We’ve seen yogurt brands, fermented milk drinks, and other probiotics supplement products claiming to give you much needed energy to stay active and productive throughout the day. But how true is this claim? Can probiotics really give you a boost of energy?
Some people experience a spurt in energy after taking probiotics from foods or supplements. The so-called “energy-giving” probiotics have raised questions left and right. Experts explain that good bacteria are not capable of supplying nutritional energy to the body. However, they can have an impact in boosting our energy.
Probiotics may be associated with boosting one’s mood.
Fatigue and weariness are common these days due to the stresses brought about by this modern lifestyle. Most people seem to feel exhausted and drained and out of energy after a tiring day of work. This can lead to bad mood and depression.
The decline in energy level can affect healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. Probiotics need the energy to carry out their functions. As we all know, probiotics are responsible for providing a protective lining to the digestive tract, crowding out harmful bacteria in the gut, assisting digestion of foods, reducing inflammation, regulating blood sugar, and supporting the functions of the immune system. But little did we know that good bacteria also affect our nervous system.
Energy cycles and mood patterns stem from the brain. Our gut is linked to the brain through the enteric nervous system. Probiotics, interact with the nervous system through the vagus nerve in the brain. This relationship between the gut and the brain explains the ability of a healthy gut in improving the mood and mental state of a person.
Probiotics are responsible for the:
- Production of brain chemicals: Good bacteria produce and regulate serotonin – a chemical that gives happy mood.
- Reduction of Cortisol: Cortisol, or stress hormones, are hormones responsible for stress and anxiety. Probiotics lower the cortisol level and regulate these hormones during stressful events.
Good bacteria weaken and die out in the case of energy depletion. At the same time, poor digestive health can lead to depressed mood and decrease in energy. This proves true to people suffering from irritable bowel movement or Crohn’s disease. Diarrhea, for example, can drain you of energy. By taking probiotics, we are adding more friendly bacteria in our gut to keep the positive digestive activity going. Active probiotics significantly improve digestion which in turn makes you feel more energetic. Remember, a healthy gut can improve your mood, and a good mood equals a boost in energy.
Probiotics are naturally found in the large and small intestines. Most digestive problems are caused by weak or insufficient level of probiotics that allow harmful bacteria to invade the digestive tract. We can replace the lost good bacteria by taking in supplements in pill form, yogurt, or fermented milk drinks. Most probiotics supplement come in two strains: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Lactobacilli are those probiotics found in the small intestine. Bifidobacteria are those living in the large intestine.
Energy from food
Another practical explanation of how probiotics can help give you energy is based on the fact that energy comes mainly from the foods we eat. Probiotics facilitate and improve digestion of foods. If foods are not properly digested, our body fails to obtain the essential nutrients from the foods leading to malabsorption. It is therefore crucial to maintain healthy digestion to ensure a consistent supply of energy. Certain probiotic strains are responsible in producing vitamins B and K which are needed by our cells to produce more energy.
Energy from good sleep
With hectic lifestyles, people usually end the day low on energy. And one of the most effective ways to recharge one’s energy is to hit the sack. Everyone needs rest and sleep to refill energy levels. Probiotics help improve the quality of sleep by producing calming hormones to induce better sleep. They also reduce the level of stress-causing hormones that may trigger disturbances during sleep.
Probiotics and blood sugar
Blood sugar levels may have an impact on our energy levels. Probiotics can moderate blood sugar to maintain a consistent energy supply.
Living a healthy life with probiotics
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is now more difficult because we are more exposed to stress, antibiotics from medicines, and harmful toxins from processed foods. Not to mention overtime work and exhaustion. All of these things can take a toll on our overall wellbeing.
Probiotics, together with proper diet and enough rest, can provide you with enough energy to survive the day in this competitive world. Consider these following tips:
- Take a daily probiotic. Probiotics can be obtained from foods and supplements. Choose foods rich in good bacteria such as yogurt, fermented milk drinks, fermented vegetables, pickles, tempeh, and fermented tea.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Complement your gut’s good bacteria by taking in organic foods free from pesticides, artificial sweeteners and preservatives that can kill a huge amount of probiotics in your gut. Also choose foods rich in fiber such as artichokes, broccoli, raspberries, blackberries, pears, avocados, oatmeal, coconut, turnips, beans, and legumes.
- Sleep and relax. Learn to listen to your body and take a break when you feel the need. Never let your energy level reach unhealthy lows. It may sound cliché, but there’s a reason why experts advise us to take at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Yoga and meditation can also help you relax and calm your senses.
We need energy to keep us going. Probiotics can play a vital role in boosting our energy as they work concurrently with our nervous system in producing hormones that are essential for a good mood. But remember, probiotics alone are not enough to provide the necessary energy we need to survive. Probiotics are a great treatment for some gastrointestinal problems but are not in any way be used as an energy source. As explained earlier, probiotics do not provide energy; they only aid the nervous system in the production of “happy chemicals” and the digestive system in the absorption of nutrients that are converted into energy. You need to pair probiotics with the right food and healthy lifestyle to ensure a vibrant way of life.