiome and health: mechanistic insights, de Vos WM, Tilg H, Van Hul M, et al Gut2022;71:1020-1032.
The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.