Can Probiotics Permanently Alter Your Gut Bacteria?

As probiotic interest continues to grow, so too does the confusion regarding the role of probiotics. This blog aims to address the misconception that probiotics permanently alter the composition of your gut bacteria and explains how probiotics can be of benefit, including tips for maintaining gut health.

A healthy gut composition is characterised by adequate numbers of beneficial bacteria and increased diversity of bacterial strains. The recent popularity of achieving ‘gut health’, through habits dedicated to improving gut composition, has likely led to the misconception that “probiotics permanently alter your gut bacteria”. The truth is quite the opposite.
Studies have shown that probiotics typically do not take up permanent residence in your gut. But this is not to say that they don’t have the potential to provide a health benefit… because they do!

Probiotics (and the substances they produce) can be of benefit on their journey through your gut by interacting with your immune cells, gut cells and food along the way. Research shows that regular use of a probiotic (i.e. regular exposure to adequate amounts of beneficial bacteria) can help to improve both immune function and digestive health. Many of us may therefore benefit from regular consumption of a probiotic to ensure continual exposure to good bacteria in our digestive system.

There’s a reason why “Every body. Every day” is Yakult’s motto!

You may be thinking: “How else can I ensure my gut is constantly exposed to beneficial bacteria?”. The adoption of healthy lifestyle factors can also help to improve and maintain a healthy gut. Eating plenty of fibre from a variety of food sources (e.g. fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and wholegrains) will ensure you are feeding a wide variety of beneficial bacteria naturally present in your digestive system. This will support the survival of beneficial bacteria in your gut, encouraging a healthy gut composition in the longer term. Adequate sleep and regular physical activity are also vital as these lifestyle factors can assist to improve gut composition.

Although the pursuit of healthy living should be of upmost priority, today’s busy lifestyles can often lead to unhealthy habits such as poor diet, stress and fatigue which can all impact our gut health. Including a probiotic, such as Yakult, to your daily routine may help to restore digestive balance by providing your gut with consistent exposure to beneficial bacteria every day.