Go with your gut!! You have heard the old saying. Well, let’s GO with it! let’s talk about your gut. Gut health, that is. Did you know that 80% of your immune system lives in your gut? If you aren’t loving and caring for your gut and its beneficial flora, you’re missing out on a lot of optimal immune function as well as other health benefits.
I’m a firm believer in probiotics. I believe that probiotics are the missing link to a a wide array of ailments, immune system issues and digestive system issues. Even if we maintain a healthy lifestyle, we still live in a world predominately controlled by genetically modified foods, over-use of antibiotics and vaccinations as well as pesticide-laden crops. These factors can all compromise our gut health, and we need to stay on top of it!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your healthcare professional before stopping or starting any health regimen. This post may contain Amazon Affiliate Links for your convenience.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial and essential for your health, especially your digestive and immune system. We usually think of bacteria as something that is bad and causes diseases. But the truth is that your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are referred to as “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they are essential to keeping your gut healthy.
We need to take care of our guts! Like I said in the introduction, over 80% of our immune system is found in our gut, so let’s treat it with some extra TLC! Probiotics are naturally found in your body of course, but their supply can be depleted by our lifestyles and the standard American diet. You can also find them in some foods like yogurts and supplements.
A lot of popular yogurt companies have been playing on this fact in the recent years, but the truth is that yogurts contain very small amounts of active cultures beneficial to you, and in contrast, most yogurts also contain very large amounts of sugar which is inflammatory and harmful to your body. So we want to play on that fact, but go right to the source of the best probiotics.
Health Begins In The Gut: How Probiotics Work
Dr Axe explains, “Probiotics hold the key not just for better health and a stronger immune system, but also for healing digestive issues, mental health illness, and neurological disorders. New research is continuing to prove that probiotic benefits and side effects go far beyond what we previously thought.
Your gut contains both beneficial and harmful bacteria. Digestive experts agree that the balance of gut flora should be approximately 85 percent good bacteria and 15 percent bad bacteria.
If this ratio gets out of balance, the condition is known as dysbiosis, which means there is an imbalance of too much of a certain type of fungus, yeast or bacteria that is affecting the body in a negative way. By consuming certain types of probiotics foods and supplements you can help bring these ratios back into balance.”
(Image Source: Dr. Axe Probiotic Guide)
Foods Naturally Containing Probiotics
Eating foods naturally containing probiotics is fantastic. The invention of the refrigerator, although super convenient, has really put a halt to fermented foods. Since we don’t have to ferment our foods anymore to keep them from spoiling, we end up losing out on a lot of those vital probiotics.
Note: While these foods are great in moderation, I personally would not recommend over-doing it on the dairy (very inflammatory to the system) or soy, which is usually genetically modified and also contains phytoestrogens that have been studied, even in low doses, to wreak hormonal havoc. Carefully designed probiotic supplements can offer your benefits without these risks, which I explain in detail below.)
- Aged cheeses
- Soy beverages
35 Proven Ways Probiotics Improve Your Health
Whether it’s something a simple as bowel irregularity or something as serious as depression and anxiety, studies have shown much promise in correlation to power of probiotics and many of these issues.
1.) Gastrointestinal Health
Probiotics have also been shown to have a number of functional effects on the gastrointestinal tract. For example, Lactobacillus paracasei NCC2461 has been shown to attenuate post-infectious intestinal dysmotility in a mouse model.
2.) Urinary Tract Infections
The evidence from the available studies suggests that probiotics can be beneficial for preventing recurrent UTIs in women.
Probiotic bacteria might have the potential to change brain neurochemistry and treat anxiety and depression-related disorders, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
According to the Harvard Medical School, many studies suggest that probiotic consumption can help reduce diarrhea episodes. For example, a 2012 clinical review published in JAMA found that those who took probiotics with antibiotics were 42 percent less likely to develop diarrhea than those who took the placebo.
In recent years, neuroscientists have become increasingly interested in the idea that there may be a powerful link between the human brain and gut bacteria. And while a growing body of research has provided evidence of the brain-gut connection. Promising new research from neurobiologists at Oxford University offers some preliminary evidence of a connection between gut bacteria and mental health in humans. Previous research has also documented that altering gut bacteria has a similarly anxiety-reducing effect in mice.
A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that babies who are at risk for developing eczema may benefit from their mothers’ consumption of probiotics.
7.) Bacterial Vaginosis
According to the Harvard Medical School, probiotics may help balance the bacteria present in your vagina and prevent the overgrowth of harmful microorganisms.
8.) Yeast Infections
9.) Irritable Bowel Syndrome
There is growing evidence that probiotics can help treat IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Two review articles, published in Nutrition in Clinical Practice, examined the therapeutic approaches to irritable bowel syndrome and found that probiotics, specifically Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 (Bifantis®), are very effective at managing IBS.
10.) Attention Deficit Disorder
There is a growing amount of medical research indicating that alterations in the type of bacteria that live in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract can influence brain function, mood and overall mental health. A new study from Finland is the first to show that probiotic supplementation early in life may be an effective way to reduce the rising tide of brain disorders in children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorders.
11.) Autism Symptoms
A promising study shows strong correlation of gastrointestinal symptoms with autism severity indicates that children with more severe autism are likely to have more severe gastrointestinal symptoms and vice versa. It is possible that autism symptoms are exacerbated or even partially due to the underlying gastrointestinal problems.
Now researchers, including some at Harvard Medical School, are finding evidence of a relationship between such “good” bacteria and the immune system. For instance, it is now known that certain bacteria in the gut influence the development of aspects of the immune system, such as correcting deficiencies and increasing the numbers of certain T cells.
Research suggests that probiotics may help fight obesity in addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle. The bacteria that reside in your intestinal tract are involved in nutrient uptake and energy regulation. Studies reveal that in obese humans and animals, these bacteria extract and absorb more calories from food and store them in fat cells
14.) High Cholesterol
Research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in 2012 revealed that a formulation ofLactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242, is able to reduce blood levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
14.) Tooth Decay
Studies have shown that the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri kills the bacteria that causes tooth decay and lessens the harmful effects of gingivitis.
15.) Upper Respiratory Infections
Researchers conducted a review of studies from the Cochrane Library concluded that, overall, probiotics seem to reduce upper respiratory infections when compared to a placebo.
In another study, children from 18 daycares in Helsinki, Finland were given milk with or without probiotics. What do you think the outcome was? You got it—those who drank the probiotic-enriched milk were 17 percent less likely to get a respiratory infection and 16 percent less likely to be absent due to illness.
16.) Colic in babies
A 2007 study published in Pediatrics found that after 28 days, breastfed babies whose mothers consumed a daily dose of probiotics cried 194 minutes less than the test group that didn’t. A 2010 study published in the same journal found similar results.
20.) Chron’s Disease
Johns Hopkins Health Alerts reports that those who ate two 4-ounce servings of live-culture yogurt during a study experienced less bloating and more bowel movements after a few weeks.
21.) Brain Function
Probiotics may be beneficial for brain function. Researchers at UCLA found that brain function improved among healthy women who regularly consumed probiotic-containing yogurt.
22.) Blood Pressure
Some studies have found that milk fermented with strains of LAB may help lower blood pressure.
A study published in the prestigious scientific journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), found that probiotic bacteria can protect against bacterial infection.
Scientists at University College Cork, Ireland, reported in the journal Gut Microbes that Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 may also have benefits for patients with psoriasis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
25.) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Supplemental probiotics have been shown to delay the onset of glucose intolerance in animals, and, in a 2010 human study, L. acidophilus supplements had a positive effect on insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, some researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes have different gut bacteria than those without diabetes.
27.) Anitbiotic Damage Reversal
Get it? Antibiotic. PRObiotics! The opposite. Antibiotics wreak havoc on your beneficial gut flora. Probiotics keep your intestinal flora in balance even when using antibiotics.
28.) Carcinogens (Cancer-causing chemicals)
The human body fights tumors and other forms of cancer naturally. Probiotics helps the human body in fighting carcinogens.
29.) Celiac’s Disease
One study in Finland, reported by the National Institutes of Health, concluded that certain strains of probiotics could be protective against the intestinal damage caused by celiac disease. Some probiotic strains found in this study to be effective against the toxic effects of gluten are Lactobacillus fermentum and Bifidobacterium lactis. Consult your doctor if you have Celiac’s disease and are considering probiotics.
Probiotics have been shown to reduce systemic inflammation, a leading driver of many diseases.
There is some evidence that probiotics can be useful for acne, rosacea and eczema, as well as other skin disorders
32.) Auto-immune Diseases
There is promising evidence that leads us to believe that there is an overall lower chance of acquiring autoimmune diseases when taking probiotics. Based on several studies, it has been discovered that taking probiotics may treat patients with myasthenia gravis, as well as prevent it from ever developing. Myasthenia is another autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes muscles to weaken and cause fatigue.
33.) Body Odor
Lactobacillus acidophilus helps in improving your body odor by process of eliminating toxins
Otherwise called bad breath is a symptom in which a noticeably unpleasant odor is present on the exhaled breath. Many believe that it is not only poor dental hygiene, but a deeper issue that happens in the digestive system. Probiotics can help by introducing the proper good bacteria to your system.
Probiotics will also help in treating nasal congestion such as sinusitis. Just like the digestive and vaginal tracts, microorganisms that help in maintaining the health of the environment also inhabit the nasal passages,and problems pop up if the balance is thrown off balance. This study shows that probiotic-rich fermented milk drink decreased the pathogenic bacteria in the nasal passages.
What Are The Best Probiotic Supplements?
Now that you see the power of probiotics, you need to ensure you are taking the correct ones. Probiotics are not all created equally.
Keep In Mind:
- Most probiotic supplements today are destroyed by your stomach acid before they ever get to your digestive tract.
- When reading a probiotic label, it should reveal the genus, species and strain of the probiotic.
- The product should also give you the CFU’s (colony forming units) at the time of manufacturing.
- Purchase a probiotic brand that has a higher number of probiotics from 15 billion to 100 billion.
- Search for a probiotic supplement that has 10-30 different strains.
- The majority of probiotics can die under heat so knowing the company had proper storing and cooling of the facility is also important. (Source Of List: Dr. Axe)
Now that you see the power of probiotics, you may want to incorporate them into your healthy lifestyle.
Stay well, my friends!