5 Lesser-Known Health Benefits of Probiotics

Ross Quade | Health | 28 Jul, 2014 | No Comments

Usually people associate bacteria with bad things such as illnesses and germs that are not good for your health. However, probiotics are actually a good germ that can benefit you in many ways. Probiotics are a strain of good bacteria that live inside your intestinal tract. They are most well known for the role that they play in people’s digestive health. Yet, they also have many lesser-known benefits. You do not necessarily need to take a supplement in order to get your daily dose of probiotics, as there are many foods that contain high levels of these good bacteria, for instance fiber-rich vegetables and fruits, artichokes, onions, garlic and whole grains. Eating foods that are fermented can also allow you to get your daily dose of probiotics. This includes kefir, miso, yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and pickled vegetables. These contain a plethora of healthy and live bacteria that aid in populating your intestinal track. Besides aiding in your digestion, here are five lesser-known benefits of probiotics.

Immunity

Having beneficial bacteria inside your intestines means that harmful bacteria do not have as much room, and so probiotics has a great effect on your immune response. In a study done on 475 women and men who received a probiotic supplement or a placebo, the group who took the probiotic reported a 25% decrease in influenza symptoms as well as 50% fewer days with a fever and 19% less cold symptoms. Probiotics are also helpful if you are dealing with an illness and are prescribed antibiotics, as these kill both the beneficial and harmful bacteria. By taking probiotics you can offset this.

Obesity

Research has shown that by regularly taking probiotics you can more easily fight the battle of becoming overweight. This is due to the fact that the bacteria in your intestines have a role in your energy regulation and nutrient uptake. In fact, studies have found that in obese animals and humans, intestinal bacteria absorbed more calories from food to store in fat cells. There have also been found to be a marked difference in microbial communities of thin and obese people. Keep in mind that taking probiotics isn’t a magical pill to instantly make you lose weight, however it does support your intestinal bacteria, which reduces markers of obesity.

Diabetes

Taking a supplemental probiotic has been shown to delay the glucose intolerance of animals. In fact, in one study, taking probiotics had a significant effect on people’s sensitivity to insulin. This could be due in part to the fact that people who have type 2 diabetes are found to have different intestinal bacteria than those who do not have diabetes.

Anxiety and Depression

Research has found that when intestinal bacteria are out of balance, called dysbiosis, it can greatly affect your emotional health and mood. For instance, the feeling of being anxious tends to give people stress and butterflies that physically feels like their stomach is in knots. This is due to the fact that there is a connection between the brain and the gut. The good news is by consuming probiotics; you can tone down that stress response and improve your depression and anxiety.

Skin

There is a connection between the condition of your skin and mood disorders as well as your digestive health. For instance having acne is associated with anxiety and depression as well as gastrointestinal problems. In other words your skin, immune system and brain are all intertwined, and your intestinal bacteria regulate all of these. This means that by keeping healthy levels of probiotics in your body you can see improvements in your skin condition.




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