What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be consumed through fermented foods or supplements. Probiotics get along germs that are either the exact same or very comparable to the bacteria that are currently in your body. Your lower digestive tract alone bristles with a complex and diverse community of these bacteria. In reality, there are a greater variety of germs in your intestinal tracts than there are cells in your body.
Nevertheless, not all of the bacteria in your body benefit you. Some research study studies advise that having too many of the “bad” and too little of the “excellent” bacteria– caused in part by an unhealthy diet– can wreak all sorts of havoc on your body’s systems. This imbalance can result in weight gain, skin problem, constipation or diarrhea, and numerous chronic health conditions.
A growing variety of research studies show that the balance or imbalance of bacteria in your food digestion system is connected to total health and disease. Probiotics promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria and have in fact been connected to a wide variety of health advantages.
An overview of the key health benefits linked to probiotics.
1. Probiotics Help Balance The Friendly Bacteria in Your Digestive System
Probiotics include “good” bacteria. These are live microorganisms that can provide health benefits when consumed. These benefits are thought to result from the ability of probiotics to restore the natural balance of gut bacteria.
An imbalance means there are too many bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria. It can happen due to illness, medication such as antibiotics, poor diet and more. Consequences can include digestive issues, allergies, mental health problems, obesity and more.
Probiotics are usually found in fermented foods or taken as supplements. What’s more, they appear to be safe for most people.
Conclusion: Probiotics are live microorganisms. When taken in sufficient amounts, they can help restore the natural balance of gut bacteria. As a result, health benefits may follow.
2. Probiotics Can Help Prevent and Treat Diarrhea
Probiotics are widely known for their ability to prevent diarrhea or reduce its severity.
Diarrhea is a common side effect of taking antibiotics. It occurs because antibiotics can negatively affect the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. Several studies suggest probiotic use is associated with a reduced risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Probiotics can also help with other forms of diarrhea not associated with antibiotics.
A large review of 35 studies found certain strains of probiotics can reduce the duration of infectious diarrhea by an average of 25 hours. Probiotics reduced the risk of travelers’ diarrhea by 8%. They also lowered the risk of diarrhea from other causes by 57% in children and 26% in adults. Effectiveness varies, depending on the type and dose of the probiotic taken.
Strains such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus casei and the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii are most commonly associated with a reduced risk of diarrhea.
Conclusion: Probiotics can reduce the risk and severity of diarrhea from a number of different causes.
3. Probiotic Supplements Improve Some Mental Health Conditions
An increasing number of studies link gut health to mood and mental health. Both animal and human studies find that probiotic supplements can improve some mental health disorders.
A review of 15 human studies found supplementing with Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains for 1–2 months can improve anxiety, depression, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and memory.
One study followed 70 chemical workers for 6 weeks. Those who consumed 100 grams of probiotic yogurt per day or took a daily probiotic capsule experienced benefits for general health, depression, anxiety, and stress. Benefits were also seen in studies of patients with depression.
Conclusion: Research shows taking probiotics may help improve symptoms of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, stress and memory, among others.
4. Certain Probiotic Strains Can Help Keep Your Heart Healthy
Probiotics may help keep your heart healthy by lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and blood pressure. Certain lactic acid-producing bacteria may reduce cholesterol by breaking down bile in the gut.
Bile, a naturally occurring fluid mostly made of cholesterol, helps digestion. By breaking down bile, probiotics can prevent it from being reabsorbed in the gut, where it can enter the blood as cholesterol.
There have been studies confirming that eating probiotic yogurt reduces cholesterol and also blood pressure.
Conclusion: Probiotics may help protect the heart by reducing “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and modestly lowering blood pressure.
5. Probiotics May Reduce the Severity of Certain Allergies and Eczema
Certain probiotic strains may reduce the severity of eczema in children and infants. A study followed children of women who took probiotics during pregnancy. Those children had an 83% lower risk of developing eczema in the first two years of life. However, the link between probiotics and reduced eczema severity is still weak and more research needs to be done.
Some probiotics may also reduce inflammatory responses in people with milk or dairy allergies. However, the evidence is weak and further studies are needed.
Conclusion: Probiotics may reduce the risk and severity of certain allergies, such as eczema in infants. However, more research is needed.
6. Probiotics Can Help Reduce Symptoms of Certain Digestive Disorders
Over one million people in the US suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Certain types of probiotics from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains have improved symptoms in people with mild ulcerative colitis.
Surprisingly, one study found that supplementing with the probiotic E. coli Nissle was just as effective as drugs in maintaining remission in people with ulcerative colitis. However, probiotics appear to have little effect on symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
Nevertheless, probiotics may have benefits for other bowel disorders. Early research suggests they may help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Conclusion: Probiotics may help reduce the symptoms of bowel disorders like ulcerative colitis, IBS and necrotizing enterocolitis.
7. Probiotics May Help Boost Your Immune System
Probiotics may help give your immune system a boost and inhibit the growth of harmful gut bacteria. Probiotics can also reduce the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women. Also, some probiotics have been shown to promote the production of natural antibodies in the body. They may also boost immune cells like the IgA-producing cells, T lymphocytes and natural killer cells.
A large review found that taking probiotics reduced the likelihood and duration of respiratory infections. However, the quality of the evidence was low.
Conclusion: Probiotics may help boost your immune system and protect against infections.
8. Probiotics May Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat
Probiotics may help with weight loss through a number of different mechanisms. For example, some probiotics prevent the absorption of dietary fat in the intestine. The fat is then excreted through feces rather than stored in the body. Probiotics may also help you feel fuller for longer, burn more calories and store less fat. This is partly caused by increasing levels of certain hormones, such as GLP-1.
They may also help with weight loss directly. However, it’s important to be aware that not all probiotics aid in weight loss. Surprisingly, some studies found certain probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, can even lead to weight gain. More studies are needed to clarify the link between probiotics and weight.
Conclusion: Certain probiotics may help you lose weight and belly fat. However, other strains have been linked to weight gain.
The Best Way to Benefit From Probiotics
You can get probiotics from a variety of foods or supplements. If you wish to purchase a probiotic supplement, then there is an outstanding selection on Amazon with countless customer evaluations.
Live probiotic cultures are frequently found in fermented dairy items such as yogurts and milk drinks. Fermented foods like pickled veggies, tempeh, miso, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and soy products may also contain some lactic acid bacteria.
You can likewise take probiotics as tablets, capsules and powders that contain the germs in dried kind. Nevertheless, be aware that some probiotics can be damaged by stomach acid before they even reach the gut– meaning that you get none of the intended advantages.
If you want to experience any of the health benefits gone over above, it’s crucial that you take in adequate quantities.
Most of the studies showing benefits used dosages of 1 billion to 100 billion live organisms or colony-forming units (CFU) per day.