In recent years, the role our gut health plays in our everyday lifestyle has taken center stage. Scientists are now aware of the many connections our gut has with the rest of our body. From the brain-gut connection to the sleep-gut connection and every other link in between, there’s no denying that proper gut health is paramount for our well-being.
At the center of practices to maintain good gut health are probiotics. Now, research suggests there might be a connection between the use of probiotics and alcoholism treatments.
How Alcohol Affects Our Gut Health
To fully understand how probiotics can help with alcoholism, it’s vital to educate ourselves about the various ways alcohol affects our gut health. Many studies have looked at the consumption of alcohol and its effects on our bodies.
It’s known that those who overindulge in alcohol have higher rates of alcohol-induced oxidative stress and intestinal dysbiosis. Both are known to promote gastrointestinal tract inflammation and intestinal permeability – aka leaky gut syndrome.
Even if you don’t consider yourself an alcoholic, you may fall under the classification known as a “binge drinker,” which is the most common form of drinking worldwide. One study analyzed gut health on those who practice this form of drinking. The results showed that people who “binge drink” or have more than four drinks per event, had elevated markers of inflammation.
How Probiotics Help Balance Gut Health
Probiotics are, in essence, good bacteria in supplement form. Probiotics work to maintain the balance of good bacteria, which positively impacts liver health, and at the same time, lowers inflammation caused by alcohol.
However, probiotics and alcohol don’t necessarily go in tandem, as it might be counterproductive. Taking a probiotic can help reduce the negative impacts of alcohol in the gut. However, drinking alcohol will significantly reduce the effectiveness of probiotics. Thus, it’s a vicious cycle.
The Role of Probiotics in the Alcoholism Recovery Journey
So far, studies are considering probiotics as a method to repair the damage caused by alcoholism. Specifically, they’re looking at the effects probiotics have in repairing alcohol-induced liver damage. In the study, researchers found that after one week of probiotic supplementation, levels of good bacteria returned to healthy levels.
These findings prove to be quite promising for those struggling with alcoholism. While more research is still required, this seems to be the first step into looking at probiotics as a possible treatment option for the adverse effects of alcoholism.