It seems like everyone is talking about probiotics and the benefits of probiotics to correct numerous health conditions. Is it all just speculation or are there some true benefits to the use of probiotics?
In this article, we are going to discuss 10 proven benefits of probiotics that go beyond speculation. Before we present those benefits, let’s take a closer look at what probiotics really are.
What Are Probiotics?
The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the World Health Organization (WHO) created the official definition of the term probiotics in 2001. FAO established it as:
Live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.
Though this is the official definition, probiotics are usually referred to as good bacteria. They come in opposition with bad bacteria, which tend to produce negative health effects. There are more than 2,000 different types of these good bacteria in lining of your intestines and in your skin alone. In our body, we also have prebiotics which are microorganisms that establish most of its vital functions.
What Do These Good Bacteria Do?
The good bacteria in your body help fight disease. They also absorb nutrients and maintain the healthy functioning of the organs in your body. Health issues often arise whenever these good bacteria are depleted. Among the many functions of probiotics, a few of them include the below.
- Assist in the production of vitamin K2, butyrate and vitamin B12.
- Stimulate the secretion of IgA and T-cells hormones.
- Encourage the development of enzymes that kill bad bacteria.
- Help to overwhelm and crowd out bad bacteria, fungi and yeast.
Deficiencies of these good bacteria lead to frequent colds and flus, digestive disorders, candida, skin issues, and , autoimmune diseases. These deficiencies are becoming much more common. This happens as our modern food supplies provide less and less of these beneficial bacteria. However, more and more antibiotics are used to combat illnesses.
How Do You Avoid Good Bacteria Deficiencies?
The proper ratio bacteria in your body should be 85% good to 15% bad. Whenever this balance is not maintained, it is called dysbiosis. To avoid dysbiosis, it is important to consume probiotics foods and/or supplements to bring it back into the proper ratio. It is in maintaining this proper ratio that the benefits of probiotics are found.
These proven benefits of probiotics are beneficial to your overall health. But they are not inclusive and should not replace regular consultation with a health care professional.
10 Benefits of Probiotics Which Were Proven Scientifically
Some of the benefits of probiotics include inhibiting absorption of some fats, reduce appetite, burn calories and decreased fat storage according to a number of studies cited in Authority Nutrition.
Healthy Immune Function
Prescript Assist points out that the tissues lining the intestines help to form a barrier against pathogenic microbes and other harmful substances. One of the benefits of probiotics is strengthening and supporting that barrier.
Treatment of Urinary Tract Infections
More and more microorganisms become resistant to antibiotics. So a number of alternatives have produced promising results in the treatment of urinary tract infections. A UK study referred to these alternatives. The benefits of probiotics in the treatment of urinary tract infections had a significant impact.
Supports Psychological and Mental Health Wellness
A German study of the effects of probiotics on mental health issues has led to impressive conclusions. Psychiatric disorder-related behaviors and cognitive function can also reap the benefits of probiotics as a treatment option. Some of the behaviors are such as depression, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Improving collogen production as well as stabilizing microflora in the skin tissues are showing some promise as benefits of probiotics. This is according to studies by Professor Christine Lang.
Research in Denmark found a 4% decrease in total cholesterol. There was also a 5% decrease in LDL cholesterol. The two come as proof to the benefits of probiotics when it comes to heart health.
Treatment of IBS
Oxford University studies presented evidence of the benefits of probiotics for the prevention of traveler’s diarrhea. They also work for relapsing colitis, urinary tract infections, irritable bowel syndrome and irritable bowel disease.
Proper Thyroid Function
There is a link between probiotics and their ability to aid in stimulating hormone secretions in the thyroid. So Dr. Izabella Wentz recommends that her patients who suffer from Hashimoto’s (a hypothyroid condition) take full advantage of the benefits of probiotics as a part of their treatment.
Treatment of Chronic Diarrhea
Bastyr University Research Institute notes that quality evidence exists for the benefits of probiotics in the treatment of a chronic diarrhea. This condition is known as antibiotic associated diarrhea. More specifically, it is a type of chronic diarrhea linked to overuse of certain antibiotics.
Treatment of Fatty Liver Disease
Another of the many benefits of probiotics can be found in its use in the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). According to a Chinese study, probiotics lowered liver cholesterol. They also improved insulin resistance in those with NAFLD. Therefore, they significantly reduced the effects of NAFLD.
A Note of Caution
Probiotics in the vitamin and supplement industry are big business. Therefore they tend to vary significantly in quality, purity and potency. Many probiotics talk about having a certain number of colony forming units (CFUs) in them. But a large number of those CFUs cannot survive stomach acid in order to achieve the stated objective.
Fermented foods and drinks tend to have a much greater efficacy and potency when it comes to actually establishing probiotics in your body. One of the main reasons is because fermented foods and drinks also contain nutrients and food substance that is digested. This allows the living bacteria to survive stomach acid. Fermented foods and drinks are better than supplements for establishing probiotics. But it is possible to eat too many probiotic foods and do more harm than good.
Probiotics are more than just a modern buzzword for health and wellness. When used properly, there are plenty of healthy benefits of probiotics.
You may be suffering or susceptible to one or number of the conditions listed above. Then adding fermented foods and drinks into your diet can help improve your overall health.
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