How taking probiotics could improve your gut health

Probiotics have been linked to a wide range of health benefits, especially gut health. Healthista’s Nutritional Director Rick Hay explains what they are and their effects on the body, in our Trendy Nutrients A – Z series

‘Probiotics are live microorganisms that contain ‘good bacteria’’ says Healthista’s nutritional director Rick Hay. ‘They can be consumed through fermented foods or supplements.’

‘Probiotics can help your digestive system by restoring the natural balance of bacteria in your gut. An imbalance is usually caused when there’s too much bad bacteria (like candida), compared to the amount of good bacteria.

Probiotics can help your digestive system by restoring the natural balance of bacteria in your gut

‘Typical symptoms of excess bad bacteria in the gut include excess bloating, flatulence, general discomfort and heart burn.

‘Like vegetable digestive enzymes, probiotics also aid in the absorption of food. By increasing the number of good bacteria, which helps in digestion, probiotics allow you to absorb nutrients more efficiently.

‘In addition, probiotics help with regularity but are also known for their ability to prevent diarrhea. Antibiotics can have a negative impact on the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. Taking probiotics can reduce diarrhea that is associated with antibiotics.

‘Probiotics have been found to improve mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety and cognitive function.

A study found that, in both animal and human studies, taking probiotic supplements helped with some mental health disorders.

Another study, which was taken over 6 weeks focusing on 70 chemical workers, found that that those who were taking a daily probiotic capsule or 100 grams of probiotic yoghurt every day, reported to have experienced benefits to their general health, depression and anxiety.

‘There are numerous ways probiotics can help with weight management or weight loss. Some probiotics stop dietary fat from being absorbed in the intestine; this means that fat won’t be stored in the body.

‘They can help you feel fuller for longer and burn more calories. This may be due to the fact that probiotics increase the levels of hormones such as GLP-1, which boosts metabolism.

Looking for a protein Powder that contains probiotics? Try a scoop of the Healthista ‘Lean Whey Diet’ protein powder or our ‘Lean Vegan Diet’ protein powder  in water or your choice of milk after exercise.

Probiotics can come in capsule or tablet form (such as Protexin Candea from Biokult £15.40 from Healthista Shop), which can be consumed with a simple cup of water. You can also get powdered probiotics (try Biocare’s Powdered Acidophilus £24.35 from Healthista shop), which you can add to your smoothie or juice.

Additionally, probiotics can be found in fermented foods, such as yoghurt, kimchi and sauerkraut (Healthista loves Laurie’s Foods for amazing tasting, fresh, whole probiotic foods).


Rick Hay is an Anti-Ageing and Fitness Nutritionist with many years clinical experience in nutrition, naturopathy, botanical medicine and iridology. He specializes in obesity treatment and weight management. He writes a regular Natural Health and Fitness Blog for Healthista. Find out more at Follow Rick on Twitter @rickhayuk


rick hay anti ageing fitness plan

Rick Hays book the Anti Ageing Food and Fitness Plan is available to buy on Amazon. 

More from Rick Hay:

Anti Ageing Fitness Plan: Week 6

5 foods to keep your body young

10 rules of weight loss

5 foods to eat when you’re frantic

10 pre-exercise snacks that WON’T ruin your diet

FOOD is seven a day the new five a day?

HOW TO Choose a protein powder

What to eat if you exercise

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