Probiotics are living microorganisms that, when ingested, provide numerous health benefits. These microorganisms are a mostly certain strain of bacteria and yeast that benefit our health on a large scale. They primarily live in your gut, i.e., digestive tract and play an important role in our overall health by fighting pathogens.
· From where can we get them?
We can mostly get them from supplements and through fermented foods. There are various kinds of probiotics bacteria. But the most common and beneficial groups are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Each group comprises of different species, and each species has many strains that are helpful for various gut disorders.
· Why are Probiotics important?
Our digestive tract contains as many as 1,000, types of microorganisms according to some estimations. Most of these gut flora is found in our large intestine, which is the last part of your digestive tract. These gut florae carry out many functions that are important for our health. Like, it manufactures vitamins, including vitamin K and some of the B vitamins. It converts fibre present in the food into short-chain fats like butyrate, propionate and acetate, which feed your gut wall and perform many metabolic functions
· How are Probiotics beneficial for us?
Benefits to our gut: When on antibiotics course for any treatment, they do kill many of the natural bacteria also in your gut, affecting our gut balance that may also thrive growth of allows harmful bacteria. Probiotics combat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), reduces gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and other symptoms. Some studies also suggest benefits against inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Effect on weight loss: Scientists believe that our gut bacteria help in determining body weight. According to one study conducted on 210 people characterized by excess belly fat, taking the probiotic Lactobacillus strains daily resulted in an 8.5% loss of belly fat over 12 weeks.
· Other Benefits
- Blood cholesterol: Several probiotics have been shown to reduce total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels
- Immune function: Many researchers have proved that certain strains may enhance immune function, possibly leading to a reduced risk of infections, including for the common cold.
- Skin health: Some evidence suggests that probiotics can be useful for acne, rosacea and eczema, as well as other skin disorders.
Checkout our probiotics section at our health store NutraC to address your gut issues.
2. FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTS
Fish oil supplements are made from the fat or oil that's extracted from fish tissue. It is usually extracted from oily fish, such as herring, tuna, anchovies, and mackerel. Sometimes it is also produced from the livers of other fish, like in the case with cod liver oil.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends eating 1–2 portions of fish per week to get the recommended dosage of omega-3 fatty acids that would help in preventing many diseases. In India, these recommendations mostly fail due to our ethnic cultural practices and food habits. In such circumstances, fish oil supplements are the best bet to get our dose of omega-3 fatty acids.
If you are wondering, why not consider plant sources to omega 3? Then, it’s important to note that omega-3s found in fish oil has greater health benefits than the omega-3s found in some plant sources
The main omega-3s in fish oil are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), while the omega-3 in plant sources is mainly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Although ALA is an essential fatty acid, EPA and DHA have many more health benefits
· Benefits Heart Health
Multiple risk factors for heart disease appear due to reduced by consumption of omega-3 fatty acid. The benefits of fish oil supplements for heart health include:
- Reduced Cholesterol levels: It increases levels of good cholesterol HDL which in turn helps to reduce bad cholesterol LDL.
- Triglycerides: It can lower triglyceride levels by about 15–30%
- Blood pressure: Even when taken in small doses, it shows a reduction in high blood pressure.
- Plaque: It may prevent the plaques that harden and block arteries to harden.
Although fish oil supplements are beneficial for normal heart functioning, there is no clear evidence that it can prevent heart attacks or strokes.
· They help in treating certain mental disorders
Our brain is made up of nearly 60% fat, and most of the fat is omega-3 fatty acids. Hence, omega-3s are essential for normal brain function
Research suggests that fish oil supplements can prevent the onset or improve the symptoms of some mental disorders including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
· Supports Eye Health
Like our brain, our eyes also rely on omega-3 fats. Evidence shows that people who don't get recommended dosage of omega-3s have a greater risk of eye diseases As eye health begins to decline in old age, it can lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Taking fish oil supplements are linked to a reduced risk of AMD
· Supports bone health
Fish oil supplements have strong anti-inflammatory effects and can significantly reduce joint pain, stiffness, and medication needs in people with rheumatoid arthritis, which causes painful and stiff joints caused by inflammation.
· For a Healthy Skin
Skin is the largest organ in your body, and it constitutes a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. Replenishing skin with fish oil supplements can treat several skin disorders that may benefit from fish oil supplements, including psoriasis and dermatitis Fish oil supplements help maintain healthy clear skin as it also contains Vitamin A in abundance.
· Helps reduce liver fat
The liver processes most of the fat in our body and can play a role in weight gain. Liver disease is increasingly common — particularly non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), in which fat accumulates in your liver. Fish oil supplements can improve liver function, and may help reduce symptoms of NAFLD and the amount of fat in the liver
· Helps reduce symptoms of depression
Interestingly, people with major depression appear to have lower levels of omega-3s. Various studies have shown that fish oil rich in EPA have shown reduced depressive symptoms more than DHA and omega-3 supplements
· Treats behavioural disorders in children
Many behavioural disorders in children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), involve hyperactivity and lack of attention. Given that omega-3s make up a significant proportion of the brain, getting enough of them is important for preventing behavioural disorders in early life. Fish oil supplements also benefit early life learning and may reduce perceived hyperactivity, inattention, impulsiveness, and aggression in children.
EPA and DHA dosage recommendations may vary depending on your age and health condition. WHO recommends a daily intake of 0.2–0.5 grams (200–500 mg) of combined EPA and DHA. However, the dosage would vary in women, who are pregnant and nursing.
Omega-3 fatty acids are prone to oxidation and they can go rancid faster. To avoid this, you can choose a supplement containing antioxidant, such as vitamin E. Keep your supplements away from direct light, ideally in the refrigerator. Do not use a fish oil supplement that has a rancid smell or is out of date.
3. THE MULTI-VITAMINS
Multi-vitamins, a composition of various vitamins that our body needs Vitamin is an organic compound and a vital nutrient that we require in limited amounts. They must be supplied by the diet or through dietary supplements. Vitamins are essential to the normal functioning of our bodies and are necessary for growth, vitality, health and general well being. It is also required for the prevention and cure for many health problems and diseases.
There are 13 vitamins that our body needs. They are vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins- thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate. They are mainly classified as water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins. So we have 4 fat-soluble (A, D, E and K) and 9 water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C).
How would these vitamins support us apart from supporting the normal functioning of the body?
· Control Appetite, hence more Weight Loss
Taking multivitamin supplements to enhance the functioning of hormones and enzymes that play a role in the metabolism of fat. This, in turn, curbs appetite and supports weight loss while on a diet and exercise program. Researchers noted that subtle shortfalls of various nutrients may interfere with hormones and trigger hunger pangs after meals which can be corrected by right supplementation of multivitamins.
· Slows Down Aging
As per a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it is found that the skin of those who took multivitamins looked younger than those who did not. This is because these supplements provide enough antioxidants to right the damage caused by free radicals
· Better Memory
An analysis of many studies has found that multivitamin supplementation has improved memory and well-being. This analysis is also published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
· Reduced Risk of Cancer
A clean diet, better fitness routine with the right dosage of multivitamin supplementation has proved to reduce cancer risk. The nutrients efficiently battle free radical and oxidative stress which are the trigger points for cancer.
You can find leading brands of multivitamins at NutraC, the Probiotic Supplements Store in Hyderabad. Walk-in and pick up the right one to suit your needs.
Ashwini Sagar is a renowned diet and nutritional consultant. She has been in this field for more than a decade now. During all these years, she has developed brilliant expertise in this field and comes up with the best possible diet plans. She possesses the ability to communicate complex and sensitive information about dietary matters in an understandable form to individuals. She has a proven track record of successfully promoting healthy eating habits and suggesting diet modifications.
Ashwini is available of nutrition consultations at NutraC on prior appointments.