Health Benefits of Probiotics

Health Benefits of Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms found in supplements and fermented foods. These are the ‘good’ bacteria that live inside your digestive system.

Since probiotics have so many health benefits and are relatively safe, you should consider adding probiotics to your daily supplements.

Read below for some more details of the various health benefits of probiotics:

Probiotics Can Improve Your Gut Flora

Improving gut flora is very important since more and more studies are showing that bacterial imbalances can lead to several chronic diseases. An imbalance implies that there are more harmful bacteria than good ones. 

The consequences of imbalanced gut flora include obesity, mental health problems, allergies and more.

Several studies indicate that balanced gut bacteria can provide several health benefits beyond the digestive tract.

Probiotics Can Enhance Certain Mental Health Conditions

Several studies associate good gut health with improved mental health and mood. A number of human and animal studies show how probiotics can improve specific mental disorders.

For instance, a review of 15 studies indicated that 1-2 months supplementation with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium could improve memory, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism, depression, and anxiety.

Another study monitored 70 chemical factory workers for over six weeks. Workers who took 100 g of probiotic yogurt or probiotic capsule each day experienced much better overall health, including improvements in stress, anxiety, and depression.

Another study monitored 40 patients suffering from depression and found that an 8-week probiotic supplementation reduced depression and improved levels of C-reactive protein (a key inflammation marker) and hormones like insulin.

Some Probiotic Strains Can Boost Your Heart Health

Probiotics can be helpful for your heart since they reduce blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol. This research study found that certain lactic acid producing strains can break down bile in the gut to lower cholesterol. 

Bile is a naturally produced fluid that aids digestion and it is made largely from cholesterol. Probiotics reduce cholesterol by breaking down bile in the gut before it can be absorbed in the bloodstream as cholesterol.

According to the results of 5 studies, 2-8 weeks consumption of probiotic yogurt lowered LDL cholesterol by 5% and total cholesterol by 4%.   

This review of 9 studies shows that probiotics can modestly reduce blood pressure.

Probiotics Can Alleviate Your Allergies

According to one study, infants who were fed probiotic-supplemented milk experienced significant improvements in their eczema symptoms as compared to those infants who were fed milk without any probiotics. 

Another interesting study monitored children whose mothers were supplemented with probiotics during pregnancy. Compared to children whose mothers took no probiotic supplements during pregnancy, these children had an 83 percent reduced risk of suffering from eczema during the first two years of their lives. 

Probiotics Can Improve Certain Digestive Disorders

More than 1 million people in the US suffer from digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

This study indicates that lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains can improve symptoms of patients suffering from mild ulcerative colitis.

Another interesting study found that the E. Coli Nissle probiotic strain is as effective as drugs for remission in people suffering ulcerative colitis.

Some preliminary research also shows that probiotics can help to improve symptoms of people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

One study shows that probiotics can reduce the incidence of severe necrotizing enterocolitis by as much as 50%. Premature infants face a higher risk of this bowel condition, which can prove fatal.

Probiotics Can Strengthen Your Immune System

Probiotics can prevent the proliferation of bad gut bacteria and improve your immune system, says this research.

It is also known that certain probiotics can increase the natural production of antibodies. They can also improve the immune system by increasing the production of immune cells like natural killer cells, T lymphocytes, and IgA-producing cells.

This study investigated the health effects of Lactobacillus GG on more than 570 children suffering from respiratory tract infections. Respiratory tract infections were reduced by 17 percent as a result of supplementation with the probiotic strain.

Women suffer a 50 percent lower risk of developing urinary tract infections if they supplement with Lactobacillus crispatus probiotic strain.

Probiotics Can Reduce Your Weight and Visceral Fat

Probiotics can help people lose weight via several different mechanisms. For instance, some probiotics assist in weight loss by reducing the absorption of dietary fat in the digestive tract. Instead of being absorbed and stored in the body, the fat is excreted through feces.

Probiotics also promote weight loss by allowing the body to burn more calories, storing less fat and decreasing hunger. These effects are produced by higher levels of hormones such as GLP-1.

They can also reduce weight directly. According to one study which followed women on a diet, those women who supplemented with Lactobacillus Rhamnosus for 3 months experienced 50% extra weight loss compared to those women who did not supplement with probiotic.

Another study monitored 210 people to investigate the effects of Lactobacillus gasseri supplementation. The study found that even a moderate supplementation of the probiotic strain over a 12-week period can lead to a reduction of belly fat by 8.5%.

Probiotic Sources

Since probiotics have so many health benefits, it is a smart idea to increase the consumption of probiotics through natural food sources.

You can find live probiotic cultures in fermented dairy products, such as kefir and yogurt. Keep in mind that heating destroys these live cultures. So you should not expect to find any live strains in pasteurized foods.

There are also several different fermented foods that are full of probiotics, such as fermented soy products (miso, tempeh, soy sauce, and natto), sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, and pickled vegetables.

You should also know that certain strains can be destroyed by stomach acid. This means that you will not experience any benefit from consuming these strains.

In order to increase the chances of survival for these bacteria, you can consume probiotic tablets with enteric coating. This layer protects bacteria against stomach acid and allows them to reach the intestines unharmed.   

This online pharmacy provides several great probiotic supplements.

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