All, Anti Aging, Gut Health, Health and Wellbeing, Probiotics

The TRUTH about bacteria… that no one has told you.

The truth about bacteria blog
The truth about bacteria blog

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I’m sure you’ve heard about the importance of probiotics and having a healthy gut. You know, all the good bacteria and stuff. But, have you heard about the good bacteria (our microbiome) that lives in our mouth, skin and even our urinary tract? More and more research is emerging which highlights how important these bugs are to our overall health. 

What is this “microbiome” that you keep talking about?

Microbiome is just a fancy word for the collection of microorganisms living in certain parts of our body. There’s a very fine balance that exists between these microorganisms, consisting of bacteria, fungi and viruses, within these environments. This means that if this balance is disturbed health issues can arise. Some examples are;

  • antibiotics
  • high levels of stress
  • processed and sugary foods and drinks
  • smoking and excess alcohol
  • poor sleep
  • and even hormonal fluctuations

Interestingly, many of the common issues we experience day-to-day could be due to an imbalance in these gut buddies around the body. These conditions can include; bad breath, cardiovascular disease, urinary tract infections and even eczema and acne!

So, let’s take a look at the three main microbiome areas around the body.

And easy tricks to keep them healthy and balanced.

The Oral Microbiota

Do you experience bad breath, bleeding gums or frequent tooth decay?

Well, this may be caused by an overgrowth of disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. This can be as a result of our poor diet and lifestyle choices. Imbalances in our oral microbiota can create inflammation and infections. This can have downstream effects in other parts of our body especially in your heart. Many cardiologists are working with dentists before performing heart surgeries on their patients. There is now growing evidence showing an increased risk for blocked arteries in people with serious gum infections!

Here’s the facts:

  • The bacterial infection of the gums called Periodontitis is strongly linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
  • People who took L Reuteri probiotics had an immediate drop of infectious bacteria in plaque and saliva AND reduced the need for periodontal surgery by helping to treat periodontitis by 50% and caused a 50% reduction of oral thrush in the elderly.
  • The probiotic L. reuteri has been shown to improve sleep quality and overall health.
  • L. paracasei in a chewable form can prevent dental caries in those who have a high risk of dental caries.

Probiotics for the mouth: 

Certain probiotic strains have been shown to compete with pathogenic bacteria to help balance our oral microbiota and maintain healthy teeth and gums. They do this by neutralising acids created by bad bacteria which keeps the mouth’s pH in the correct range. Check out our Blooms probiotic toothpastes, mouth washes and mints to prevent cavities and keep our bacteria in check.

The Skin Microbiota

Just like the oral microbiota, the skin is home to trillions of bugs.

However, you’ll find that our skin’s larger surface area leads to more variations in bacterial diversity. For instance, there is richer diversity in dryer areas like our forearms compared to more oily surfaces like our face.

When the microorganisms on our skin are balanced and happy, our skin usually is too.

Toxic skincare products, pollutants in the environment and a diet high in processed foods and sugary drinks can all disrupt our skin’s microbiota. This can increase inflammation and confuse our immune system, leading to common skin ailments such as eczema, acne, dandruff, dermatitis and psoriasis. 

Probiotic skincare:

Exciting new skincare products are have now been released with beneficial bacteria to balance out the skins microbiome. Antipodes Culture Probiotic Night Cream is an all-natural cream containing Kalibiome AGE Probiotics which have been shown to strengthen the skin barrier, increase skin elasticity and reduce redness.

The Urinary Microbiota

I’m sure we’ve all experienced a urinary tract infection (UTI), or know someone who has. We know that UTIs are caused by bacteria, but did you know that having the right balance of bacteria down there can not only treat UTI’s but also be protective against these infections?

Researchers have even shown strong correlations between imbalances in the urinary microbiota and increased risk of diseases such as cystitis, pelvic pain syndrome and overactive bladders!

Probiotics & Cranberry for UTIs: 

Cranberry contains a compound called proanthocyanidins which prevent bad bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract, and therefore reducing risk of UTI infections. Try our NutriVital Bio-fermented Cranberry Liquid which contains probiotics and a therapeutic dose of cranberry to help keep UTIs at bay.  

The Gut-Brain Connection

Finally you’ve got the most well-known microbiota of all – our gut microbiota! We know how important our gut bugs are in helping us digest and absorb food. However, did you know that the microbes living in our gut can actually influence our feelings and behaviours?

How cool is that!

The bacteria communicate by creating neurotransmitters and other compounds that can make their way to the brain and influence the way we feel. Research has discovered that people with imbalances in their gut microbiota have higher risks of developing many mental health problems.

So, although each microbiota has its own unique set of microbes each area speaks to each other. Therefore, imbalances in the gut microbiota may also lead to disturbances in the skin, oral or even urinary microbiota, and vice versa.

Ultimately, this means that we want to keep all of the microbiomes healthy and happy, and address imbalances when symptoms arise.

Brain/Gut Probiotics:

Certain bacterial strains have been shown to increase our “feel good” and “calming” neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA. Medlab’s NRGBiotic is a great formulation containing a patented blend of 3 unique probiotic strains. They’ve been clinically trialed to show significant improvements in mood with depression scores decreasing from 30.9 to 15.9 in a matter of just 8 weeks!

So what can we do to help keep ALL of our microbiotas healthy?

Here are my top lifestyle tips for keeping our bugs nice, balanced and happy:

  1. Limit sugars and refined flours: Pathogenic microbes in our mouth, skin, urinary tract and gut all love sugar and refined carbohydrates (eg. rice, pasta, bread). Swapping refined carbs for slow-digesting wholegrains or root vegetables will help to prevent the overgrowth of bacteria. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, opt for fruit or try drinking some naturally sweet liquorice tea!
  2. Eat more plant-based foods: Plant based foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, tofu and nuts. These are all rich in fibre and plant compounds to help feed our good bacteria and keep our pathogenic bacteria at bay.
  3. Quit smoking: When smoking a cigarette, you ingest 7000 chemicals in every puff. Research suggests smoking could harm the delicate balance in our oral and gut microorganisms; just one of many reasons to put out that cigarette!
  4. Stress less!: We’re all now understanding the detrimental effects stress can have on our microbiotas. In particular, stress seems to decrease our colon’s motility which can alter our gut bacteria and cause lower levels of our beneficial Lactobacillus species. Try to set aside at least 30 minutes every day for yourself to do activities which will help manage stress whether that’s taking an Epsom salt bath, playing with your pets, reading a book or going for a walk.

With so many simple ways to keep our microbiotas in balance, it’s time to take action. Considering the many important things our bacteria do for us, it’s time we showed our valued microbial friends a little love in return. Come in store or book a consultation with our practitioners for expert support to help you reach your health goals.

Written by APD Grace Kim

References

Carabotti, M. A., Scirocco, A. A., Maselli, M. A., & Severi, C. A. (2015, April). The gut-brain axis: Interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems. Retrieved April 23, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4367209/

CG, M. G. (2018, July 2). The Urinary Tract Microbiome: The Answer to All Our Open Questions? Retrieved April 23, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30042043/

Foster, J. A., Rinaman, L., & Cryan, J. F. (2017, March 19). Stress & the gut-brain axis: Regulation by the microbiome. Retrieved April 23, 2021, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352289516300509

Grice, E. A., & Segre, J. A. (2011, April). The skin microbiome. Retrieved April 23, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535073/

L, A. N. (2016). The Oral Microbiota. Retrieved April 23, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27161350/

Lu, M., Xuan, S., & Wang, Z. (2019, January 03). Oral microbiota: A new view of body health. Retrieved April 23, 2021, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213453018301642

Teanpaisan, R., Piwat, S., Tianviwat, S., Sophatha, B., & Kampoo, T. (2015). Effect of long-term consumption of Lactobacillus paracasei SD1 on reducing mutans streptococci and caries risk: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Dentistry journal3(2), 43-54. Retrieved April 23, 2021, from https://www.mdpi.com/2304-6767/3/2/43

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