Inner Health Plus is a probiotic focused on the improvement of gut health. What is particularly interesting though is the possibilities it has for improving mental health. Before we go too far down that line of thought though it is important to establish just exactly what a probiotic is and does.
The gut, which makes up your whole gastrointestinal tract, from mouth to anus, is lined with bacteria. This bacteria is microscopic organisms, which when combined create a micro-ecosystem known as your microbiome. Despite not typically being conscious of this ecosystem it plays an enormous role in your overall health and as mentioned above, its health has the potential to affect your mood and behaviour. The simple equation is that the healthier your microbiome, the healthier you will be. A healthy microbiome is a balanced one and the best way to achieve this balance is to sew into the species of bacteria in your gut via probiotics and prebiotics. Prebiotics help to kickstart the growth of good bacteria in your gut and can be accessed via foods high in complex carbohydrates. Think predominantly of fruits and vegetables. These can also be accessed via supplements.
The focus of this article though is probiotics potential to foster good physical and mental health. Probiotics differ to prebiotics in that they directly add to the population of good microbes in your gut, rather than simply fostering growth. In this way you can target specific strains of bacteria that you would like to provide a boost to. Just like prebiotics, you can access probiotics via food. The probiotic food you are probably most familiar with is yogurt but any fermented food contains probiotics, such as; sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi, with all of these becoming increasingly common ingredients in mainstream diets all over the world in the last decade. In the case of Inner Health Plus, the targeted bacteria utilised include Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis. These two ingredients have been shown to reduce gut inflammation and even assist in fighting rectal cancer and improving vaginal health.
As a result Inner Health Plus can claim the following health benefits:
- Supports and maintains regular gastrointestinal systems and digestive functions.
- Assists in enhancing the levels of good bacteria; specifically lactobacillus and bifidobacteria throughout the digestive system.
- Relieves gastrointestinal pain and discomfort by minimising inflammation.
- Supports an overall healthier immune system in both adults and children.
- Can boost general wellbeing.
Lifestyle factors, ranging from diet to stress, can have a big impact upon the prevalence of probiotics in your system. Another key enemy of probiotics is antibiotics, which when taken in an attempt to treat bacterial infections, probiotics become collateral damage in the fight against bad bacteria. Diarrhoea, constipation or vaginal thrush are common side effects of antibiotics as they are non-selective in nuking the bacteria in our guts. This is where a supplement like Inner Health Plus can really be of assistance in rebuilding the strength of your microbiome.
So, how does a healthy microbiome positively impact mental health? Research shows that the gut and the brain are connected via a relationship known as the gut-brain axis. The nervous system present in your digestive tract sends biochemical signals between the gut and the brain as they are both linked through the central nervous system. The specific digestive tract nervous system, known as the enteric nervous system, has a primary nerve, known as the vagus nerve, which is the longest nerve in the body, which passes information back and forth. This back and forth communication between the gut and the brain is opening up new ways to think about diseases. Seeing as how microorganisms in the gut regulate the body’s immune response, medical researchers looking into ‘neuro’ related disorders, such as; depression, Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, autism amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis and anxiety, just to name a few, are looking at what is going on in people’s guts. Similarly, those researching gut related conditions now have a reason to delve deeper into the aspects of brain function to treat gastrointestinal issues.
A classic example that illustrates the relationship between the brain and the guts is when you’re placed into a situation outside your comfort zone and the nervousness you are experiencing can kickstart that sensation of ‘butterflies in your stomach’. We are all pretty familiar with this concept but it can be easy to forget that this communication between the brain and the gut is not one way. Imbalances in our gut health can trigger experiences of anxiety and stress.
The gut often gets labeled the ‘second brain’ for its ability to produce many of the same neurotransmitters as its northern equivalent, such as serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid. It is estimated that up to 90% of serotonin is made in the digestive tract and with serotonin influencing everything from attention, behaviour, digestion, blood flow and breathing, it starts to become pretty easy to see what a crucial role gut health can play in supporting good mental health.
Some research has found that probiotics may help boost mood, cognitive function and lower stress and anxiety. Specific studies found that probiotics had positive impacts on Alzheimer patients' results in cognitive tests and also had the potential to increase a person’s sense of calm when exposed to stress.
When partnered with good lifestyle decisions, probiotics, such as Inner Health Plus have the potential to positively impact both the mind and body. To make the most of your Inner Health Plus, consider partnering it with the following:
- Cut out alcohol and cigarettes.
- Avoid antibiotic use wherever possible.
- Support your supplements by also eating foods rich in probiotics.
- Aim to minimise stress through avoiding stressful situations.
- Prioritise sleep as this promotes healthy hormones and better eating habits.
- Steer clear of foods that your body appears to be intolerant to and take a test if you are uncertain.
- Cut out processed foods as much as possible and eat fresh ingredients.
- Be conscious of any allergies.
- Drink a minimum of two litres of water per day to support healthy organ function.
Your gut and brain will thank you.