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The Top 10 Health Benefits of Probiotics?

Written by Jenoye Campbell, LPN

Probiotics; a word that gets thrown around a lot. You hear it in food healthcare commercials, and even your primary care physician may mention it to you.

But what are probiotics, and what are the possible health benefits that you can get from consuming probiotics?

This article will answer those questions by looking at the top 10 health benefits of probiotics.

What Are The Benefits of Probiotics?

What are Probiotics?

Medical experts refer to probiotics as “good bacteria,” and they are all throughout your entire body.

However, they are more commonly associated with gut and intestinal health.

As such, research conducted into the matter has determined that probiotics are beneficial to gut bacteria, as they help regulate the digestive system and manage certain conditions.

Probiotics, which are essentially live microorganisms, can be found in certain foods; however, they must be fermented.

Also, you can take probiotic supplements if you prefer to avoid fermented foods.

Although more research is needed on the matter, it would seem that probiotics have incredibly beneficial properties, including balancing the gut microbiome (their intestinal flora).

Types of Probiotics

There are numerous genera of probiotic bacteria, but two primary groups are often used in foods and probiotic supplements; the Lactobacillus and the Bifidobacterium groups.

1) Bifidobacteria

This genus of bacteria is commonly used in foods and supplements.

2) Lactobacillus

Lactobacillus bacteria are found naturally in the mouth, vagina, and small intestine.

This specie of bacteria produces lactase and lactic acid.

Lactic acid helps maintain the population of harmful bacteria and can also act as muscle fuel to enhance how your body absorbs minerals.

Health Benefits of Probiotics

1) Probiotics Help Balance Good Gut Bacteria in Your Digestive System

Digestive health is important, as the digestive system basically holds the key to the body’s health and wellness.

When there is an imbalance in gut bacteria, that means it is being overrun by bad bacteria and typically manifests in symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, and inflammation.

This could be caused by several factors, including a poor diet and taking antibiotics.

You can take probiotics found in fermented foods or as supplements to help restore the balance of the gut microbiota.

2) Probiotic Supplements Improve Some Mental Health Conditions

Over the years, more research is being done to link gut health with mental health, and so far, there are indications that gut and mental health are connected.

Consequently, it is essential that you maintain a healthy balance between the two, as studies validate that some probiotic strains can improve some mental health disorders, such as memory impairment, anxiety, autism, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

3) Certain Probiotic Strains Promote Heart Health

LDL cholesterol is quite harmful to the health of your heart, as it can lead to the development of several conditions, including high blood pressure and heart attack.

Lactic acid bacteria can break down bile during the digestive process, and this, in turn, reduces LDL cholesterols in your body.

A scientific review established that eating probiotic yogurt for 2–8 weeks decreased total cholesterol levels by 4% and LDL cholesterol by 5%.

This is a significant reduction.

Additionally, using a probiotic supplement or fermented foods containing probiotics can help to manage high blood pressure.

4) Probiotics Can Decrease Symptoms of Some Digestive Disorders

Many health conditions affect digestive health, and some may be resolvable with the aid of taking probiotic supplements.

Certain strains of probiotic bacteria have been proven effective in relieving the symptoms of diarrhea and gastroenteritis, such as inflammation affecting the lining of the gut.

On that note, inflammatory bowel disease can also be managed by taking probiotics; however, it requires the use of multiple strains to get the job done.

Probiotics can also aid in treating irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease, which are associated with constipation, infectious diarrhea, gas, and bloating.

Plus, probiotics have been explored as a treatment option for the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

Additionally, if you suffer from severe lactose intolerance, it may be a good idea to speak to your doctor about probiotic supplements to help relieve the symptoms.

There are some types of probiotics that fall within the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus groups that have been proven to reduce symptoms in people with mild ulcerative colitis.

5) Probiotics May Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat

When you consume probiotics, they cause some of your hormone levels to increase and that makes you feel fuller for longer.

Furthermore, they help you to burn more calories and store less fat.

There are many other ways that probiotics can aid with weight loss and management, including hindering the absorption of dietary fat in the intestine.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus gasseri have boosted weight loss in study participants, whereas Lactobacillus acidophilus, can promote weight gain.

It is uncertain why some probiotic bacteria promote weight loss, and some lead to weight gain.

6) Probiotics Can Help Manage the Severity of Allergic Reactions and Eczema in Children

There is not much research into this potential probiotic benefit; however, a few studies have shown that probiotics promote a reduction in the intensity of eczema affecting children.

Since eczema is an immune system reaction, it is highly possible that probiotics can boost immune function to reduce the condition’s severity.

For better results, probiotics should be used in combination with other therapies.

It is also believed that some probiotics may also reduce inflammatory responses in people with milk or dairy allergies.

7) Probiotics Can Strengthen the Immune System

Consuming probiotics, such as the lactobacillus strains, can help to make your immune cells stronger and protect against infections.

Also, probiotic Lactobacillus and some other strains can prevent the growth of harmful gut bacteria, which prevents attacks against the body and immune system.

Urinary tract infections in women can be significantly reduced by taking Lactobacillus crispatus.

Additionally, Lactobacillus GG has been credited with being significantly beneficial in the reduction of severity of respiratory infections in children.

8) Probiotics May Help Reduce Psoriasis and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

A study that took place in 2013 evidenced that Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 may be beneficial in the reduction of symptoms associated with psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome.

It is assumed that since psoriasis is an immune system skin condition that causes flaky patches of skin that form scales, certain probiotics that also help to boost the immune health, may also help relieve psoriasis.

9) Probiotics Can Help to Create Vitamins

Though not all probiotics can help with the formation of vitamins, there are still several probiotic bacteria that can synthesize vitamin K and most of the water‐soluble B vitamins, including biotin, cobalamin, folates, nicotinic acid, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and thiamine.

This helps to prevent vitamin deficiencies.

10) Probiotics Can Help Breakdown and Absorb Medications

Quite often, in conditions that affect the lining of the gut, one is unable to properly break down and absorb medications to derive their full benefits.

However, probiotics and other good gut bacteria can help to soothe and reduce inflammation affecting the gut, leading to enhanced absorption.

Probiotics are good gut bacteria that can be beneficial to your body in so many ways, including boosting immune system health, heart health, digestion, and so much more.

While they are good gut bacteria and are supposed to help with health and wellness, it is always best to speak with your healthcare provider before using them.

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