Probiotics are making its seen to the health and wellness scene today. Sadly, many people have been informed wrong information about it.
For instance, some mistakenly think that the only health benefits probiotics provide is a smooth digestion due to the good bacteria. While this information is true, it is not all there is to probiotics.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for the body. You can get probiotics from supplements or various fermented foods.
More and more studies show that the balance or imbalance of bacteria in your digestive system is linked to overall health and disease.
Many studies have proven that a proper or improper balance of bacteria in the digestive system could be associated with disease and overall well-being.
Probiotics are able to keep your body healthy by restoring the good and bad bacterial balance in your gut.
By consuming probiotics, countless health benefits are in store for you. These include digestive health, weight loss, and boosted immune system.
Let us study more about the major health benefits associated with probiotics.
Probiotics Balance the Good Bacteria in Your Digestive System
Probiotics consists of "good" bacteria. When consumed, these live microorganisms are powerful enough to provide numerous health benefits.
The ability of probiotics to bring back the normal balance of gut bacteria is the main reason for its health benefits.
A bacteria imbalance implies that too many bad bacteria are lurking in your body. There is also a lack of sufficient good bacteria that has to be dealt with.
This imbalance can occur as a result of sickness and medication such as antibiotics. An unhealthy diet is also a culprit.
Other concerns also include digestive problems, allergies, mental health issues, weight gain, obesity and many others.
Fortunately, it is great to know that Probiotics are safe to be consumed by most people regardless of age or health issues.
Probiotics Assist in the Prevention and Treatment of Diarrhea
One of the health benefits of Probiotics is its ability to treat diarrhea. It is a great treatment for diarrheas that are caused by different sources. It is also able to prevent it from occurring in the first place.
One of the most experienced side effects of those who consume antibiotics is diarrhea. Antibiotics are one of the major causes of having an unhealthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.
Various researches that are conducted on the use of Probiotics have linked it with a lowered risk of antibiotic-related diarrhea.
One study discovered that probiotics can lower the said risk by 42%.
In a major review of 35 studies, it has been discovered that certain strains of probiotics are able to lower the length of infectious diarrhea in an average of 25 hours.
Aside from antibiotic-related diarrhea, Probiotics are also effective in lowering the risk of travelers' diarrhea by 8%.
Aside from adults, children can also experience the benefits of Probiotics. Studies show that diarrheas triggered by other sources are lowered by 57% in children and 26% in adults, with the use of Probiotics.
However, it is important to note that the effect of Probiotics depends on the dosage and type of probiotics taken. These two things determine its effect on your health.
Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii are the top three strains associated with a lowered risk of diarrhea.
Probiotic Supplements Enhance Various Mental Health Issues
Numerous studies have associated gut health with mental health.
Taking a probiotic supplement is one of the best ways to enhance various mental health problems. In fact, even animals have been discovered to benefit from it, not just humans!
15 human studies discovered that Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains supplementation for 1 to 2 months is able to drastically treat anxiety, depression, memory, obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) and even autism.
Another research followed 70 chemical workers in a span of 42 days. Workers who have taken 100 grams of probiotic yogurt daily or consume a probiotic capsule experienced benefits for anxiety, stress, depression and overall health.
The same health benefits were also observed in a study consisting of 40 patients suffering from depression.
Consuming probiotic supplements for an average of 8 weeks lowered the level of depression. This is due to the reduction of C-reactive protein levels (a well-known characteristic of inflammation) and hormones like insulin, in comparison to those who did not consume a probiotic supplement.
Probiotics Contributes to Heart Health and Blood Pressure
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world.
Probiotics assist in keeping your heart working at its best. It works by lowering your blood pressure and reducing the levels of bad cholesterol in your body.
There are certain lactic acid-producing bacteria that are able to lower cholesterol levels. These bacteria are necessary as they help break down bile in the gut.
Bile is a fluid that aids digestion. By breaking it down, probiotics are able to prevent the possibility of its reabsorption. If Bile is reabsorbed in the gut, it may enter the blood as cholesterol.
5 studies regarding this benefit have been conducted. Experts discovered that consuming a probiotic yogurt for a span of 14-56 days can lower LDL cholesterol by 5% and overall cholesterol by 4%.
One research, on the other hand, showed no changes in overall or LDL cholesterol. But experts did find a little but significant increase in HDL cholesterol, which is also known as good cholesterol.
Probiotics consumption also assists in lowering blood pressure. 9 scientific studies discovered that consuming probiotic supplements slightly impacts the reduction of blood pressure .
If you are determined to protect your heart and experience the benefits of Probiotics to blood pressure, over 8 weeks of supplementation is necessary. 10 million colony-forming units (CFUs) must be consumed each day.
Probiotics Can Reduce the Severity of Eczema
Children and infants suffering from eczema may benefit from Probiotics. Certain probiotic strains are able to lessen the severity of eczema experienced by young patients.
An improvement in eczema symptoms was shown in one scientific study. Infants were given probiotic-supplemented milk and they showed higher improvement in comparison to infants who were not.
A different research observed children of women who took probiotics while they were pregnant. Amazingly, these children experienced an 83% lower risk of eczema in their first two years.
Despite these studies, the connection that probiotics and eczema treatment have is still not strong enough. More studies have to be conducted.
Probiotics Can Treat Various Digestive Issues
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is experienced by more than one million people in the U.S. Those who suffer from IBD suffer from a chronic inflammation in their digestive tract. Types of IBD include ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
People suffering from mild ulcerative colitis have found certain types of probiotics strains able to improve their symptoms. These are strains from Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Remarkably, one research discovered that supplementing with the probiotic E. coli Nissle provides the same effect as drugs when it comes to remission maintenance of patients with ulcerative colitis.
Regarding the symptoms of Crohn's disease, however, probiotics seem to have little effect.
Nevertheless, probiotics can provide amazing benefits for bowel disorders. A study suggests they are able to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) successfully.
Aside from that, the risk of severe Necrotizing Enterocolitis can be lowered by 50% with Probiotics. This serious bowel condition occurs in premature infants and could be fatal.
Probiotics Can Help Boost the Immune System
Probiotics are effective in keeping your gut healthy. A healthy gut ensures that your immune system functions properly.
Probiotics are able to provide your immune system its much-needed boost, thus preventing the development of destructive gut bacteria.
Aside from that, probiotics have been proven effective in promoting the production of the human body’s natural antibodies. They are also able to enhance immune cells such as the T lymphocytes, IgA-producing, and natural killer cells.
One major study discovered that probiotic consumption is able to lower the chances of respiratory infections. But the level of its evidence was quite low.
A different research consisting of more than 570 children shows that consuming Lactobacillus GG is able to lower the occurrence and severity of respiratory infections by 17%.
Lastly, it has been proven that the probiotic Lactobacillus crispatus lower the chances of urinary tract infections (UTIs) occurring in women by 50%.
Probiotics Can Assist in Weight Loss
Through several types of mechanisms, Probiotics can assist in weight loss.
For instance, some probiotics inhibit your intestine from absorbing dietary fat. Instead of being stored in the body, the fat is expelled through feces.
Moreover, Probiotics may help you store less fat and burn more calories. They can even help in making you feel fuller for a long period of time. This is somewhat a result of increasing levels of some hormones, like GLP-1.
Probiotics may also directly assist anyone who wants to lose weight. One research proves that women following a strict diet and consuming Lactobacillus rhamnosus for a span of 3 months experienced amazing results. They were able to lose 50% more weight compared to other dieting women who didn't consume any probiotic.
A different study consisting of 210 people shown that consuming even minimal doses of Lactobacillus gasseri for about 12 weeks caused an 8.5% reduction of belly fat.
However, it is of utmost importance to know that not all probiotics are helpful and beneficial for weight loss.
It may come as a surprise, but a few studies discovered that there is a certain Probiotic that can potentially result in weight gain. It is the Lactobacillus acidophilus.
More studies have to be conducted in order to prove and strengthen the connection of Probiotics to weight loss.
How to Benefit from Probiotics
A variety of foods and supplements are available to give you a daily dose of probiotics.
An amazing selection of probiotic supplements is all over the Internet. You can purchase them online.
Most often, live probiotic cultures are present in fermented dairy products like milk beverages and yogurts.
Various fermented foods may also contain some lactic acid bacteria. Some of these include pickled vegetables, miso, tempeh, kimchi, kefir, and different soy products.
Aside from food sources, you may also opt to consume probiotics in forms of tablets, powders or capsules that consist of the dried form of bacteria.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that your stomach acid could destroy some probiotics even before they reach the gut. When this happens, you will not experience the anticipated health benefits of Probiotics.
If you truly want to reap the benefits of Probiotics for your overall health, see to it that you consume sufficient amounts every day.
In most studies, dosages of 1 billion up to 100 billion live organisms or colony-forming units (CFU) is the daily consumption that has been able to provide excellent health benefits.