Probiotic benefits extend far beyond just digestive support. In fact, there are many ways probiotics help to maintain good health including better immunity, higher energy levels, weight loss, and even clearer skin. As scientists continue to research how probiotic bacteria work to promote overall health, more people are wondering, “Am I probiotic deficient?”
Here are five of the most common symptoms of probiotics deficiency:
1. Poor Digestion/Irregularity
Because most of the microbacteria found in your body live inside the gastrointestinal tract, if you are lacking the proper amount of probiotic flora, you will notice it in your digestive system first. One of the biggest red flags for probiotic deficiency is sluggish digestion and irregularity. Without enough probiotic bacteria in your gut, the gastrointestinal system does not absorb as many nutrients, leaving the body without what it needs for proper digestion.
2. Stomach Upset
If you are regular, but still feel that your gut is not functioning properly because of gas, diarrhea, or inflamed bowels, it could be a sign of probiotic deficiency. Always aim to cut out hard-to-digest foods like convenience items, processed meats, dairy, gluten, and soy. If that does not improve the digestive upset, it is a sign that you need more probiotics.
3. Brain Fog
Scientists are intensively researching the impact of the gut microbiome on brain function. As it turns out, with trillions of living bacteria inside the digestive system, things can get really out of hand if an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria takes over. Studies show the impact of a probiotic-deficient gut microbiome can significantly impact the way your brain works – so much so that scientists have called it the “gut-brain connection.” A probiotic deficiency could cause brain fog, increased cravings for sugary foods, and even depression or mood swings.
4. Poor Skin Health
A clear indication that you may have a probiotic deficiency is unhealthy looking skin. Because your skin is the largest detoxification organ of the body, it is responsible for finishing the elimination process and removing any lingering waste from your GI tract via the pores. The best way to combat skin problems, including acne, eczema, rashes, hives, and psoriasis, is to re-balance your gut bacteria by using probiotics in your diet and/or via supplements.
5. More Cold & Flu Infections
Studies have shown that approximately 80 percent of your body’s immune cells live inside the gastrointestinal system. This means the body fights off the majority of pathogenic bacteria that cause common infections like colds and influenza inside the gut. If you are probiotic deficient, you may notice a lowered immunity and resistance towards common infections, including that of the cold and flu.1
Other signs of probiotic deficiency include diarrhea caused by infections or antibiotic use, irritable bowels, inflammatory bowels, dry skin, dermatitis, tooth decay, and colic.2
With an estimated 100 trillion + microbacteria living inside your body, it is important to keep the number of “good” bugs high and the number of “bad” bugs low, in order to stave off infections and potentially seriously health risks. Aim to eat these probiotic foods every day to promote gut health and vitality: kefir, yogurt, and fermented vegetables, including cabbage, pickles (sauerkraut), kimchi, tempeh, and kombucha tea.
Add these delicious and nutritious probiotic rich foods to your menu today to enjoy the numerous benefits of good gut health.
For more helpful health tips check out these articles:
1.Furness JB, Kunze WA. Nutrient tasting and signaling mechanisms in the gut. II. The intestine as a sensory organ: neural, endocrine, and immune responses. Am J Physiol. 1999 Nov;277(5 Pt 1):G922-8.
2 Probiotics: In Depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.