From vitamin supplements to protein powders and collagen coffee shots, simple health and beauty solutions that can be added into our everyday routines are increasing in popularity.
It makes sense. These products promise potentially encouraging results and are easy to build into everyday life.
Sprinkling protein into porridge, popping a vitamin pill or pouring superfood additives into a latte – they all may be easier than a workout and can give your halo a little extra shine on those days when your dinner is less than angelic.
With so many daily dietary add-ins already in your routine, do you really need yet another? And is it safe and beneficial to take a live culture every single day?
Why choose beneficial bacteria?
You have probably heard plenty about friendly bacteria over the years.
Residing in your gut, the balance of some of these of bacteria is considered to be beneficial for our health. This bacteria form part of our microbiome, the living microscopic organisms that help our bodies to work at their best.
The bacteria that live in our gut also influence many bodily systems. There is a strong link between gut health and the brain, and an imbalanced gut microbiome has been found in people living with depression and stress, although it is not clear whether this is linked to the onset of these conditions or is just a result of them.
Scientists also know that gut health is important for a good immune system.
How do live cultures work?
So how can adding in yet another supplement to your day-to-day help this all-important gut microbiome?
Products containing live cultures aim to deliver live beneficial bacteria to the gut, provided you select a scientifically researched strain.
These products should be labelled with details pertaining to the type of strain and the number of live bacteria in the product.
When consumed, these transient colonisers move through the body to the gut where they help to maintain health.
Are live bacterial safe?
Products containing certain live bacterial cultures, such as strains of lactobacilli and bifidobacterial, are considered to be generally safe for most people to take.
Additionally, those with conditions that compromise the immune system should consult their GP if they are considering taking a live culture. This is because GPs can assess the risk of sepsis against the potential benefits of taking a live culture.
Side effects are few and far between, with some people experiencing mild digestive complaints, such as gas or abdominal discomfort, when first taking a supplement.
These tend to be a sign of the gut settling into a new regime and will usually subside within a few days.
Should I take live cultures every day?
Many people choose a culture supplement as an as-and-when addition.
And while this can provide short term benefits, we think that it is a good idea to make long term friends with your gut bacteria through a regular supplement regime.
This is because your gut can be impacted by even the smallest lifestyle shift, from a slight change in diet to traveling overseas or a stressful period at home or work.
Meanwhile, diet can strongly impact the gut microbiome with sugar, processed and fatty foods causing particular issue in a short amount of time.
Is it possible to overdose on cultures?
With anywhere up to 300 trillion already in your gut, it is pretty hard to overdo it when it comes to bacterial supplements.
Stick to the dosage recommended on the packaging of your supplements and you are all set with delivery of a carefully selected bacterial strain.