Did you know that gut bacteria is essential for a healthy immune system? They play a crucial role in keeping us healthy with studies showing a link between maintaining a healthy balance of gut bacteria and susceptibility to illness and disease.
When we talk about ‘gut health’, we’re referring to the functioning of our entire digestive tract and did you realise that your 9 metre long digestive tract also houses 70% of your immune cells? Because your immune system and digestive system are so interconnected, problems in your gut could also make you more susceptible to feeling run down or to picking up other illnesses. The gut has to deal with the pathogens in everything you consume and therefore needs to have an effective immune system in place to ward off attacks and prevent illness. A healthy digestive system is essential to support a normal immune system function and it needs certain nutrients to work effectively and to defend your body against pathogens.
Signs of an unhealthy gut
These can include stomach disturbances like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, and heartburn. A diet high in sugar can cause increased sugar cravings leading to a decrease in the amount of good bacteria in your gut. Look out for unintentional weight changes – either gaining or losing weight without making changes to your diet or exercise habits may be a sign of an unhealthy gut. The majority of the body’s serotonin, a hormone that affects mood and sleep, is produced in the gut, so be aware of sleep disturbances or insomnia. Skin irritations and conditions like eczema may be related to a damaged gut and it’s thought that food intolerances may be caused by poor quality of bacteria in the gut as are some autoimmune conditions
What can you do to improve your gut health?
Your lifestyle habits may have an impact on your gut health, so make sure you get enough sleep and regular exercise. Look after your mental health and try and reduce the stress in your life. Food is one of the biggest factors in improving your gut health so try and avoid processed and fried foods and maintain control over your consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
Adding ‘friendly’ bacteria’ found in prebiotics and probiotics to your diet is one way of maintaining a healthy balance of gut bacteria. These microorganisms are found in foods such as yogurt and kefir and can also be found in supplements.
Holland & Barrett have formulated a range of brand-new gut supplements to make sure your gut gets fed with everything it needs to keep you healthy.
Try their Gut Powered NIGHT capsules containing over 10 billion live friendly bacteria with added chamomile flower powder, vitamin B6 and magnesium to help you feel less tired and fatigued throughout the day.
Holland & Barrett Gut Powered Focus Capsules contains 10+ billion live friendly bacteria, along with B vitamins, iron, resveratrol and cocoa extract that helps you stay focused throughout the day and supplies your gut with the bacteria it needs to function at its best.
Holland & Barrett Gut Powered Immune Support Capsules contain Vitamin C which is a key player in your immune system and is essential to keep it running day-to-day, Vitamin D – also essential for your immune system but which is impossible for your body to make if it doesn’t get enough sunshine, Elderberry extract which is packed full of antioxidants, and not forgetting Beta glucans which are sugars that are found in the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, algae, lichens, and plants, such as oats and barley.
Only for the over 18 year olds, Holland & Barrett Gut Powered Energy Capsules contains vitamins, minerals and natural extracts that support your body’s energy yielding metabolism. It contains Vitamin B complex to keep you feeling energised by helping to reduce tiredness and fatigue, Vitamin D, Coenzyme Q-10 which helps generate energy at cell level in your body, Guarana seed which is an excellent natural source of caffeine to keep you feeling alert and awake, as well as Zinc and Calcium.
Acidophilus capsules and chewable tablets can also help support digestive health and are good for using after antibiotics, travelling abroad or helping to maintain the balance of good bacteria in your gut. Holland &Barrett have a selection of chewable tablets but if you want to ensure that your children have an adequate level of nutrients each day, opt for the Pro-Ven Acidophilus & Bifidus with Multivitamins 30 Chewable Tablets for Children. Specially formulated for children aged 4-16 years, these delicious blackcurrant-flavoured chewable tablets contain 2.5 billion Lab4 friendly bacteria along with key vitamins and minerals.
Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking any medications or are under medical supervision, please consult a doctor or healthcare professional and always read the label before use.