If you were to ask me to pick one health supplement that everyone should invest in, I would say that a good probiotic is right up there.
The colonies of bacteria in your gut are known as your 'Microbiome,' and the health of your Microbiome ie. the balance of good and bad bacteria is vital to the inner workings of every system in your body, including your nervous system.
There are nerve pathways that travel from the Microbiome in the gut, around the body and to the brain making up parts of the central nervous system and enteric nervous system amongst other nerve pathways. The enteric nervous system controls the microbiome and the way it responds to neural messages. It is what can disrupt the normal functioning of the gut when you find yourself in a state of panic or experience high levels of stress over a period of time. Likewise brain signalling can be disturbed if the Microbiome is not functioning optimally, leading to anxiety and depression, or low mood and energy.
Studies show ongoing stress can cause intestinal permeability or "leaky gut" which is a major cause for inflammation occurring in the body, leading to compromised immune function, nutrient malabsorption and a host of other chronic health issues.
So back to why probiotics are important as part of a "healthy gut lifestyle". Taking a daily probiotic can help prevent and reverse damage to the Microbiome by restoring good bacteria in the gut. They have been proven to help strengthen the walls of the gut and therefore reduce 'leaky gut" and its associated inflammatory effects. Probiotics have also shown to increase in the production of GABA and serotonin; both important chemicals produced in the brain to calm the nervous system, helping to control anxiety and depression as well as insomnia. A well functioning microbiome means a well functioning nervous system. The knock on effect is a great immune system and lots of energy to make you feel good and able to easily get through your busy day.
Right now I'm using a probiotic by Bioceuticals called Ultrabiotic 45. This is a practitioner grade probiotic and is at the higher end in terms of price, but I know it is of great quality with lots of different strains of bacteria making it a good broad spectrum probiotic for daily health support.
So if you're not already taking a probiotic i highly recommend a trip to the health food shop to grab yourself a good quality one, or ask your natural health practitioner to prescribe you one, your tummy and brain will thank you!