Probiotics and Nutrient Absorption
Probiotics are beneficial microbes with tons of health benefits to our body. Our body, in fact, relies on all sorts of microbes to keep things working. A lot of research indicates that your gut health is a major factor in your overall health. To keep your gut healthy, you need probiotics in your daily diet.
These beneficial bacteria promote the health of the body from mouth to gut. At the same time, they can control harmful bacteria. Regular intake of probiotics can help maintain the population of good bacteria in your gut, which then supports immunity. At the right level, they aid digestion and increase nutrient absorption.
The connection between the gut flora and nutrient absorption
Your gut flora is like a fermentation system. It may not be obvious, but good bacteria don’t digest foods in the same way that our digestive system does. That is why they can metabolize foods that your body cannot digest.
To stay healthy, you need nutrients like B vitamins such as folate and biotin. Biotin and folate are important nutrients that help treat and prevent vitamin deficiency due to pregnancy, certain illnesses, and poor diet.
Now, when you eat foods containing these nutrients, the probiotics in the gut must digest them first before your body can use them. Without the beneficial bacteria, you cannot absorb these nutrients. As a result, you develop skin problems, reduced cognitive function, and reduced energy. By taking a probiotic supplement, you can help replenish the good bacteria in the gut, so they can do their job in metabolizing nutrients for your body.
Probiotics and nutrient status
Healthy foods are rich in nutrients, but all these nutrients will be useless if your gut can’t absorb them. What role might probiotics play in this process?
- Vitamin absorption
- acidophilus: L. acidophilus is good for your digestion and overall health. Aside from digestion, this probiotic aids in the breakdown of substances in the foods and binds them to minerals. It can also significantly improve folate and vitamin B12 levels in children.
- reuteri: L. reuteri can increase the levels of vitamin D in the blood by at least 25.5%. It has also been shown to produce vitamin B12.
- thermophilus: Studies have shown that this probiotic can produce folate and increases hemoglobin production.
- Iron absorption
- plantarum: In recent studies, probiotic strain L. plantarum can significantly increase the intestinal iron absorption among women.
- acidophilus: L. acidophilus also exhibited a significant reduction in the prevalence of anemia and higher production of red blood cells.
- fermentum: This probiotic species can increase the bioavailability of vital nutrients like zinc, calcium, and phosphorus.
- helveticus: It can increase the blood calcium levels in elderly and postmenopausal women.
- cerevisiae: It may also help improve the absorption of vital nutrients like phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and zinc.
Probiotics enhance nutrient absorption by making more nutrients accessible from foods. Some probiotics can directly produce nutrients like folate and vitamin B12. While others bind up with calcium and other minerals in the gut.