Probiotics, have you ever heard of them? Chances are you probably have heard the name before, even if you are unsure what they actually are. Probiotics have been increasingly popular for the last decade or so in many health food shops, and have slowly crept into regular supermarkets via clever marketing from some of the major food retailers.
More importantly, are you wondering what probiotics are used for, and if you should be taking them? The truth is that these can be very complex questions to answer, and unfortunately there is no one size fits all rule. However, in this post we will be discussing how probiotics may help a very specific population- office workers/ busy professionals, by improving your health to help you get ahead at work.
Short and Sweet Probiotic Summary
Probiotics are “good” bacteria that are naturally occurring and helpful to our bodies. Many people do not realize that not all bacteria is bad, and we actually need certain bacteria to live healthy and happy lives. The trouble is that due to modern diets and lifestyles the balance between “good” and “bad” bacteria in our gut becomes out of whack, which can then cause a host of health problems.
Probiotics, which just essentially are a lot of good bacteria, are found in fermented foods, yogurt, some other dairy products, and supplements.
Probiotics, Why They Could Help You Get Ahead At Work
- There have been several studies, and there are numerous continuing studies, being conducted on the importance of probiotics to improve immune health. There are several mechanisms that may be at play as to how probiotics actually improve immune health, and many hypothesized mechanisms that science is still trying to decipher. However, based on past studies, there is solid scientific reasoning to support taking probiotics to improve your immune system.
- A positive side effect to boosting your immune system is the ability to fight off potential infections and therefore decrease the number of times you get sick, as well as your ability to get over an illness quicker. So for those who do not have paid sick time, or many sick days, probiotics may help benefit your immune system, and decease the amount of time you are away from the office. In fact a study conducted in Sweden on factory workers found that those who take probiotics were sick significantly less than their colleagues who did not consume probiotics.
- Probiotics can help reduce gastrointestinal distress. Probiotics are a great tool when combating gastrointestinal distress specifically antibiotic induced diarrhea. Antibiotic induced diarrhea is extremely common due to the amount of antibiotics we take, especially if we have a poor immune system and are sick all the time.
- If you ever need to travel for work, especially overseas, you may have experienced the not so pleasant effects of travelers diarrhea. Being stuck in your hotel bathroom is not exactly ideal when you have a short window to conduct your business while on your business trip. Probiotics have been used successfully to not only treat travelers diarrhea, but to prevent it. So if you are required to travel for business, make sure you are consistent with your probiotic consumption.
- There is emerging evidence that probiotics play an important role in helping those suffering with Irritable Bowel Disorders (IBD). Probiotics may reduce symptoms of flare ups in the mucosa of the intestines and reduce symptoms of Irritable Bowel Disorders.
Probiotics For The Busy Professional
If you are a busy professional and find that your health is holding you back at work, probiotics may be able to boost your immune system, and decrease how often you are sick. So if you are not currently taking probiotics, but feel that your health could use some improving, try including more fermented foods, yogurts, and probiotic supplements into your diet.
Parvez, S., Malik, K., Ah Kang, S. and Kim, H. (2006). Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health. J Appl Microbiol, 100(6), pp.1171-1185.
Singh, A. and Bunger, R. (2014). Probiotics and Gut Health. JIMSA, 27(1).
Tubelius, B., Stan, V. and Zachrisson, A. (2005). Increasing work-place healthiness with the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri: a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled study. 4, 25.