Research is increasingly showing that the balance and diversity of our gut bacteria is key to everything from getting a good night’s sleep to maintaining a healthy weight and even keeping colds at bay - more than 60 per cent of our immune system is ‘located’ in our guts. Given that ‘middle management’ from a gut microbe P.O.V is now considered pretty significant to good health, getting our fill of fruit and vegetables, fibre and beneficial bacteria such as probiotics is a positive move. Adding a dose of everyday prebiotics - non-digestible fibres that feed the beneficial bifidobacteria in your gut, also ups the ante in terms of improving digestive function, helping your body to produce essential vitamins, bolstering the immune system and inhibiting the growth of bacteria that causes diseases (pathogens).
Full disclosure: I’ve been taking prebiotic supplement Bimuno Daily Powder , £11.99 for 30 sachets (although you can get it for £8.99 on the Bimuno website until the end of November) for over ten years since being diagnosed with an autoimmune condition and experiencing IBS flare-ups on the side (delightful). While everything from gentle exercise to prescribed medication likely helped my symptoms go into remission, taking a gut health supplement on doctor’s orders has without doubt helped in the bloating and digestive discomfort stakes, and as such I’ve kept up my Bimuno Daily habit ever since.
The supplement itself is a tasteless powder that contains the active prebiotic ingredient B-GOS® (Galactooligasaccharide), which works over time to top up the levels of the beneficial bacteria bifidobacteria alongside other ‘good guy’ bacteria that naturally reside in your gut. Once it reaches your lower gut it’s been shown to bump up healthy bacteria in seven days, helping to enhance everything from immune function to digestion - scientific evidence shows that it’s particularly beneficial for easing the bloating, diarrhea and stomach pain associated with IBS, although always check with your doctor before taking any food supplements for to be on the safe side.
I now add it to my breakfast in the morning, sometimes in a smoothie or porridge, but the powder can be taken anytime during the day and even added to baking (I’m yet to try a Bimuno bake but I’ll keep you updated on that). You may experience some initial tummy gurgling when you first begin taking it, but this will become less noticeable over the course of a few weeks, just FYI if you have any big board meetings.
Seeing as we all have a unique gut bacteria ‘blueprint’, the time it takes to work, and whether you notice a difference, varies for everyone, but its effects so far have been wide-ranging. In the BBC’s The Truth About Sleep documentary, for example, Dr Michael Mosley discovered that taking a sachet of Bimuno Daily Powder before bed improved his sleep patterns. Researchers put this down to the beneficial effects of additional good gut bacteria and fibre, and while we’re awaiting definitive clinical studies to establish a proven connection between prebiotics and better sleep, it’s a promising find in an overly fatigued, ‘always on’ world. It’s not a cure-all, but the indication is that it improves gut health for most of us, and I’m certainly within that number. You’ll find me sipping on my prebiotic powder smoothies for years to come.
Bimuno Daily Powder, £8.99 for 30 sachets until the end of November, £11.99 thereafter, buy online
Disclaimer: Certain supplements are used for different reasons and a one-size-fits-all approach shouldn’t be adopted. In addition, pregnant women and anyone on medication should always consult a doctor before embarking on a supplements programme.
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