There are many benefits of probiotics and it’s worth considering these benefits when you’re grocery shopping. Probiotics are a type of supplemental wellness solution, intended to help improve gut health and natural internal balance. While doctors have long recommended probiotics as a tool for boosting one’s health and well-being, the interest in these unique forms of good bacteria has increased as awareness of the benefits of probiotics has expanded. Now, more and more people are seeking out items such as probiotic yogurts at the grocery store for this reason.
Lately, we’ve begun to learn new things about gut health, and its ability to influence wellness. For instance, 70% of the immune system is located in the gut, and lack of proper gut performance can lead to countless common ailments, including constipation and bloating.
When our digestion is compromised, it can even lead to issues with our neurotransmitters (such as serotonin), which means we’re more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Around 95% of serotonin is produced in the small intestine.
Probiotics could be the key to stronger gut health, and better overall wellness. Improved gut health is one of the key benefits of probiotics.
What Are the Benefits of Probiotics?
Probiotics are a form of live microorganism consumed through fermented foods and supplements.
They contribute to the balance of your digestive system, which has a direct impact on your overall health. Probiotics promote healthy balance in gut bacteria and are linked to a huge variety of health benefits, from better immune function to weight loss.
Let’s explore some of the major benefits of probiotics below:
1. Balanced Digestion
Probiotics are rich in “good bacteria”, the live microorganisms which promote various health benefits when consumed.
These benefits are thought to come from the restoration of the natural balance of gut bacteria. When your gut system is imbalanced, this means there’s too much bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria in your stomach, usually as a result of medication, illness, and poor diet.
Imbalances often lead to allergies, increased risk of obesity, allergies, digestive issues, and mental health problems, according to some studies.
2. Fewer Stomach Issues
Probiotics are excellent for treating common stomach issues. Diarrhea is one of the more common side effects of taking antibiotics, because antibiotics can influence the balance of bacteria in the gut. Studies suggest probiotics can help to reduce the risk of this side effect.
Probiotics can also help with other bowel movement issues not associated with antibiotics. For instance, you can reduce your risk of traveler’s diarrhea by around 8% with probiotics and reduce your risk of diarrhea by other causes by up to 57%.
Consuming the right number of probiotics can also help other parts of your digestive system to work more effectively. This could mean you’re less likely to suffer from constipation which prevents you from passing waste consistently.
3. Better Mental Health
As mentioned above, a large number of studies are beginning to link good gut health to improved mental health and mood. Human and animal studies alike both find probiotics supplements can improve various mental health disorders.
Specifically, supplementing with certain kinds of probiotics, including Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus for up to 1-2 months can assist with the treatment of conditions such as OCD, depression, and anxiety. One study found taking 100 grams of probiotic yogurt per day led to benefits for depression, anxiety, stress, and overall health.
Another study found taking probiotic supplements for 8 weeks reduced depression levels and levels of C-reactive protein in patients, compared to people who weren’t taking probiotics.
4. Stronger Heart Health
Probiotics may play a crucial role in keeping the heart healthy, by reducing your levels of “LDL” or bad cholesterol, as well as blood pressure. Lactic-acid producing bacteria is particularly beneficial as it assists with breaking down gut bile.
Bile is a naturally occurring fluid made mostly by cholesterol and helps significantly with digestion. By reducing bile, probiotics may help the substance from being reabsorbed in the gut, where it might re-enter the blood as cholesterol.
5. Less Severe Allergies
Certain types of probiotics and beneficial bacteria might reduce the severity of eczema in infants and children. According to this report, eczema symptoms were reduced when infants were fed milk with probiotic supplements, compared with infants who didn’t have access to probiotics.
Other studies looked at women taking probiotics during pregnancy, and found the children had an 83% reduced risk of suffering from eczema in the first two years of life.
Some kinds of probiotics may also reduce common issues of inflammation and allergic responses in individuals with milk or dairy allergies.
6. Reduced Digestive Disorders
Over one million people in America alone experience IBD issues, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Certain types of probiotics have improved symptoms in people with mild ulcerative colitis. Additionally, early research indicates these substances may be valuable at helping with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
The ability of probiotics to balance the gut and improve overall gut health could significantly reduce the number of issues people face with gut and bowel conditions.
7. Enhanced Immune System
Probiotics can give your immune system a powerful boost, while reducing the growth of dangerous gut bacteria. Some probiotics can promote the production of natural antibodies in the body and may boost immune cells such as igA-producing cells, natural killer cells, and T lymphocytes.
One review found taking probiotics could significantly lower the risk of respiratory infections. Another study found over 570 children taking probiotics experienced reduced severity of respiratory infections by around 17%.
Increasingly, scientists believe looking after the gut could be a powerful step in improving the overall immunity of the body, and ensuring long-term good health.
8. Weight Loss
Adding probiotics to part of your meal plan could help speed up weight loss. Studies have revealed that probiotics have potential for boosting weight loss in a range of different ways. Some probiotics, for instance, assist with reducing the absorption of dietary fat in the intestines.
This means the fat you consume is more likely to be excreted in waste, rather than stored by the body. Probiotics also help you to feel fuller for longer, as well as improving your fat burning capabilities. One of the benefits of probiotics is that they can even help with weight loss directly, according to one particular study. Women in this study lost 50% more weight when taking probiotics while dieting.
Further research is necessary to clarify the link between weight and probiotics. However, the information currently available looks positive for those seeking weight loss.
How Can You Benefit from Probiotics?
There are a number of ways to bring probiotics into your life. You can get these substances from a wide variety of supplements and foods. Live probiotic cultures are also available in fermented dairy products. Plus, you can find various fermented foods such as tempeh, kefir, sauerkraut, and pickled vegetables.
Notably, some probiotics can also be destroyed by the stomach before they reach the gut, so it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re consuming the right number of probiotics. Consuming adequate levels of probiotics (usually around 1 billion to 100 billion live organisms per day), will improve your chances of experiencing positive results.
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